Iron is an incredibly versatile metal, with more flexibility and applications than most people think of. It’s a metal that’s been used to craft weapons of war and nearly unbreakable tools. We’re proud to use iron to craft rustic house numbers, which add a touch of class to any home. Occasionally, our customers ask us what the difference is between wrought iron and cast iron. Today we’ll go into a little detail to illuminate the differences between the two.
Cast iron has been melted down, poured into a mold, and allowed to cool. It’s a bit of a generic term, and when most people think of it, they think of battleship gray iron. It’s formed by smelting iron ore, or pig iron (the end result of iron ore extraction), and mixing it with other alloy ingredients like scrap metal. Cast iron has excellent compression strength, and up until the 20th century, it was one of the primary building materials. However, it’s a hard metal and can’t be hammered or bent into particular shapes.
Wrought iron has been heated, but it has the flexibility to be worked on and shaped with tools. It’s heated up, then removed from the heat and hammered, stretched, or bent to achieve the desired shape, all while still hot. Not only is wrought iron highly malleable, it also has the ability to be reheated multiple times. In fact, the more the iron is heated, the stronger it becomes over time. True wrought iron is no longer widely used but is instead made of “mild steel”, a high quality metal that retains the look of wrought iron.