Cast Iron Seat Collector Travels Globe for Rare Seats
(Page 3 of 5)
Next, Don removes excess rust from the seats with steel wool. Some collectors sandblast seats to remove rust, but Don prefers a more gentle approach.
When it comes to decorating seats, some collectors choose not to paint them, but Don hand-paints the front faces of his seats. “I think painted seats look good in photographs because it makes their patterns really stand out,” he explains.
Don leaves the seat backs unpainted because it’s a good way to tell original seats from reproductions, but otherwise Don doesn’t follow any patterns or attempt to match the original seat colors. “I just grab a color and start painting,” he says of his technique.
This approach has left Don with some unique-looking seats. One American-made seat, a No. P892, hanging with his indoor collection is from a corn cutter. It’s really back-to-back seats, built because it took two people to run the machine, one facing each direction. This double-winged shape lent itself to a butterfly pattern, and now the piece’s vibrant colors make it stand out from the hundreds of others. Don bought the seat for $60 – a steal because the last seat of its type sold for $750. Previous sales of similar seats averaged from $300 to $350. Another seat Don keeps in his office portrays a vibrant blue-and-green peacock pattern. Don says one of his friends painted the colorful peacock and gave it to him as a gift.
Don is more than a knowledgeable seat collector. He’s also a walking storehouse of wisdom earned from a lifetime of world travels. Like many men his age, Don served in the U.S. Army’s anti-aircraft division during World War II. Yet, few men remember the day the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor as well as Don does. He was an officer on duty the morning of the attack and alerted people around the base during the devastating raid.
“I remember that it was a complete surprise,” he says. “Nobody thought they would attack us there.”
Through years of experience, Don’s become an expert at finding authentic seats and is on constant lookout. Most collectors can easily recognize reproductions from originals, especially because seat hobbyists know which seats are being reproduced. Inexperienced dealers or collectors may not always admit that the seat is a reproduction, Don warns, or they may not know the seat isn’t authentic.
“People have gotten stung on them,” Don cautions. “So you need to be careful when you buy.” Most authentic seats carry old rust, he adds, and reproductions are often painted front and back to hide the new metal. “You can’t fake the rust,” Don says.
One seat in Don’s collection isn’t authentic – it’s a replica of a John Deere seat. Yet, the date on the seat reads 1847. That’s a red flag, Don says, because John Deere didn’t exist until 1868, at which time it was called Deere & Company.
Upon closer inspection, Don also realized the running deer on the seat – Deere & Company’s ubiquitous trademark – faced the wrong direction, and the seat was made in China. Undaunted, Don built a stool with the seat and kept it to illustrate his point that it’s important to carefully inspect any potential seat purchase.
Page: << Previous 1
| 3 | 4
| Next >>