Established in 1805 by Napoleon I, King of
Italy, the Coronne de Fer was awarded in three classes: Grand Dignitary,
Dignitary and Knight. In 1815, the order was adopted by Austria after regaining control of
Northern Italy. Re-established on 1 January 1816 by Emperor Franz I of Austria, it became
known as the Order of the Iron Crown (Orden der Eisernen Krone) and was awarded
in three grades to noblemen.
During World War I, the Order of the Iron Crown was bestowed upon military officers for acts of bravery. Recipients could receive the order more than once for additional acts of bravery. Beginning on 13 December 1916, the order was awarded with swords for acts of bravery in action against the enemy.