Cast Iron Seat Collection Includes Plenty of Good Seats

Collection of 700 cast iron seats… and no two are alike.


| August 1998



One of Willmar's unusual seats, produced by the Tractor Warm Seat Co.

One of Willmar's unusual seats, produced by the Tractor Warm Seat Co.

Photo by G. Wayne Walker Jr.

Willmar Tiede's collection of 700 cast iron seats are like snowflakes in a blizzard: no two are alike. And Willmar wouldn't have it any other way. 

"I like the variety," he said. "I like the way the look changes from one to another."

Willmar, a retired Minnesota welder, likens his hobby to a child's paint-by-number kit. He paints his seats with an eye for contrast when they are on display.

Originally, he said, most cast iron seats came in three colors: red, green or ivory. His collection, though, brings to mind a colossal paintbox of strong, simple hues: royal blue sits next to orange; turquoise by olive; mustard yellow by gray. Lettering in accent colors fairly pops off the seats.

"I'm not an artist," Willmar said, "but I love to paint 'em."

Most of the seats in his collection are painted, and those are the ones that get all the attention.