Wrought Iron Farm Signs vs Mild Steel

Our farm signs have often been referred to as 'wrought iron', so I thought I'd create a post to explain why they are actually mild steel, and also to explain the difference between the two.

Invented in the 1850s during the industrial revolution, mild steel is stronger than wrought iron, and can withstand greater force exerted on it, obviously meaning huge advancements in industry and building. However it is more likely to rust and therefore needs to be electroplated or galvanised. The actual difference between the two is that wrought iron is pure iron, whereas mild steel is an alloy, containing a small amount of carbon which is what gives it the extra strength.

Wrought iron was traditionally used in blacksmithing and hand forged decorative metalwork until the 1970s as it is so malleable when hot; mild steel can be used in the same way but is just not quite as easy to forge. Because mild steel is much cheaper to produce on a large scale, wrought iron is rarely available these days. It is sometimes produced for use in restoration and conservation work, but the vast majority of decorative metalwork products produced today will be mild steel, not wrought iron.

So while there are advantages to both, we don't really have a choice over which we use to create our farm signs and weathervanes as wrought iron really isn't an option these days! I think the term wrought iron these days refers more to a decorative, traditional looking style of metalwork rather than the actual material itself.