Also referred to as wrought iron, before the development of effective methods of steel making and the availability of large quantities of steel, wrought iron was the most common form of malleable iron. A modest amount of wrought iron was used as a raw material for manufacturing of steel, which was mainly used to produce swords, cutlery, chisels, axes and other edged tools as well as springs and files. Demand for wrought iron reached its peak in the 1860s with the adaptation of ironclad warships and railways, but then declined as mild steel became more available.
Wrought iron is no longer produced on a commercial scale. Many products described as wrought iron, such as guard rails, garden furniture and gates, are made of mild steel. They retain that description because in the past they were wrought (worked) by hand.