The first authentic tractors were simply horse drawn plows that were used by farmers to cultivate their land and vast fields. These farmers often walked along side their plows and pointed their horses in the right direction. You can imagine how tired the farmer was after a long, hot day trudging behind cranky and smelly horses.
Cast iron seats were made between 1850 and 1900 and were derived from implements that came after the civil war from ammunition factories. These seats were accepted readily by farmers who had previously had to walk behind their horse-drawn plows. They were thrilled to death to be able to sit comfortably and simply steer their horses. These seats contributed immensely to the large agricultural growth in the United States.
The original cast iron seats were composed of brittle material and usually had round holes punched out on different parts of their surfaces. Some of the seats were also quite decorative with laced, curved and swirled design features. The patterns that were used on the earliest seats were made originally from wood. Often the maker of the seat was embossed somewhere on the surface along with where the seat was manufactured. Some even were patented with the date embossed somewhere on the seat.
There are many people throughout the world today that have made a hobby out of collecting antique cast iron seats. They often like to keep them in their original condition rather that restoring them to something more pristine. Some collectors like to take old seats and add beautiful painted and bright designs on them. They often add intricate details that probably weren’t present on the original seat. The end result is often breathtaking. It is a fun hobby for anyone but it does take some time and research work to find suitable antique seats that were actually used on the earliest plows.
To date, there are over 2000 different types of cast iron tractor seats. New versions appear every day so the list of possible resources and contact points keeps growing. Seasoned collectors are hesitant to part with any seat that will increase in value and will be more than happy to charge top dollar for it. That is why novice cast iron seat collectors sometimes have a difficult time getting started in this fascinating and lucrative hobby.