This story was sent to us on Facebook from a loyal Forney fan:
Let me introduce myself. My name is Lyle. I was born in the 50’s and grew up in the 60’s. I lived with my parents, two older sisters and later on a younger brother and sister, on a farm in Central Illinois.
As far back as I can remember there was this Red Box. Dad kept it in the garage. When we moved to the house just down the road, Dad moved this Red Box to the garage at the new house. Later on, that garage was torn down and a new machine shed was built to store Dad’s farm equipment. Finally a second machine shed was built and this Red Box had a prominent position in each of these buildings.
This Red Box was Dad’s welder. With it, Dad could literally do miracles. If any of the farm equipment broke, Dad seemed to be able to fix it with his welder. Nothing seemed to be too difficult for Dad and his welder. He even fixed our rusty old swing set by adding a couple of support braces on each side of it.
At a very early age I learned that I could never watch Dad use his welder. Before he ever started using it he made sure that none of us kids were around. We had to either hide or turn away from where he was working whenever we saw him put on his welding helmet. He explained why we couldn’t be around, and I for one, was not willing to go blind just to see what Dad was doing.
Now granted my memory may be fuzzy on this, but I don’t remember any of our neighbors having a welder. That fact made this Red Box that much more special. It wasn’t unusual for one of the neighbors to come over and have Dad do a little bit of welding for them. I can’t say that I remember seeing any of them paying Dad for the work he did for them. It’s just the way things were done back then. It seemed that one of these guys would always be around when Dad needed an extra hand for a project he might be working on, so everything seemed to even out in the end.
When I became a teenager Dad started working at a local company doing welding for them in the winter. Farming wasn’t too profitable back then and with less than 500 acres to farm, Dad needed to find a way to make just a little bit more money to help cover the costs of our growing family. I never really understood, at the time, why Dad was working at night while I was sleeping, but I did know that he was welding. Whether or not he was using a Red Box at his job, I didn’t know, I just knew that he was using the skills that he developed using his own Red Box all those years before.
After many years of farming, Mom and Dad decided that it was finally time to retire. On January 7, 1994, one day after my Dad’s 68th Birthday, they brought in an auctioneer and proceeded to sell off a lifetime of possessions used to provide for their family. It didn’t matter what it was, everything had to go. No use holding on to something for sentimental reasons, this would be the best time to make as much money as they could for their Golden Years.
The day was exciting. There was anticipation in the air about how much each piece of equipment would raise. But then I saw it, the auctioneer was standing beside Dad’s Red Box. A few words from the auctioneer, a few hand motions in the crowd, then once . . . . . twice. . . . . the Red Box belonged to someone else.
A while later, on one of my visits back home, Dad asked if I could help him with something out on the farm. When I opened the door to the machine shed I was shocked to see a Red Box sitting just inside the opened door. I mentioned that I thought that he had sold his welder at the sale and was surprised to see it still there. He replied that the one thing that he regretted most was selling his welder that day. Some time later, he saw that someone had a Forney Welder for sale and he couldn’t pass on the opportunity, so he bought it.
I honestly can’t say if Dad ever used that welder, but there was something comforting about seeing it whenever I would go out to the machine shed. Looking back, Dad never offered to teach me how to weld. It was never brought up and to be honest with you, I probably would not have been a willing student. But now, I kind of wished that he had made the effort.
Dad passed away in August of 2012. During one of our discussions sessions on “who wanted what” I stated that I wanted Dad’s welder. I said that I didn’t know what I would do with it, I would probably just leave it in the machine shed as long as I could. That is where it belongs. I had lost that Red Box once and I didn’t intend to lose it again.
I never knew where Dad got his Red Box, like I said it was always around, but when I learned to read I finally realized how special it was. Whoever made it for my Dad made it especially for him. There couldn’t be another one like it in the whole world, I was certain of that fact. How could I be so certain? It was easy, because right there on the front of his Red Box, was my Dad’s name.
My Dad’s name is Lowell . . . . and I am his son . . . . Lyle Forney.
Thanks for submitting this great story, Lyle! Forney Industries is proud to have been a part of many farm & ranch families since 1932. While our branding and colors may have changed over the years, our mission has stayed the same: to help you get the job done right.
For more on Forney’s history, check out this blog!
The welder in the image appears to be the same model my Dad had in our farm shop as I was growing up. I did learn to weld on it, and spent many hours making different farm repairs or an occasional project of my own. Dad just passed on Thanksgiving evening 2022, and the welder is in his shed, still working as far as I know. It’ll probably get sold or maybe even scrapped, now. I’ll miss the old thing!
Oh wow, thank you for sharing! We love hearing stories of old Forney welders and family memories. If you ever want to look into refurbishing this awesome unit we have tons of materials on our heritage machines. Here’s a link: https://www.forneyind.com/support/product-materials
I’ve got my dads c b welder, he would spend hours every winter re-building His D6 Caterpillars . My brother and I would stand on the welder
My dad had a Forney welder too and it also had it’s own space in our building when I was a teenager I started to learn welding with it. It lasted into the 80s when it finally quit working after doing many many repairs it payed for itself over and over