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Author Topic: Cast Iron Patio Furniture - Antique or Mid-20th Century?  (Read 3518 times)
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talesofthesevenseas
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« on: September 17, 2009, 04:02:40 PM »

Well this is a bit of a surprise, I bought a set of cast iron patio furniture. It was not being sold as antique. I paid $75 for it. It was being sold as used, not antique. When I got it, I was surprised that it was a smaller scale than what is usually seen. The seller commented that he had a hard time selling it because of the smaller size. I asked him how old it was and he said he had had it for 20 years and that it was at least that old when he got it. Mine has a fresh coat of paint on it.

I just happen to stumble across this set online. It is absolutely identical to mine. Exact same pattern grape vine pattern, the only difference is that I have the matching table, instead of the double setee. This one says it is Victorian and the set is selling for $1600.
http://design-atelier-antiques.com/antiques/vmchk/Patio-Furniture/Patio-Chairs.html

This is my set. I'm now beginning to wonder if it is older than I thought it was? Look at the legs, backs. Definitely the same. What do you guys think?
« Last Edit: September 17, 2009, 04:04:33 PM by talesofthesevenseas » Logged

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regularjoe2
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« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2009, 06:30:09 PM »

I'd call yours 'vintage' rather than Victorian .... the castings appear too light to be the old heavy Vickky stuff .

Nice & cool in the summer .
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talesofthesevenseas
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« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2009, 06:49:22 PM »

This is pretty darn heavy stuff. Despite the smaller than average overall size, it is extremely heavy. Frying pan grade cast iron I would say, LOL. Bruised the heck out of me carrying it out to the back yard. Considerably heavier than repro ones you buy now, but I can't claim to have picked up and compared anything from the 50's/60's. I'll weigh mine and report back.

Also, the legs detach from the chairs, if that is any help and they are held on by large bolts/nuts, through holes in the castings. These are probably replacement bolts, but I can't say for sure on that, they are frozen in place, rusted/painted solid. Boy it is hard for me to get a sense of age when it's been heavily repainted. I'll try to get some closer pix up in a couple of days. There are no markings on it anywhere. No numbers, no nuthin'.
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regularjoe2
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« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2009, 07:09:02 PM »

Yeah , that stuff is shin-barkin' mat'l .

Hope I'm wrong on the age , since I'm guessing only from what I see in your images .
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talesofthesevenseas
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« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2009, 07:16:56 PM »

Here are two chairs identical to the one with the  partial arms that I have, up for sale on Ebay. Mine looks exactly like this. Details are identical, it's got to be the same mold. I can shift between photos and match leaf, to branch to vine against mine. Detachable legs on this one too. The seller says Victorian. There's a bunch of photos on the auction, I'm not at home to take measurements, but that sounds like a match too. I'm gonna get you guys some better photos:
http://cgi.ebay.com/~ANTIQUE-CAST-IRON-PAIR-GRAPEVINE-GARDEN%2fPATIO-CHAIRS~_W0QQitemZ200264351833QQcmdZViewItem



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talesofthesevenseas
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« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2009, 08:44:43 PM »

I just got a nice email back from the seller of the set shown above mine:

Hi Claire:
Your set is very pretty indeed. It is the same design as mine. I believe they started to make these pieces in aluminum rather than cast iron, about the turn of the century. Some pieces were produced in Mexico for a while after the turn of the century, but certainly by the 1950s, cast iron was phased out. I have seen aluminium reproductions in this design but not the cast iron pieces. When I find them, they are very expensive. This is one of the more common designs (I think it is supposed to be grape vines). My pieces do not have any indentification marks, either, but over the 16 years I have been in this business, I have only once every seen a marked piece. Enjoy your set.

I guess the best thing to do is to weigh it when I get home. I don't think it could possibly be anything but cast iron. Will post the weight ASAP.
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regularjoe2
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« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2009, 12:16:10 AM »

I'm sure they're cast iron (I think) ..stick a mag on it & save your back , talesof .
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talesofthesevenseas
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« Reply #7 on: September 18, 2009, 01:11:23 AM »

LOL too late, I just did it and then logged on to report the news.

I got on a regular bathroom scale and weighed myself alone then holding the larger of the two chairs, the one with the partial arms. It weighs in at 40 lbs.

I just ran out with a magnet to make sure... yup it sticks, even with a thick coat of paint. They were just painted over maybe two months ago, so its still pretty fresh looking. Gotta be iron. Cool.  Grin
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regularjoe2
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« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2009, 10:41:33 AM »

Almost the last question : do you know if they're die-sast or sand-cast ?

(the best spots to check for die/sand is on the back (I/S) side of the legs & on the bottom of the seat)

If they're die-cast , look for casting flash that has been ground/filed down on the o/s edges of the legs .

The last 'tell' in the casting side of things would be to check for any 'stops' or 'bridges' in the castings where the legs bolt to the 'seat' .... these would be on the bottom of the seat casting and would sort of nestle the leg casting , when bolted on .

I've only seen 3 types of casting for this area (leg-to-seat) ; flush mounted , stops &/or bridges , and more rarely a recessed casting in the seat (the ones I've seen like this all had a slight 'rise' on the top of the seat casting , to accommodate for uniform iron thickness) .

Every piece I've seen (Vic era) with original hardware has used stove bolts with square nuts , both with & without washers .

It can be tough to see sand-cast marks when an item has been painted a buncha times .


Any way it turns out , you've got some permanent furniture that's in a classic design !

The only bane of this type of furniture is impact damage and rust .
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talesofthesevenseas
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« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2009, 10:50:03 AM »

Not sure on that, I will have to check in a couple of days and get back to you.
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cogar
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« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2009, 02:46:44 PM »

Tales, I have a set that matches yours except that both my chairs have the arms on them. They have been sitting on my bottom side porch now for probably 18 years and in dire need of a fresh coat of paint. They are cast iron.
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talesofthesevenseas
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« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2009, 12:08:09 AM »

Cool Cogar! Pull those puppies out o' the corner and let's see some before and after photos!!! *hint, hint, nudge, nudge!!*
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KC
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« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2009, 12:28:21 AM »

Not to try and rain on your parade....but in Florida, Texas and New Mexico areas these were/are prevalent from the early to mid 1900's  (even the armless round pieces that surround a tree trunk = I remember as a kid wondering how they got that tree to grow up in the hole of that round seat!  LOL).  These were/are mainstays in the south.

Of course there are many around from earlier times....but most I would reckon would be 1900's.  Still collectible and loved. 
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« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2009, 12:38:16 AM »

KC , that's where I was heading too ...scads of them in S. Alabama and Mississippi as well .
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talesofthesevenseas
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« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2009, 12:54:43 AM »

 No worries about raining on the parade, I'm just pleased to know it's a little earlier than the 60's LOL. That's what I figured it was when I bought it. I looked for quite a while to find one of these at a reasonable price, and I wasn't even going for old, let alone antique. So any added history that is under the Rustoleum is just a bonus as far as I'm concerned.

Here in CA, there are new cast aluminum repros available, but most of what you find on Craigslist are the wire types or modern sets. These are out there, but they take a little hunting to find. But they do come up. I've seen 'em run from free to about $300 on C-List. I paid $75 for my set. I love how it looks and I'm happy with 'em whatever they are!
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