The History of Metal Artwork in the United States

The History of Metal Artwork in the United States

Metal artwork is popular across the world, with examples visible everywhere from museums to average homes. Not only is metal artwork popular now, but there’s also a long history behind the art. To help you get a general grasp of the history of metal artwork in the United States, here’s a small guide.

First Metal Arts

It’s hard to pin down the first metal arts in the United States exactly, but we do know that they came from the indigenous civilizations that lived in North America before the USA was formed. Many Native American peoples and tribes were creating amazing metal art millennia before settlers from Europe arrived in North America.

Iron’s Popularity

Iron has a history of being the most popular metal for crafting items, especially at the time of the United States’ founding. However, the history of metal artwork in the United States doesn’t include iron because it was difficult to come by in the United States in comparison to European sources. As such, iron was generally used for more practical purposes. Still, people found ways to combine function and beauty, often through intricate door hedges or utensils.


Since iron was a rarer source, other metals became popular for use amongst those in the United States. Pewter was one of the more common metals, as it was cheaper than many other metals and strong enough for most tasks. Many pieces of art from that period, such as the intricate water jugs that were common at the time, use pewter because of its availability and ease of use.

Tin’s Explosive Growth

Unlike iron, tin and copper were significantly more accessible in the United States. It didn’t take long for tin to become a popular metal in the States. Art from the early 1800s and onward features quite a lot of tin. Even metal statues made with bronze feature tin, as bronze is tin mixed with copper.

Current Arts

Nowadays, metals of all sorts are featured in art because of the easy access to different metals. Even though some metals might be more expensive than others, local and global metal supplies mean everyone can use metal in their homes to create amazing art pieces and decorations. Plenty of people even order custom metal art signs or wall decorations for their homes due to the ease of access.

This is the basic history of the United States’ use of metal as art. Our current uses of metal are some of the most impressive ever, with multiple giant statues and building-sized art pieces made entirely of metal visible around the country. Additionally, the use of metal in so many home decorations is something that could only be possible in modern times.