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!

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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!”

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