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Tractor Treasures: Garnett’s Collection Is Seated In History

By Inside Columbia
Vintage tractor seat collection

Photo by L.G. Patterson

Rodney Garnett’s collection of farm machinery has been taking a front seat for decades. In fact, his father got him started on the hunt for cast iron seats.

“My dad started collecting the seats and I’ve just been continually adding to it,” Garnett says. “We have a tool collection because when you would buy a piece of equipment, you often get a tool to go with it. For example, tractor seats and wrenches were often sold together.”

Garnett owns over 100 tractor seats from various manufacturers, the majority of which he acquired at farm machinery sales. “You can typically buy the seats for $50 to $75. Some can reach up to $200 or even higher,” Garnett says.

Most of his seats are cast iron, which were molded at factories in the 1900s to 1930s, he says. Often the names of implement companies or names of towns or states are cast into the design of the seats. Abbreviations can also be found on some of the seats.

While the seats were ornately designed, they may not have been the most comfortable.

The hard seats featured pierced openings that would let air circulate and allow rain to drain through, according to Antique Power magazine. Eventually the padded tractor seats entered the market, giving famers a little more comfort for their long, hot days working in the field.

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