John D. Friedly Jr.’s book "Cast Iron Implement Seats" is the ultimate resource for cast iron seat collectors.
Tom Wilson collects cast iron seats and uses Friedly's "Cast Iron Implement Seats" to determine their rarity.
The bible of the cast iron seat hobby is the series written by the late John D. Friedly Jr., Cast Iron Implement Seats. The last installment, Volume V, lists 1,159 named seats and 1,027 plain seats. “Friedly lists seats by their rarity,” says Tom Wilson, president of the Cast Iron Seat Collectors Assn., “from 1 to 10, with 10 being the rarest.” A select few are listed at “10-1/2,” which means only one exists … until a second or third turns up. “Occasionally a seat turns up that nobody knows anything about,” Tom says, “because there just isn’t enough information on it.”
The ratings don’t always hold true, he notes, “because a second seat might turn up, and a few really rare ones aren’t listed in the book. I have two 10-1/2s that aren’t listed in the book. But the book gives a good idea of which seats are rare and valuable.” FC
For more information: Cast Iron Implement Seats IV, by John D. Friedly Jr., 1985, 148 pages, soft cover; Cast Iron Implement Seats V, by John D. Friedly Jr., 1993, 240 pages, soft cover. Both books are out of print but may be found through collector contacts, online searches or at flea markets.
Read about Tom Wilson's collection in Best Cast Iron Seats in the House.