History of wood balusters: A closer look at spindles

Whether they are regarded as wood columns, spindles or balusters, it does not alter the fact that they are a wood product and you regularly see it but very rare to think about. In this day and age, spindles, balusters and columns can be stone, metal, or wood; but for the purpose of this article, we pay much attention to wood element. Regardless of its component, the available variation in terms of manufacturing balusters speaks to their broad aesthetics and appeal.

While balusters are regarded as a famous wood product at this point, their story goes a little deeper than that. They are also a part of rich history. From the modern day age to prehistoric times, spindles, balusters and wood columns have morphed in to a uniform and sleek shafts utilized for decoration, support, and stability in everything from the columns of the ancient fortresses to the porches and even stairway of your very home.

The style and shape of balusters emanated from the etymology of the word, which originates from the Italian word “balustra” which means “wild pomegranate flower”. Balusters were named after this because of their similarity to pomegranate flower that is half-open.

While the etymology directs toward Italian origins where balusters eventually became famous in the period of Renaissance, they actually date earlier to the Assyrian Palaces of Ancient Mesopotamia. In this regard, they were utilized as window balustrades which are tagged as a row of balusters. As time went by, they were in the balconies of the palaces in Verona and Venice, where they can still be found up to this point in time.

Historians on Architectural developments are having a difficulty in pinpointing an inventor of the modern column or baluster. But, the limelight is being enjoyed by Guiliano da Sangallo, the famous architect of Tuscany’s Medici Villa. Because of the baluster’s linked to the Medici Clan, it also obtained and excellent privilege in the works of Michelangelo, whom the family has dearly loved and looked up to over the years. As time passed by, balusters have also been regarded as spindles and columns.

Over the years, wood balusters and columns of all complexities and sizes have been utilized primarily as cabinet accents, porches, spindles, railing supports and even newels. At this point in time, balusters have been prevalent in these applications and more innovations, in both commercial and homes. It has proven over time its appeal, use, and immortal aesthetic.

 Various models of wooden balusters

Various models of wooden balusters