OMG! Summer done snuck up all of a sudden!!

Hiddy Hi Hi all y’all out there in the Lawn Chair Nation!!

Haven’t posted here in a while; as I’m certain you already know! Here in Good Ole’ Jefferson, Texas, summer seems to sonder forth beginning about the second week of May. We have a very long time running celebration known as Pilgrimage which is set for the first weekend in May with parades, open houses, a play, Civil War Re-enactments and other celebrations of note. Of course, the weather is generally cooperative and most folks have cleaned off their outdoor furniture and can be seen porch or backyard sitt’n just about anywhere in town!

This is also the time of year when the Metal Lawn Chair comes into its glory and most of us take to them as much as possible. I’m sure y’all are the same way in your own little piece of heaven! It’s a busy time too. Folks are getting their flower beds in order, the grass needs to be cut pretty often and houses seem to just be prettier if for no other reason than everything is green again!

Summer is sort of a three part season here in our part the South. First, we start off with spring which quickly turns to fairly warm days but the evenings and nights are still a bit cool. Usually, the mornings seem rather cold but by afternoon you might need the AC. Then, after just a few weeks and rather suddenly, the nights are not so cool and you realize things are in for a change. This lasts for another few weeks and then comes the 90 degree weather in the afternoons. Great for sitt’n! Lastly, and we always hope it takes a good long while getting here, the nights become warmer; no less than 75! That’s when Texas starts to feel the full effects of wide open summer. Currently, we’re in stage 2 and walking around town, riding with the windows down and sitt’n in your lawn chair as the sun disappears into the tree tops is at it’s best. The down side is bugs are also doing their thing and they begin biting on you in their own celebration. Not to worry though! A well placed citronella candle or two adds to the evening’s ambiance and holds most of the little buggers at a distance!

I hope all y’all are having a wonderful spring or early summer as it were and the outdoor life style is enjoyed as much as possible. Remember, the old chairs are happiest when they’re being used and enjoyed by their owners and friends. Be kind to your old friend the metal lawn chair. Wipe them down often, maybe apply a light coat of wax on the seats and frame to bring out the shine and try to keep them on dry, well drained ground to prevent rust. If the mood strikes you, please send me a picture or two of you and your friends partaking of the season’s good time!

See Y’all Soon!

Skip

Merry Happy Ground Hog Day Y’all!

Howdy All Y’all!

We’ve already gone through one whole month of 2018 and now we’re looking forward to spring! Whoo Hoo! So today is the day we watch for that big beaver looking critter to come out of his home and check around for his shadow. Barring any shadow foretells of a shorter winter but seeing a shadow offers 6 more weeks of cold weather. We’re getting the extended version looks like!

This just means we’ll be that much more thankful for milder conditions when they do finally arrive. Getting ready for that offers a fun time in the basement or garage which comes in the form of refitting and refinishing an old metal lawn chair. Oddly enough, now is a darn good time to be shopping for backyard relics at your local “antique” emporium. Things are a bit slower traffic wise for many of these shops as school is in full session, vacations are many weeks away and folks are pretty much hanging close to home. The shops need a little activity and they just might be in the mood to bargain better now than when warm weather is upon us.

Undoubtedly, you’ve been eyeing an old chair somewhere and maybe you’re seeing it sitting longer than when in spring and summer season. I’m willing to bet that if you pop in and have a slow talk with the shop owner and make a reasonable offer, you’ll walk out with a bargain! If you wait until full blown spring, the price is likely to be rather firm.

So what’s a good price, what’s too much and what is a steal? As in most things, location is the key. Large cities with up scale shops generally have the higher costs because they can charge more and have the client base for it. Little out of the way stores may not see much traffic until their season kicks in and are more willing to take less for a quick sale in their lean times; like right now. Generally, a good used metal lawn chair of the more commonly found styles in solid enough condition for continued use are valued from about $25 to $45.00. A chair of more unique design, in survivor shape, still in original paint and with a strong frame might come in at closer to $80 to $90.00. If the asking price is higher, then they either have something they think is fairly important, collectable or just feel that it’s worth more. Again, the conversation will likely reveal more complete details and open up a dialog towards bargaining.

In bargaining, a pleasant attitude towards the shop keeper or other seller is important. You wouldn’t want to have some random stranger walk up to you and say “I’ll give you a dollar for that old chair you got outside!” No. Be a little more careful, strike up a conversation and maybe ask if there at other chairs possibly hidden away to look at. It just could be the person likes to talk about their stuff and if you show genuine interest they are more likely to take you around the corner and show you some pieces not on the floor. And, if you see a better piece, now is the time to talk price. Also, buying more than one item almost always increases the chance of getting a better deal. Folks like to sell in volume.

Be reasonable in your discount request. Don’t expect the owner to take a 90% mark down. Offering between 10 to 20% less is normal. So, a $50.00 chair might go home with you for $40.00. Oh and by the way. Cash always speaks way louder than credit cards! That credit card with all the cool perks and rewards points is costing the store between 3 to 5% so stop by the ATM and go prepared to pay cash on the barrel head.

Now here’s the difficult part. If you’re shopping for an old example, make sure you’re looking at a vintage, period piece. Too often I see even our own furniture offered as vintage at period correct prices. And, many people either don’t know or are just marketing there stuff as from the 1940’s or 50’s when in fact they are a Flanders piece from the late 1980’s or 90’s. Nothing terribly wrong with any of this but you as the buyer should remain cautious and look for the “tells” I talk about in my book and on previous blogs here. Lots of folks think any metal lawn chair in rusty, flaking paint condition automatically must have come from the 1950’s. Remember your Latin, Caveat Emptor, which means buyer beware. You can always send me pictures with a question and I’ll be very happy to tell you what I can about any old lawn chairs or gliders.

Take a cold, dreary weekend and hit some shops and you may well be pleasantly surprised what you’ll find!

Good Hunting!!

Skip

Happy New Year!!

2018! Man! A new year … again! Seems like we just had one about 6 or 8 months ago! Someone needs to tap the brakes on the clock…this thing is moving entirely too fast. I remember the old folks telling me this would happen when I would go around “wishing” it was my birthday, Friday, end of school or other. They warned me that one day time would be coming too soon and I’d be wishing it be slower. Who knew they’d be right!

I hope all y’all had a wonderful Christmas and great New Year! Here in little ole’ Jefferson, Texas we’re still in holiday mode as Mardi Gras is coming real soon. Because of our relationship and history with New Orleans, we celebrate Mardi Gras in grand style. There’s a Queen Mab Ball later this month and then Mardi Gras in February. If you’ve been to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, you’ll appreciate our own style. We don’t party all month long or have big loud celebrations but we do party down for a week or so. We call ours “Mardi Gras Upriver”. Y’all might like to take a little trip and visit Jefferson this time of year and hang out with us for our Mardi Gras on February 9th and 10th. It’s not too adult and most folks have their kids with them so don’t think we’re not family oriented. There’s lots to see, parades, shopping, food, music and it’s all within easy walking distance of our little downtown area. And, there’s Lawn Chairs all around town! There’s shops with old chairs and also some new pieces around to sit and play with. Yes, they’ll sell them!

Please come see us and enjoy Mardi Gras Upriver in Jefferson, Texas. Les Bon Ton Roule’ y’all!

Jingle Bells in the air Y’all!

Hiddy Hi Lawn Chair Nation and Happy Merry Christmas!!

Well sir, it’s Christmas time all over the place around here and darned if things don’t look like the North Pole! Except without the snow! Our little town of Jefferson, Texas has been all dressed up Christmas like for the last couple of weeks and folks are really getting in the spirit of things!

We’ve been having really odd weather what with a few really cold nights but then we get a couple of warm days to help confuse the seasonal feelings! However, this offers another opportunity to sit outside and do some casual Lawn Chair sitting and enjoy the mild conditions.

I want to offer a little tip I got shown one News Year Eve several years ago. We were on the beach at a lake and of course we had the required bonfire going plus a handful of metal lawn chairs. Now, this was a pretty cold night and getting colder as we waited for 12 o’clock to roll around. Those steel chair bottoms were beginning to feel a little too cold for some folks so one of the men there took a small shovel scoop of coals from the bonfire and spread them out under the chairs. Within just a couple of minutes those metal lawn chairs began to get nice and toasty warm! It only took maybe a 1/4th of a shovel of glowing coals to get the cold driven away from the chair seats. When the seats got too cool again, we just grabbed another scoop of coals.

Now, as a word of caution, do this with the idea that you are sitting on top of hot, glowing coals and by so doing, you could singe your pant legs if you’re not careful. It’s not really all that dangerous, although I suppose it might seem so, you just need to use small amounts and be aware. No one at our party got into trouble and we were having a rather happy time but just be careful. The coals weren’t spread to the point they were touching the chair frame and mostly it was just sort of like an ant hill right under the middle of the seat. Surprisingly, it only takes a small amount so try a little at first to test the effects. Your back end with be happier!

I hope all y’all have a way Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!!

See all y’all next year!!!!

Skip

And…. we’re on the downhill run!! To winter that is!

Hiddy Hi all y’all out there in the good ‘ole Lawn Chair Nation!

I’m so very happy to report, that finally…East Texas is feeling more like fall! Hallelujah! In fact, we might receive a slight freeze this weekend it we don’t lookout. For those of you in other parts of our Great Nation that actually get to experience a true change of seasons, y’all might not understand my joy at all this but weather here in the Lone Star State is, shall we say…odd. In the fall, one day it’s 39 in the morning and that afternoon it’s 85. How do you dress for that? Then, in a few more days, it’s back to normal with the 70’s. But finally, the ladies here in the office got cool enough to have to run heat this morning so that’s a good sign we may be kicking summer to the curb. Now if we just had a bit of rain, everything would be everything!

As most of y’all know, we sell parts to rebuild the old chairs and gliders. Unfortunately, our stock is for the style of chairs and gliders that Ed Warmack, the Williams Brothers and Flanders Industries/Lloyd Flanders made and not the square, bench style such as  JR Bunting is famous for. I love those old three seat gliders with the cool cutouts and boxy shape. I routinely get requests for parts for this glider style and I can offer a few details here which I hope will assist others in their rebuilding job.

One of the easier sources for the swing arms, which seem to need replacing on most of the old pieces when found “in the wild” is by searching on eBay. There a couple of folks that are hand fashioning pretty good looking reproduction swing arms. Search using “Vintage Metal Glider” or “Porch Glider” and you’ll run across them and possibly some other things you might need.

There is also a way cool web site for an outfit that rebuilds the old Bunting style gliders and chairs. Sometimes they have extra parts or can offer suggestions. Please visit our friends at www.retrovintagepatio.com or call them at 800-725-6896. For me, they know more about the Bunting gliders than anyone else on the inner-web and I’m sure they’ll be happy to answer your questions.

Some of the pieces in poor condition will have rusted areas needing repair. Fortunately, the gauge or thickness of the material for the period gliders was a little on the thick side. This means that new metal can be welded into place with the right approach. First, all the old paint needs to be removed. This can be done with a chemical stripper and the citrus based ones have worked well for me and they are pretty much environmentally friendly. However, you do tend to make a mess so prepare for that ahead of time. The other method requires sourcing a company that can media blast the paint off. Media blasting is sort of like sand blasting but it’s not as aggressive. There’s even a rather newer method that incorporates high pressure water along with a media that takes the paint off nicely. The folks that cater to classic car rebuilding generally will have these blast machines or can recommend someone.

Once all the paint is off then you’ll truly know the shape of your fortune. It could be the metal is fine and ready for primer or you might need to cut out some rust and weld in new panels. For this work, I would again seek out the help of the classic car shops. These folks know and understand lighter gauge metal fabrication and can help advise you on what can be done to get your treasured glider back to factory new.

I hope this rather short segment has helped a little in y’all’s quest towards your project. Fixing up old chairs and gliders is becoming more and more popular these days if I only go by the level of emails I get. It’s so cool that folks are becoming increasingly interested in restoring or just fixing their vintage pieces and not scrapping them! Most of y’all know, that’s my mantra!

Later y’all! Happy Halloween and don’t steal your kid’s candy…while they’re looking!

Skip

 

Fall is in the air….sort of!

Hiddy Hi all y’all in the Lawn Chair Nation!

Just turned my calendar and it says it’s fall. I guess because it’s October and the official sanctioned date for the commemoration was September the 22nd. Here in East Texas, we still have summer and danged if the rain hasn’t stopped! We had pretty good rain all summer but right after Harvey, it stopped. Strange, but that’s just weather in Texas.

Fall marks a change of seasons whether the temperature is cooperating or not. Here in the Deep South, we can enjoy being outside well into November and I’ve seen some of the prettiest weather you can imagine at Thanksgiving! Everybody around here and most other places I’m sure is busy with school football. We’ve been to Denton to see the grandson do some quarterbacking and thankfully we could sit in the shade! Poor kids were soaked from the heat and all that running around. Oh well, it’ll be winter soon enough.

So, what to do with your Lawn Chairs? Since the evenings are getting cooler, and for us that means the low 80’s, I suggest getting together with friends and family in the backyard, take a deep breath and enjoy the time you have before all the Holiday festivities kick in. Maybe you’re like us, with all our kids scattered about, we do a fair bit of traveling so our sitting around opportunities diminish and then we have other civic obligations that begin this time of year. Why is it, the older you get, the busier you get? How does that work?

Taking time for one’s self is an important health consideration. Therefore, spending a little time relaxing in a nice Metal Lawn Chair in the comfort of one’s own surroundings is actually part of a heathy life style. Sort of like, eating skinless chicken breast! I like mine barbequed of course. The simple act of taking time out from a hectic life gives the body an opportunity to regain its strength. And if that happens to include a frosty adult beverage, then so much the better!

I hope all y’all have a very pleasant fall season and please try to relax in your Lawn Chairs as often as you can. It’ll make you a better person and improve your well being. Just keep with it and you’ll soon see what I’m talking about!

Talk to y’all later!

Skip

 

To color match or not….that is the question!

Hey All Y’all up in here in the Lawn Chair Nation!

Memorial Day was a little wet for us Southern folks but we still managed to get outside and make a trip or two to the lake for the inaugural start to summer! Bang! It’s here don’t you know!

We get calls everyday from folks that what to outfit their front porch, back yard, deck or what all. The problem comes with picking colors! We offer a whole bunch of colors and sometimes that presents a little trouble. What color to pick? Just this week a lady was fretting over her choice for going all white or mix in some color for her front porch. There are folks that want their furniture to match the house and then others want their chairs and gliders to add a splash of color. Either way is perfectly acceptable and to be very honest, there are no hard and fast rules as far as I’ve found!

But, lets take a look at what folks did back in the day how about? From the very start, reds, yellows, blues and greens were common color choices. So, if you had an all white house and you wanted metal chairs and gliders then you just put them out there and that was it. This was normal and common to see and no one freaked out. And, it was so very common to see all these colors in one setting. My feelings are that since color was such an important thing in the Post War Era that people pretty much demanded things to be offered in a choice of colors. If it wasn’t in a color then most likely it was chrome! This is also the time when cars came in colors too and not just white, black and silver.

If I could guide anyone on colors, I’d say to pick whatever suits you and have fun. I used to think we needed to match the color of the year and for awhile we did but pretty soon we came to understand that vintage style metal lawn furniture need not be in whatever the rad color was supposed to be for that year. The normal top 3 is and has been red, yellow and green. Blue is a popular third color in some parts of the country more than green. However, school colors are an important thing to consider. Folks always what to show their school colors and quite often it gets pretty intense! This is one reason why we offer so many colors.

Let me say something about red with white. There is I’m sure a physiological explanation as to why this color combination is so popular across so many years for all sorts of things. It was the hot go to colors of the 50’s but so was yellow and white let’s not forget. My aunt was a yellow and white fan of the first order! I’m sure, Coca Cola has had a lot to do with furthering the red/white proliferation. But, they weren’t the only ones cashing in so maybe it’s just in our human make up to gravitate to this color combo. As a side note, we worked with a guy on the East Coast for awhile that made the old chrome diner furniture. He told me he purposely would not bring anything red and white to display at a trade show. I asked why he didn’t go with his strongest offering? He said that every time he showed red/white, no one paid any attention to his other way cool colors! So, in order to sell his other choices, he had to leave red and white at home.

To sum up, really all you need to do is reflect back to what you mother or grandmother would have done. After all, they were in the same situation themselves back in their day too! But for them, the world was all about colors and color combinations. They just went with the flow and did what seemed natural to do. Making the world a little prettier has never been a problem for anyone. So my recommendation is just have fun, let some color flow and if that gets old, change it around! If you want a dead on match to your house color then that’s all cool as well! The important thing is to make yourself happy and enjoy the outdoors. Of course an added benefit to having multi colored lawn chairs and gliders out front, your pizza guy or visitors won’t miss your house!

Party on All Y’all and remember, don’t toss ‘m, save ‘m!

Louis (Skip) Torrans

 

 

Saving that special find and making it new again!

Hiddy Hi all y’all out there in the Lawn Chair Nation!

OMG! Memorial Day is like here and I mean right now! Y’all know what that means? Summer time is upon us and sitt’n outside is what it’s all about! We’ve got most of the kids coming so we washed and arranged our chairs and gliders for everyone to enjoy. Hope the rain stays away and I hope all y’all take a moment to remember the reason for the holiday and thank a Veteran for his/her service and their help in making our Country the Greatest on the Planet!

Today, I want to help y’all with rebuilding that garage/lawn/church/flea or whatever type of sale you scored an old piece of metal lawn furniture and brought home to love. Sourcing parts can be a little difficult compared to rebuilding other things. I remember as a kid working on go-carts, mini-bikes and cars that you had to go to the back of magazines to locate companies selling the stuff your needed. You had to write off for their catalog, which took weeks to arrive and sometimes you even had to send them money to buy them! But that’s how it was back in the day and I was a catalog collector of the first order. I had catalogs from all over the country and I used to look them over like they were one of those men’s magazines I used to try to sneak a peek at in the rack down at the drug store. Hoo Boy!

Anyways, now we have the internet and with just a few clicks you can find almost anything you might need. However, parts for vintage lawn furniture is not, shall we say, a target rich environment. To my knowledge, we are the only company offering parts for the old chairs and glider in the styles we make. Today, we service an ever growing community of Lawn Chair Aficionados fixing up their found treasures or family heirlooms. Most of the time we can help but there are other instances where we can’t.

Ironically, we have some sources I’d like to share with all y’all that routinely comes to the aid of a stumped owner/rebuilder needing parts. Vintage Glider – www.vintageglider.com has been helping to save old chairs and gliders for over 10 years. I’ve been watching them all this time and have seen them grow from a little ole’ shop to what they are today. Mostly, they refinish the square, couch looking metal glides like those made by JR Bunting. but they have other pieces available and provide custom work too. Now that they are enjoying much deserved growth, they have a nice supply of vintage parts available to help you rebuild that old family piece that’s on its last leg. I’m certain if you have one of the old square shaped gliders and are in need of a part or just want to check on their services, they’ll take great care of you! They have the same passion for these old pieces as you do!

Another source for a few things might lead you to eBay. I’ve run across old parts there pretty often from someone that has torn down an old piece and is selling the good parts. Also, there are a few folks that have taken the time to remake some of the old parts that are hard to find. They might not be vintage but they are modeled after old pieces and will get you back in business!

And lastly, we receive inquiries pretty often from folks working on old glidesr in the style we make. In the early years, about the 1970’s to the late 80’s, Flanders was making gliders and using swing arms that had nylon bushings that looked a lot like a little top hat. They fit onto a special made bolt that had a larger than normal shoulder so the nylon bushing would run smooth. You must have these original bolts to use replacement bushings. Without them, the bushings will be way too loose. And, at this time I can’t help with a source for replacement bolts of this type. AND! Before I forget, if you have one of the older made Flanders gliders and intend to have them powder coated, make double sure the powder coater does not throw out these special bolts! I can’t tell you how many times some one calls me and they have “lost” one or more of these special bolts! Now, if you just need to replace the bushings, here’s what I have for you. Contact McMaster Carr @ www.mcmaster.com and order part number 6389K625. These are nylon bushing as closely made as I’ve been able to locate to replace the bushing on an early Flanders glider. If you need a complete new set of swing arms, ours will get you back going! They include a pressed in bushing in the same style Flanders went to in the late 80’s up until 1996 when they stopped production. Sorry, but our swing arms bushings are not available separately.

We’re always happy to hear from folks rebuilding an old chair or glider and we gladly offer whatever support and advise we can.to get anyone fixed up.

Thanks for dropping by and have a safe and very happy Memorial Day Weekend!!

Skip

Some news, couple of updates and some odds and ends.

What’s up Lawn Chair Nation!!

I thought maybe I’d post a few pieces of news for all y’all. First, our Heavy Duty chairs are very soon to be back in stock, like before the end of April or sooner. These are our commercial grade frames that have a weight rating of 325 lbs. Or normal frames are weight rated at 275 lbs but lots of our bars and restaurant customers asked for a heavier made chair so we developed our Heavy Duty chairs. In fact, they have become so popular that we are gearing our entire chair line over to Heavy Duty frames as our standard chair. And, there will only be a modest cost increase but you’ll be getting the strongest made tube frame metal lawn chair that has ever been made no matter who or when it was made! You’ll still be able to get our regular frames which are the strongest in the industry but they will have to be ordered this way. I’ll have more news about this as our stock rotates towards all Heavy Duty frames.

We’re running a way cool sale right now! When you buy $140.00 in purchase total (excluding shipping and taxes) you’ll receive a super way cool vintage lawn chair tee shirt in your size! Tee shirts are limited to stock on hand and the choice depends on what we have. Be the first on your block to sport this totally rad, one of a kind summer time favorite!

Now seems like the time when everybody is in the fix’n mode! They’re fix’n to do this and do that and among these they are fix’n up their old lawn chairs and gliders. A nice lady called just this week with a funny story. Said she had scored a way cool vintage two seat lawn chair only to discover later it was really a two seat glider minus the main frame and swing arms. This is actually more common than you might first think. We fixed her up with a brand new main frame and set of swing arms with new hardware! Now she’s on her way to glide’n and sitt’n like a Queen in here rebuilt vintage glider! Many of our chair and glider parts will rebuild almost all the old gliders and chairs made in our styles. However, we get lots of requests for other glider and chair parts for the other vintage styles. We’re always happy to help you with your rebuilding project and search for parts. Even if we don’t have the parts, we at least know or have some ideas where to look. After all these years, we sort of have a little data base made up of where to locate stuff and we’re more than happy to share our hard earned knowledge with you!

And, as always, if you have an old vintage chair or glider and have some questions about it, please call or drop me a line at tmc@torransmfgco.com. It’ll be real helpful if you’ll please include a couple of photos because sometimes working off just a description doesn’t always get you the answer you’re wanting. Like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words!

Anyways y’all, enjoy the spring weather and please remember to save’m and not scrap’m!

Until later y’all!

Skip

 

 

OMG. Where as the time gone…by?

Hey All Y’all out there in the Lawn Chair Nation!

Sorry it’s been like a year since I blogged last but time has just flown by and life in general has been way hectic! But, I’m so very glad spring is back and I’m sure most of y’all are too. I want to talk with you folks that are doing a little lawn chair collecting and maybe want to know a little more about the old pieces you’re running onto. First, if you haven’t read my book “A History of the Metal Lawn Chair….What We Know Now” I invite you to take a look at it please. I worked for about 5 years on it and wanted it to be the end all book on the subject of Metal Lawn Chairs but alas, the history is so reclusive that I hit a wall on anything further and simply decided to put out what I knew at the time. And, it still appears for all practical purposes that further information is scant and less than enough to make any updates with a new edition. However, one thing has been more present in the last year than most others. I’m talking about the metal lawn chairs made with spring steel frames instead of the normal tube frame varieties we’re all more accustom to findings.

In my book, I talk a lot about Alvin Shott and his dominance in the 1940’s making what he called, all steel porch chairs.  Mr. Shott claimed and I have no reason to doubt it, that he was the largest manufacturer of all steel porch chairs in the world. That is until Ed Warmack built up a good head of steam and surpassed him in the late 40’s and early 50’s. But, Shott did something Ed Warmack didn’t do and that is offer a high end chair at a much costlier price. Actually, Shott didn’t do anything all that outstanding but instead took cues from some of the past makers that were in place prior to World War II. (That’s 2 and not 11 now you kids!) Back in the days before Shott got rolling, a few of the early manufacturers would offer their same tube frame chairs but in a highly flexible, spring steel frame. The seat and back were the same, just the frame was different. Some used spring steel all the way around while a few others made a sort of hybrid piece using spring steel for the bottom of the frame up to about the connection point at the front of the seat. Then, they combined the flat spring steel with round tube material to continue on with frame to form the chair arms. This means there is a joint just under the bottom edge of the chair front where to two shapes collide. Chairs with this arrangement of construction are to my opinion pre-WWII. The added work to marry the two shapes of material would have been rather costly production wise but one does see this added work in many things in the years leading up to war time. It was after the war that manufacturers tended to economize and in Metal Lawn Chairs, you can see subtle differences of things that might have taken a few extra steps to add in. By dropping these design elements, the maker streamlined their process a bit and saved production time.

When manufacturers like JR Bunting, who by the way was already considered a high end maker added a spring steel frame their retail costs were dramatically higher! I’m talking at least nearly double here folks! A normal tube frame lawn chair could be had for about $3.50 to $4.00 in the mid 40’s  but with a spring steel frame, the costs were almost always closer to $6.50.Just for an example, in today’s money these high end pieces would be near $100.00. Now I know today’s tube frame lawn chairs are priced not too far from this but this was in the 1940’s when little differences made large changes. In an effort to gain a little extra clout and offer the buyer who wanted a little nicer piece, these makers of the day could justify the added costs and also expect a good return on their efforts. Consequently, the buyers for the spring frame chairs proved a little less than anticipated and production numbers are characteristically small. This is the largest reason so few of these examples are not found in descent numbers today. BTW. these spring frame chairs flex a lot and depending on your size and weight, you get quite the ride of ’em without fear of breaking!

When Alvin Shott came along, he too saw the benefit of offering these higher end chairs but I fear he didn’t understand the economics behind them. Still, he sold a bunch and they can be found with a little looking today. They seldom are located in such poor condition as to make them no longer useful. On the contrary, spring metal lawn chairs tend to be found in quite serviceable condition and pretty much ready for duty as is. Their frames are not as prone to rusting as the tube models and I think their owners may have taken a little better care of them probably owing to their purchase cost and wanting to see to their life a little better. Today, a spring frame chair either made by Shott or others will warrant a rather higher price than a similar example in tube frame. Depending on where the find is made, you might expect the asking price to be again, about double. It is not unusual to locate a nice vintage piece for $100 or more with a tube frame chair next to it going for about $50.00. Many of the antique dealers have come to recognize the attractiveness of spring frame chairs and also their limited numbers is becoming well understood. If you run onto a nice one, you might try to haggle a bit but in the end if it’s in good shape and sits right, you’ll have it for a very long time and can most likely pass it on!

If you have any questions about collecting the old metal lawn chairs, please drop me a line!

Until later y’all! And please remember – “Save’m, don’t crush’m!”

Skip