December 11, 2013
My grandfather and even my dad used to talk about the importance of the right seat cushion for horse-drawn implements. The favourite for hot weather use (pressed tin or cast iron seats) was a loon skin. Apparently loon plumage prevented scalding. I don’t remember what the prescribed insulation for winter piles-prevention was, though it was strictly forbidden to sit on anything hard and cold. For example you’ll never see a Leeds County rural resident sit down on the ground until at least June.
Now that I think of it, the wealthy had buffalo robes and raccoon coats, and the embroidered wool seat upholstery on buggies and cutters had more wool underneath as padding.
As a student I used my grandfather’s raccoon coat for winter attire. I remember a couple of bike rides across Kingston shielded by the full-length coat. Wonderful wind protection. On one occasion I got out onto Lake Ontario on glare ice and rode to Wolfe Island, then turned right and fetched up in Amherstview, where I asked my uncle for a ride back to Morris Hall. Tailwind. It was kinda hairy riding across Collins Bay, but I was young and immortal.
Other ramblings about cold weather seat cushions (perhaps our most basic technology) are welcome.