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One of few employed in MI
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I took the dog for a walk through the woods at my cabin this weekend and found this in the woods. My guess is its a tractor seat but have not idea from what era or such.

 

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I just saw a segment on "Antiques Roadshow" about seats just like those!..some sell from 40 bucks, up to thousands,some are highly prized collectors items..a guy in PA (Kbeitz?) they interviewed has a whole barn FULL of them hanging on every wall!..they said most of those cast iron ones came on horse drawn mowing machines and hay cutters/balers,and other farm equipment..


I'd say you made a great find,I am willing to bet that thing is worth a good amount of cash--I saw one similar to it at a flea market a few weeks ago ,for 40 bucks..I'd have bought it if I had the cash,it would look neat on one of my Suburbans!..
 

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One of few employed in MI
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Discussion Starter #4
That's crazy that it could be that old!!!
 

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It is pretty amazing how long some things can stand being exposed to weather and survive well--cast iron lasts a long time outside...I found a old iron from the 1800's in my back yard (with my roto-tiller!)..the kind you put on a stove to heat up..looked remarkably good considering it had been outside and then buried over 100 years ago--the handle busted off though,probably got ground up in the tines of my tiller..

A guy I know found a cast iron wood stove in the woods on his property not far from my houseshortly after buying the place,and it turned out to be a big kitchen range,looked a lot like the one on the "Waltons"!..it was made in the town next to mine ,had the name of the company and the date cast into the back of it.."1896" !!...and it was fully intact and useable,he carefully cut all the trees that grew around it away and got it out of there and used it to heat his garage for a long time..

He sold it to a guy who wanted it badly for 250 bucks ,later found out he could have likely got 500 bucks for it easily!..
The bushes and trees that grew over it preserved it quite well,even the nickel plated parts still shined and didn't have much rust!--thats how he found it,he saw the nickel plated trim was gleaming in the sun as he walked nearby..
 

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It is pretty amazing how long some things can stand being exposed to weather and survive well-
I believe the reason for that is , when the implements etc were made back then it was "virgin" metals . Nowadays we have reclaimed metal in just about everything . Problem with reusing metal is it is changed at a molecular level several times and impurities etc become more common .

I find it funny to come across a 50+ year old piece of equipment that was lest with grass and tress growing around /through it and only finding surface rust . But , a "new" tractor/implement left out in the rain a couple of times will practically rot away .
 

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I agree,when I worked in the junkyard that had a lot of 1920's and up vehicles,I was often amazed at the condition of many of the metal parts,despite being exposed for decades,they survived incredibly well..and even bolts that looked hopeless to remove,would often come off with your fingers,after cracking them loose with a wrench too..fender dents pounded right out too,unlike the "hard" metals used on 1981 and up vehicles that cant be hammered back ,or even brazed,they must be MIG welded..

We sold original brake drums often from aincient vehicles,that were perfectly useable after a light turning to remove surface rusting,despite being outside longer than I have been alive too!..everything was virgin steel,up until the late 60's,then things started going downhill...

I notice everything built in the past 20 years with high percentages of recycled metal not only corrodes very quickly,it also is weaker,cracks easily..My brothers 2002 GMC truck is already SO rusty underneath the brake backing plates are thin as paper and porus,the frame has a thick layer of scaly rust that is peeling off in sheets ,like delaminating plywood,and every steel fuel,tranny and brake line looks so crusty they may pop any day now!...

.for a truck only 7 years old,you'd think it was dipped in acid--my '82 GMC doesn't look as bad in some places as his does already!(but is suffering the same fate sadly)...you should see a 5 year old 20' car trailer he bought brand new,the square tube is so thin in places it will soon need reinforcing already,and the fenders rotted off it two years ago and have been replaced already too..I know the road salt they are using here is as bad as muriatic acid on steel,but still,you'd think it would last longer than 5 years..its all due to the metal being recycled crap,IMO-..salt never ate steel up this fast in previous years..
 

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That there's a 'Christmas seat'..... no 'L'. (Somebody had to say it)
 

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EMPIRE REAPER & MOWER WORKS.—In 1865 J. F. Seiberling organized the J. F. Seiberling Co.

Mr. Seiberling was an inventive genius. The "Empire" Mower and Reaper with dropper attach*ment, was invented by him in 1858 and first manufactured at Doylestown in 1861, under the name of "Excelsior." In 1864 he began their manufacture in Massillon, but in 1865 brought the industry to Akron.

Father and sons conducted the business until 1900 when the general depression of the implement business brought reverses. An assignee was appointed and the business liquidated just four years prior to the similar fate of the "Buckeye" Company.
 

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I agree,when I worked in the junkyard that had a lot of 1920's and up vehicles,I was often amazed at the condition of many of the metal parts,despite being exposed for decades,they survived incredibly well..and even bolts that looked hopeless to remove,would often come off with your fingers,after cracking them loose with a wrench too..fender dents pounded right out too,unlike the "hard" metals used on 1981 and up vehicles that cant be hammered back ,or even brazed,they must be MIG welded..

We sold original brake drums often from aincient vehicles,that were perfectly usable after a light turning to remove surface rusting,despite being outside longer than I have been alive too!..everything was virgin steel,up until the late 60's,then things started going downhill...

I notice everything built in the past 20 years with high percentages of recycled metal not only corrodes very quickly,it also is weaker,cracks easily..My brothers 2002 GMC truck is already SO rusty underneath the brake backing plates are thin as paper and porus,the frame has a thick layer of scaly rust that is peeling off in sheets ,like delaminating plywood,and every steel fuel,tranny and brake line looks so crusty they may pop any day now!...

.for a truck only 7 years old,you'd think it was dipped in acid--my '82 GMC doesn't look as bad in some places as his does already!(but is suffering the same fate sadly)...you should see a 5 year old 20' car trailer he bought brand new,the square tube is so thin in places it will soon need reinforcing already,and the fenders rotted off it two years ago and have been replaced already too..I know the road salt they are using here is as bad as muriatic acid on steel,but still,you'd think it would last longer than 5 years..its all due to the metal being recycled crap,IMO-..salt never ate steel up this fast in previous years..
My father bought a brand new F-150 in 1976 . That was one of the first years of using "recycled" metals in autos . In 5 years it had the "rust cancer" . Just like the majority of the 76-77 F-150s .

And old stuff? How bout this old Oliver sickle mower (horse drawn) . Solid as can be after who knows how many years in the woods .




Or this old John Deere cultivator that had trees growing around it . Actually had several bars going through the middle of trees and had to cut the trees down to get it out . Solid as can be ( and now at MY house) .





Yup , definitely a difference in metal content between then and now . Just leave one of those "new" tractors out in a field for 5-10 years and see what happens .



.
 

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Yup,no doubt the virgin steel and iron was the best..I bet whoever got all the cars from the junkyard when it closed and was crushed out was very happy--prices were only 12-15 bucks per ton then,and there was a lot of Packards and cadillacs,well known for their high nickel content engine blocks,etc..

There was a lot of "good metal" in those old vehicles,whatever was made out of them will undoubtedly outalast anything made with other newer recycled (maybe second generation recycled, or more!)..I'm all for saving the environment,but are we really "saving" it by recycling metals to the point things made from them are junk much sooner,and get tossed sooner??..not to mention the money wasted buying things that dont last!..
 

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Regarding "early rusting" of newer equipment. There's no reason for newly made recycled iron or steel items to corrode away early... other than the alloying done when the metals are reclaimed. Steel or iron made today from scrap can be as good or better than that of the 19th century if the specifications for the downstream use of the metal calls for it.

Metals do not lose their strength or resistance to corrosion properties in resmelting if properly handled and alloyed. The same options of strength vs. cost were available to Mr. Seiberling when he spec'ed out the alloy for that tractor seat, we know which way he and most of the manufacturers went back then. The ones that didn't have long since lost their models to the scrapper or nature.

BUT why would a company making tractrors/implements today want it to last as long as that tractor seat in our "obsolesence oriented society"? Can't make no money manufacturing stuff that lasts forever nowadays... You'd be all out of "NEW! BETTER! BIGGER!" advertising and sales. Company stockholders think limiting sales-resales-resales is just dumb. Today's marketing ideas and purposes are an entirely different universe than in Mr. Seiberling's day.:)
 

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Regarding "early rusting" of newer equipment. There's no reason for newly made recycled iron or steel items to corrode away early... other than the alloying done when the metals are reclaimed. Steel or iron made today from scrap can be as good or better than that of the 19th century if the specifications for the downstream use of the metal calls for it.

Metals do not lose their strength or resistance to corrosion properties in resmelting if properly handled and alloyed. The same options of strength vs. cost were available to Mr. Seiberling when he spec'ed out the alloy for that tractor seat, we know which way he and most of the manufacturers went back then. The ones that didn't have long since lost their models to the scrapper or nature.

BUT why would a company making tractrors/implements today want it to last as long as that tractor seat in our "obsolesence oriented society"? Can't make no money manufacturing stuff that lasts forever nowadays... You'd be all out of "NEW! BETTER! BIGGER!" advertising and sales. Company stockholders think limiting sales-resales-resales is just dumb. Today's marketing ideas and purposes are an entirely different universe than in Mr. Seiberling's day.:)
I have to agree and disagree . To get the same quality as "virgin" steel , the actual companies that do the reclaiming would spend more money because of sorting etc to ensure a product that met the same standards . So yes , they , as well as manufacturers will cut corners leading to an inferior steel .

Now , there is a problem with some of the steels that get reused . Once steel is made "stainless" it will always be stainless . There was a molecular change that was made that can't be unmade no matter how much you smelt it . And how many diffent forms of steel are out there that have had some form of molecular change done to them ? And how much of that slips into the process of reclaim?

I still say the use of virgin steel in the past is the reason why this stuff is still around . Current steel has to many areas for contamination etc as well as being cost prohibitive to get the same quality as the old steel .

You are correct in saying that "they" don't want things to last a lifetime anymore . Better to keep the repeat customers .
 

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Stainless steel comes by way of adding nickel to steel. The more nickel added, the higher the quality of stainless steel and the more rust resistant it is.

The best steel comes from a mixture of old steel with freshly smelted iron ore. Steel plants have a constant need for scrap in order to produce the steels we use today.
 

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Stainless steel comes by way of adding nickel to steel. The more nickel added, the higher the quality of stainless steel and the more rust resistant it is.

The best steel comes from a mixture of old steel with freshly smelted iron ore. Steel plants have a constant need for scrap in order to produce the steels we use today.
How about chromium or molybdenum ? It's more than just adding nickel .

And once that metal is reclaimed , is ALL the nickel ,chromium, and molybdenum able to be removed ? Or is there always going to be "trace" elements in that "new" steel . Are they getting all the impurities and other metals out or is there going to always be something in there that shouldn't be ?

It's all a moot point . Todays products are made with inferior materials . intentional or not .
 

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I use a similar seat on my Gravely's sulky. I''m posting a couple of photos below. My grandfather installed this seat on the sulky, and I'm still using it. It came off of some old horse-drawn equipment that another relative had, and is still in great condition.

The only thing I did is grind a new mounting bolt this year, as the old one was a replacement and a bit small. It had a tapered square head, unlike anything else I've seen. I also made an adapter plate to let it sit better without grinding off the anti-rotation lugs on the bottom of the seat. The lugs were a bit narrower than the old spring. Grandad just torqued the bolt down and used it. I had a little bit of a problem with it occasionally rotating, but not now.

This seat definitely keeps you leaning back a little. The tall horn in the front can be a mite uncomfortable if you lean forward too suddenly or carelessly. In practice, it's a comfortable seat to use for mowing, and definitely distinctive looking.
 

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How about chromium or molybdenum ? It's more than just adding nickel .

And once that metal is reclaimed , is ALL the nickel ,chromium, and molybdenum able to be removed ? Or is there always going to be "trace" elements in that "new" steel . Are they getting all the impurities and other metals out or is there going to always be something in there that shouldn't be ?

It's all a moot point . Todays products are made with inferior materials . intentional or not .
SJ says I have to play nice so I'll do my best. :praying:

You apparently have little knowledge about steel because if you did, then you'd know that the steel plants ADD alloys to the steel they make. You'd also know that new steel is made from 70 percent virgin iron ore and 30 percent recycled steel.

Metalurgy has come a long, long way since that old tractor seat was cast, which brings up another point. That seat is actually cast iron which isn't the same as steel anyway. And when it comes to stainless steel, my local scrapyard pays more for it then it does for regular steel so obviously, the stainless feeds a totally separate market in the steel recycling biz. Now, do I expect any of the above to sway your mindset? **** no!!!! I learned how to recognize tunnelvision a long, long time ago.

Anyway...... here's a link that won't interest you one bit.

http://www.dofasco.ca/HOW_STEEL_IS_MADE/html/How_steel_is_made.html:ROF :ROF
 

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Great find ! My neighbor down the street , His dad was the Senior pattern maker for Excelsior foundry and farm equipment in Arkon. He passed away many years ago. Spent most of his working career there.
 

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SJ says I have to play nice so I'll do my best. :praying:

You apparently have little knowledge about steel because if you did, then you'd know that the steel plants ADD alloys to the steel they make. You'd also know that new steel is made from 70 percent virgin iron ore and 30 percent recycled steel.

Metalurgy has come a long, long way since that old tractor seat was cast, which brings up another point. That seat is actually cast iron which isn't the same as steel anyway. And when it comes to stainless steel, my local scrapyard pays more for it then it does for regular steel so obviously, the stainless feeds a totally separate market in the steel recycling biz. Now, do I expect any of the above to sway your mindset? **** no!!!! I learned how to recognize tunnelvision a long, long time ago.

Anyway...... here's a link that won't interest you one bit.

http://www.dofasco.ca/HOW_STEEL_IS_MADE/html/How_steel_is_made.html:ROF :ROF
Lol , I'm well aware of "70 percent virgin iron ore and 30 percent recycled steel ". I'm also aware of the addition of alloys . Different alloys have been added for centuries .

I was not talking about the cast seat in particular , but items made pre recycling.

Tunnel vision ? Observing multiple items of a time before recycling and items after the start of recycling and drawing a conclusion from the observations is not tunnel vision . How about deductive reasoning .

My point was/is that recycled metal in todays products IS inferior to the days when metals were from virgin or new sources . Call it lack of quality control in order to strengthen the bottom line . Or maybe cutting corners to meet customer/manufacturer demands for lower prices .

Impurities exist in todays metals that were not there prior to recycling . Some from the additional smelting processes that the reclaimed metals must go through . And some from mis- sorted scrap and additional chemicals/metals that were not present in steel manufacturing before recycling .

There are some very good research papers and studies out there on this very subject .

You apparently have little knowledge about steel
One need not be a scientist or hold a degree in order to make observations and research a subject to draw a conclusion . And assumptions of someones knowledge or lack thereof is not conducive to a civil discussion of any subject . Brow beating does nothing more than taint a discussion .


Btw , impurities come in more than one form .

http://www.livescience.com/environment/090608-radioactive-metal.html
 
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