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Most iPad accessory makers work tirelessly to design a product that echoes Apple’s signature design. Griffin and Rail Yard Studios’ Rail Artifact Stand does the opposite. Instead of melting away during use, its one of a kind design not only stands out, but in my opinion, steals the spotlight. Just as its name indicates, the Rail Artifact Stand is made from authentic early 1900’s railroad pieces. From pitted steel to worn edges, every stand shows its history in a unique way…

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The first thing I noticed when removing it from the shipping box was how heavy it is. Its heft leaves no doubt that it’s the real deal. You almost need two hands to carry it comfortably. There’s no setup at all. Rail Yard Studios did all of the work at its design studio in Nashville, Tennessee. Its design is very simple: two rail spikes driven through a tie plate allow it to stand upright. Both spikes are visibly different when you take a close look. Each has its own irregularities and patina from its years of use. No edge or cutout of the tie plate is uniform, every aspect of it is deformed and worn.

The spikes and a small natural lip on the tie are designed to hold an iPad or iPad mini in landscape or portrait mode. And it works as advertised. Due to the weighty nature of the item, it is extremely solid. It would take a lot of force to knock it over. And watch out if it does topple, because its so heavy that it’s no doubt going to damage any surface it collides with.

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While stunning, its antique design does pose a threat to delicate iPads. The spike and tie are smooth to the touch, but will scratch the soft aluminum body of the iPad. Also, the spike heads are pointing up and are close enough to the iPad that I’m worried about them scratching or smashing the screen if I yank my iPad off in a moment of haste.

Now, Griffin addresses these issues by providing a free case with every Rail Artifiact Stand, but that’s not a great solution for iPad users (like myself) who prefer to forgo a case. However, I love the look of this stand so much that I’ve opted to slap a case on my iPad. Rustic Chic design is more popular than ever and I have no doubt there isn’t another iPad stand to complete the look better than Griffin’s Rail Artifact.

Usually an iPad steals your attention from any accessories, but I found myself gazing at the stand more often than the iPad Air that sat upon it. The Rail Artifact Stand isn’t for everyone, but if your office or home decor is anywhere close to rustic and you don’t mind outfitting your iPad in a case, then you’ll love it.

Each stand is handmade by Rail Yard Studios and is truly a piece of history. It costs $129.99 and is available exclusively from Griffin.com. There’s also another similar stand that is made from a piece of decommissioned rail, but we didn’t have an opportunity to review it.

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