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End of horse hair


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The earliest car I've seen with factory foam was a late 1930's Cadillac, 1938 or so, that I worked on in a previous life (job). That early foam was very dense, with almost no air pockets, unlike the closed cell foam that's sold and used now.

I've not researched it, but think that after WWII foam started becoming more prevalent, and I doubt that many, if any, cars of the 1950's had horsehair (or, more accurately, sterilized and curled hair from horses or hogs).

It's a great question. From what I saw of the early foam I worked with, it seemed fairly stable, but many foams start to come apart, both physically and chemically, after a number of years...and by number of years I mean 5 to 15. I've seen foam in later seats that literally was turning to dust.

The fit and feel of horsehair and cotton will last decades......and the appearance is much different than foam. I can look at an upholstery job and usually identify the foam job, it's much more square and not as natural looking as the "real" thing....

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Sometimes, depending on what kind of foam it is, it goes back to a tarry substance. When I was working on USAF bases in the mid 1980s, we had some kit boxes for shipping our recon systems around in where the foam, put there in the early 70s, had regressed. It was an awful mess to clean out, got on all of your clothes, in your hair, etc. We used MEK but that hardly put a dent in it.

Cheers, Dave

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Hi Wayne.

From the "Facts about the 1941 Buick" salesman's book - - -

"In the Series 50-60-70 Buicks the standard seat construction consists of a Foamtex (whipped rubber) pad over luxury type springs. Luxury type springs are also standard in the Buick Special and Foamtex is also available in the seats of this series at slight additional cost." No mention is made of what the standard seat pads are for the Special.


"In the Series 90 full Marshall type springs with Foamtex pads are used in the front seat with an additional white wool pad between the Foamtex and the upholstery. The rear seat cushion in this series is all Foamtex with a white wool pad between the Foamtex and the upholstery."


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Maybe a little OT but my last Mercedes, an 84 300D, still had horse hair padding in the seats. After many years, they ended up smelling bad and nothing could get the stench out. The interior had that typical old VW smell to it.

OTH, the 68 Cadillac I had, the foam was turning to yellow dust by the time it was nearly 20 years old. I was vacuuming yellow dust from the rugs on a very frequent basis.

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I just had my '18 Buick upholtery redone last year. Mine is a tired used car. It had never been "out of service" and was already uswed as an "antique" in the 1950's. It hyad always been indoors, so the body is in perfect shape. The seats were really ready to be replaced.

Surprisingly, when we removed the old upholstery, we found that the original horsehair was in perfect shape, so we left it there, hopefully for another near 100 years.post-38164-143142003907_thumb.jpg

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