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He Collects Old Cast Iron Implement Seats

Back in the mid 1800's, horse-drawn farm implements such as corn planters, hay rakes, mowers and cultivators were all equipped with cast iron seats. Collecting them is a passion for some rural people, including Ivan Trantham of Millerton, Pa. He has almost 400 seats in his collection and no two are alike.
  Trantham keeps the seats inside his three-car garage. The seats are displayed on all four walls and also lined up in rows on the floor.
  "It's amazing how many different shapes and sizes these seats come in," says Trantham. "All of them have their own beauty. Back in the 1800's there was quite an art to casting implement seats. They didn't have the design boundaries that manufacturers have today, so the workmanship and artwork on these seats is very interesting. They stopped making cast iron seats at the turn of the century when tractors came out and the tractor manufacturers switched to pressed steel seats. Cast iron seats were built much heavier and stronger than the ones made from steel.
  "Many people have larger collections than mine. One man who recently died had about 1,800 seats in his collection. All the seats ended up being sold off at three different auctions. I don't have a favorite seat in my collection û I like them all."
  Trantham buys the seats at local auctions and from other collectors. After buying the seats he sandblasts and paints most of them. "When I get them they're all rusty. In most cases no one knows what the original seat colors were so I just use colors that I like.
  "Cast iron seats are more comfortable than you might think, especially if you put an old feed bag over them," says Trantham. "I think they're more comfortable than today's leather tractor seats, which get hot and sweaty."
  He belongs to the Cast Iron Seat Association, a worldwide club with about 1,500 members that meets three times a year (Charlotte Traxler, RFD 2, Box 38, Le Center, Minn. 56057 ph 507 357-6142; Website: www.castironseat.org).
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Ivan Trantham, RD 2, Box 152, Millerton, Pa. 16936 (ph 570 549-5343).

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2000 - Volume #24, Issue #4