Antique Cribs and Cradles began as a necessity -- not a convenience!
Research indicates that mothers often left their children at home while they went to work in the fields or to do other work. "Babies taken to the fields may have had fewer accidents, but their presence interfered with work. For this reason, children were swaddled and often left in an antique cradle (or an antique crib) for a considerable portion of their early years. People of the time felt a swaddled baby in a crib / cradle was safe and could be left alone. When children were too old to be swaddled, they were tied to their antique cribs / cradle. This prevented them from crawling around the home and getting into mischief or endangering themselves. Mothers thought that this would prevent accidents, but cribs / cradle fires were the leading cause of death for infants. Siblings, even as young as two or three, were often left in charge of overseeing the infants while they were confined to their antique cribs.
Bunny Rabbit Iron Canopy Baby Antique Crib -- Six little bunnies hopped to new heights to keep your little one company as she drifts to sleep. This iron crib with canopy by Corsican has a vintage design with modern flair.
A General History
Over the centuries that designs have remained remarkably consistent. This also holds true for cribs and cradles which followed similar conservative trends. Simple boxlike cradles, occasionally with a wooden hooded one in, were among the earliest cradles and continued to be made until the 19th century in rural America. The 19th century antique cribs and cradles included more fashionable ones, sometimes based on bed designs. This is also when elevated cradles appeared on trestle bases.
The availability of antique cradles and cribs on the market is unpredictable. Some types turn up often, but fine early examples and stylish later models are much less common.
Antique High Post Iron Dream Baby Crib Add a touch of class and elegance to your nursery. This Antique poster crib is made by hand from the finest materials. Each piece is cut by hand; bent by hand and each connecting joint is formed by hand pouring molten metal into a mold
Antique Masterpiece Iron Baby Crib A unique look for a one of a kind baby. This iron antique crib is a masterpiece of yesteryear. Each piece is cut by hand; bent by hand and each connecting joint is formed by hand pouring molten metal into a mold.
One of the most sought after antique cradles is the "country cradle". It typically had plain straight sides, curved cutout handles at the center of either side for lifting and a flat plank bottom. They were most typically made of pine and used wrought-iron nails. Cribs and Cradles mounted on rockers were popular throughout most of the 17th and 18th centuries.
Collecting Hits for Antique Cribs & Cradles
Pine was by far the most common wood for cradles in the Colonial era, but cherry and other fruit woods were also used -- amateur cabinetmakers were especially fond of using some of the finer fruitwoods.
Simple cradles are not easily dated, but what most were made before 1800; thereafter, fashion became a crucial influence and cradles became more like miniature beds. the oldest of the cradles will have used wrought iron nails in the construction. Following that you would've seen much more work with tongue and groove in the wood and bits of old glue.
Screws are probably a dead giveaway that a piece is not truly an antique crib or that has been rebuilt -- By the time screws came into common use for construction of furniture, the simple cribs and cradles were for the most part out of fashion.