How environmentally friendly is all steel lawn furniture?

Hi there all y’all LCFs (That’s text talk for Lawn Chair Folks)!

Summer is moving right along and I sure hope it’s been a good one for you! I see where some areas of the country sorely need rain and I know what it’s like to look up at that bright blue sky only to see the odd little cotton ball cloud. Keep your hopes up because I can tell you, things will get better but like the old folks around here liked to say, “Well, it could be worse!” Let’s just trust in nature and let her do what she does best which often times just keeps us humans confused!

Speaking of nature. Have you ever given any thought to just how envirnmentally friendly your stamped metal lawn furniture really is? Take for example, it’s completely recyclable. You can take an old lawn chair, melt it down and make it over again, practically without loosing anything. Very few things are 100% recyclable but steel is right up there.

But what about the finish you ask? Is’t it harmful to the environment with all the toxins and stuff that’s in it? Since the early 1970’s, nearly all metal lawn furniture has been made using powder coat as the finish material. This is without a doubt our best finishing choice then as well as today. The powder has very few toxic solvents, it’s overspray if kept clean or cleaned can be reused and when fully cured poses no more of threat to the environment than cured latex house paint. It stays hard, resists the sun’s rays, is highly chemical resistant and protects the metal better than any other spray type applications.

Steel can be easily repaired. There are several types of welding procedures available to make an old lawn chair if not new, nearly new. Rusted metal can be cut away and new scabbed in. Holes can be filled, rust blasted away and new parts fitted from raw stock. However, this type work is a little costly if hired out but it is well within the scope of most DIY guys and gals that work on bikes, cars and motorcycles. Most of these folks will be pleased to barter their evening or weekend services if you ask nicely. A case of beer, bottle or two of nice wine or around here a platter of fried chicken will get you a couple of hours work in someones home shop. So if you choose to fix your dilapidated chairs and gliders, you’re saving the poor things from the scrap yard, keeping them in the family and slowing the use of resources. Now all you have to do is keep them clean and safe from falling branches and the like and they’ll serve you several more years.

But when the day comes and your old metal lawn furniture is too far gone even for the best of repair efforts then taking them to the metal scrapper is the best choice. Here, they’ll weigh your stuff and calulate the scrap price value based on current rates. You’ll get a weight ticket and the office clerk will pay you in cash or with a check. Then, they get lumped in with other metals of the same type and go off to the steel mill where they’ll get cut up and melted in a furnace to make new steel for all sorts of things. Who knows? Maybe your old chairs will be the fender on a new car or the cabinet for a washing machine or dryer or maybe even a new piece of furniture. Then the whole process begins anew!

So remember what the vintage car guys say “Save’m, don’t cruch’m!”

Have a save and happy rest of the summer!


Louis Torrans

How did the Metal Lawn Chair get all its names?

Hey all y’all!

I hope everyone had a safe and very happy 4th! We’re looking forward to the rest of summer and sure hope it isn’t too fast trying to get here!

Since we all love the old chairs, you may have noticed they tend to be called by all sorts of names. For example, you may have the custom of referring to a stamped metal motel retro 50’s porch clamshell lawn chair as a “Tulip” chair. Or, maybe your mamma called them “Shell Backs” or even “Yard” chairs. All of which are correct becasue this is one piece of American furniture that does not have any singular name.

Think about that for a moment. All our furniture in the home has an official name. Either the designer or people selling them named the design or style and that’s what we call them. Easy as that! But why didn’t our beloved ….chair made of metal used outside mostly in the lawn but also on porches get named? Well I have some answers for y’all I hope you’ll like.

First off, the chair design actually does have sort of an official name which is “Cantilever”. You see the frame of a metal lawn chair is not supported in the normal way but instead is shaped like the letter “C”. If the base of the “C” were too short, then the chair would flip over backwards which might be fun at parties if there was a pool involved but not much more than that. So if you’ll notice, your typical pipe framed lawn chair has a base slightly longer than the total length of the whole chair. This is to distribute the total weight of you and the chair to the ground and keep you sitting pretty. The forces of the load placed on the chair frame travel down the arms, to the ground and then all along the bottom of the frame where it sits on the ground. But it just doesn’t sound too cool to fill you mouth with “Cantilevered metal lawn chair” so we don’t observe this too often unless were giving a dissertation on the subject….such as…well…now.

The other more colorful names are pretty easy to define. Motel chair comes from the fact that so many of these chairs were used in the front of roadside motels and tourist courts. That’s pretty understandable. Then what about, say, Tulip then? There are very unique designs from the late 40s and very early 50s that actually mimics the shape of an opened tulip flower. These are super cool but I’ve not seen too many. I suspect they were a locally distributed product and only made for a few seasons.

So what about this new word “Bouncer”? I happen to know this answer rather clearly. In the early 2000s, we had a very good customer in Austin, Texas named Charles Gandy. Charlie was an exTexas State congressman that had for reasons I don’t exactly recall turned his attention to metal lawn chairs. He was buying some lessor made stuff and doing fair selling them around the Austin area. He ran across us and we exchanged information on what little each of us knew but he had heard somewhere the “Bouncer” name being mentioned. This had come from the rocking or bouncing moition one gets when the frame is flexed and the chair sort of “bounces” up and down. So, he named his chairs Gandy Bouncers. You know these politicions, always wanting top billing!

Charlie loved the Colorado mountains and vactioned up yonder every chance he had. Naturally, he decided he needed to move so he bought some kind of a lodge or other and bid farewell to Austin. He had a young man working with him and Charlie sold out to him. However, Charlie didn’t want his name kept on the product so with a little thought, the name was simply and quickly changed to “Candy Bouncer”. Now we have another name in the already long list.

Then there was this guy back in the 40s named Alvin Shott making metal lawn chairs that used “Porch Chair” and “Steel Chair” or “All Steel Chair” then later in the 40s and 50s it became the “Shott Chair”. But it was a very early design from the late 1930s that “Clam Shell” came to be. This chair actually very closely approximates the shape of your standard garden variety clam shell.

Now if you’re shopping for all steel 50’s retro lawn chairs and want to do a search, try just plain ole’ ordinary “Metal Lawn Chair” and you should get plenty of hits. You’ll want to try some of these others because not everybody uses the same call sign and depending on where you were raised it could make a big difference!

Happy watermelon time y’all!

Louis Torrans