There is an unusual story involving railings during World War II. To meet the demand for ammunition, ships and vehicles for battle, various fences and railings in the city of London were removed for repurposing. The real fate of these pieces, however, is unclear: some say they ended up being dumped into the Thames river or became ballasts for ships, as they couldn’t be recycled. The reason was that they were all made of cast iron at the time, making them difficult to reuse; unlike the large amount of materials and designs available today. Their functions, however, have not changed: railings provide protection to occupants and can be prominent elements in architecture. In this article, we explain how to specify and design different types of railings, according to the different materials available.