Cast Iron Seat Collection Includes Plenty of Good Seats

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

| August 1998

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.