The study of historical metallic objects is greatly aided by a careful metallographic examination. In many cases, the objects have undergone serious corrosion over the years and the corrosion product must also be examined. Generally, this dictates encapsulation in a good epoxy mounting material. Specimen preparation is the same as for contemporary irons and steels, and the same etchants are used. This paper presents results obtained when a number of iron-based objects were studied. Color tint etchants are particularly useful in this work as they are more selective in nature, reveal the grain structure fully, while revealing crystallographic texture, if present, and are better for revealing chemical inhomogeniety and residual deformation than standard black and white etchants.