Caveat Emptor – “Buyer Beware”

Howdy All Y’all up in here in the lawn chair nation!

As I write this, July 17th, 2014, East Texas, as well as much of the rest of the Nation is experiencing cool temperatures, perfect for lawn chair sitt’n! Can you believe it? Mid July and it feels like fall…my oh my! It hasn’t been like this in over 100 years so it’s nothing new but it’s been awhile. And, no one apparently saw it coming. Not the weather service, who I think we’ll agree is getting worse instead of better and then the Old Farmer’s Almanac missed it too. Personally I don’t care. I’m enjoying not melting just walking to the truck!

But this blog is not about weather. Instead I want to cover a problem I’m seeing that appears to be growing. Specifically, it’s blatant embellishment in advertising of old chairs and gliders. Recently while spending a little quiet time one afternoon, I pulled up my old haunt for vintage lawn chairs on eBay. I actually use it to learn things and sometimes I run across such a unique piece that I bid on it. Like the 1947 model Ed Warmack double glider I didn’t know existed. But in my rambling around, I found a couple of listing that made me do a double take. There was a chair with the seat and back that could have been one Ed made or it could have been as late as a 1996 Lloyd Flanders piece. Just looking at the seat and back it’s too hard to tell so I use the frame as a guide. However, this chair’s frame was a little weird looking. Upon further inspection of the pictures, it turns out the frame was from a Calumet/Jr. Toy chair most folks call a clam shell chair. I didn’t even know the two would work together but there it was and it looked like it worked just fine. That is except it wasn’t what it was advertised to be. The listing made the claim the chair, I’m paraphrasing here ’cause I don’t want to name names made the bold assertion the chair was a bonafide “original” 1940’s -1950’s era piece. I took the time to contact the seller and inquire about the chair’s authenticity and I told them the frame was not a correct match to the seat and back. They further asserted they have been in the business of rebuilding these old chairs for a long time and the frame with these seats and backs was indeed original and I was all wet.

Then, during the same search I ran across a classic Flanders “C”  chair. Flanders had become Lloyd Flanders in the early 1980’s and developed their round back chair to have high rounded arms. This “C” chair as it was called came out in about 1986 and was made until Flanders stopped production in 1996. Here again the listing made claim these were the genuine articles from the 1950’s and not to be confused with other lesser, more modern copies. I asked the seller about this and told them about the chairs and they responded that the chairs were indeed very old and that the family had them for quite a long time and that I was all wet….again.

I don’t make a habit of trolling auction sites policing listings for inaccuracies but when they jump right out at you and make bodacious claims when I’m pretty sure they know better, it sort of grinds on me a little. And, I’m uncomfortable knowing some poor buyer is shelling out good money for what they’re being told is a pure product. If you can’t sell the poor thing for what it is then please don’t try and make out it’s something it isn’t. Now I know not everyone is lawn chair fluent and I respect that. But when you know it’s not what you say it is then there’s a problem. And, this is why the old Latin phrase, Caveat Emptor is important to remember. What I wish for the reader to take away from this is, if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck but barks like a cat then just maybe it ain’t no duck!

On the flip side, I’ve also found pieces that were actually older than the seller said they were. I’ve found early Ed Warmack pieces from 1947 that were said to be just 50’s era. Also, some chairs in these auctions are actually early 1940’s and advertised as being 1950’s products. When I run across these, sometimes I’ll write the seller and let them know their piece is actually much older than they first thought. Oddly enough, these folks never tell me their great-grandmother had these forever and they are family heirlooms or that they’ve been buying and selling old steel lawn chairs since candy bars were two for a nickel. And, they also don’t tell me I’m all wet!

Party On Lawn Chair Army and keep’em, don’t crush’em!

Skip

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Book has arrived and is available for purchase!

Hello Lawn Chair Nation!,

I’m writing this on one of the hottest days of the year that will soon be met with one of the coolest days in July on record. Isn’t is weird but just look at it this way…..it will be great lawn chair weather!

I’m so very proud to announce the book, “A History of the Metal Lawn Chair..What We Know Now” is in stock and ready for delivery. The price is $24.95 and I am pleased to sign a copy for you if you’ll just drop me an email at tmc@torransmfgco.com. The book can bought here on our web site retrometalchairs.com.

I know it’s been a long time coming so I hope it was worth the wait. If you have any comments or questions about the book, please email me or blog it here whichever you wish.

Thanks for all your support and party on Dude and Dudeets!

Louis (Skip) Torrans