Cast Iron Seat Collector Travels Globe for Rare Seats

Vintage cast iron seat collecting is more than a hobby for this Texan – it's his mission

| July 2004

Ninety-year-old Don Lanford has turned vintage cast iron seat collecting into more than just a hobby – it’s his mission.

In fact, Don has traveled the globe in search of rare and unusual seats to add to his collection, including Wales, Russia, China and Australia.

Yet, Don’s dedication to seat collecting has also carried him across America in search of hard-to-find seats. Just last year, the Austin, Texas, collector endured a grueling 28-hour bus ride to purchase a choice cast iron seat at auction for a friend and fellow collector in Wales.

After years of patient seat hunting, Don’s got the colorful collection to show for his efforts. Today, he owns about 600 cast iron seats – probably the largest collection in Texas. Don’s seats are all from vintage horse-drawn implements, except for one tractor seat. Few duplicates are found in Don’s collection, but he keeps a couple around to trade with other collectors.

A family affair

Don caught the itch for cast iron seat collecting after his brother, Rex, took up the hobby. Don began collecting cast iron seats in the 1950s, but didn’t become a serious collector until after he retired in 1990. “That’s when I first joined the Cast Iron Seat Collectors Association and started collecting a little more in earnest,” Don says.

The duo maintained a farm equipment sales and repair business for years, and began accumulating seats from repair jobs that came into the shop. Don can’t recall which seat he collected first among his massive and colorfully painted collection, but a Peters (Type 1) No. 824 seat was one of the original seats he collected. Rex found the seat in a field while on a pheasant hunting trip, and when Rex died in 1981, his wife gave Don the seat. “I’ve hung on to that seat because it has sentimental value,” Don says.

A Blanket, Texas, native, Don mounted most of his seats on wooden A-frames atop a flatbed trailer, which he stores outside the family business. Seats also line the business’s exterior walls and serve as antique ornaments that often draw the attention of customers.

3/10/2018 3:06:25 PM

I am thinking of buying a Cockshutt Plow Company Brantford Canada re painted tractor seat. Can anyone give me an ide of what I should pay for it. Thank you Steve

3/10/2018 3:06:21 PM

I am thinking of purchasing a Cockshutt tractor seat, re painted which says Cockshutt Plow Company Brantford Canada. Any idea what I should pay for it. Thank you

philip lownsbrough
5/12/2012 12:12:20 AM

there is a sale at cheffins in cambridge uk on the 28th july which has over 200 cast iron seats for auction if anyone would be intrested the seats belonged to a collector who pasted away. so if you're intrested you could veiw them through their web site WWW.CHEFFINS.CO.UK nearer the sale date .if anyone is intrested and would like further info like photos you can email me on thanks for taking time to read this