Used Gas Cylinders

Years ago I bought a little 20cf argon bottle at a swap meet for use with my MIG welder and though I got some odd looks when I brought it to a gas supply place to get filled I've been using it ever since with no problems, having gotten it filled at a number of welding and gas supply places. Now I'd like to get a bigger bottle and I've seen some at swap meets/garage sales but I want to make sure what I'm getting is on the up and up. Most of the bottles I see have some sort of company name marked on them in one place or another (either stamped into the tank or on the gas label), does this necessarily mean the tank was stolen/not returned to a gas supply house? Will I have trouble getting these tanks filled? I assume gas supply houses keep pretty good track of their bottles so I find it hard to believe that all of these are stolen. Any suggestions or advise?


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I'm in the seattle area. I spoke to my gas supplier about "owner bottles" and 'lease bottles" They told me how to identify one from the other and they have certain sizes that are always owner bottles and other sizes that are always leased or rented bottles. Using that info I was able to buy bottles with a pretty good assurance they were not stolen. I asked for, and recieved, a written sales reciept with from the person who sold me the bottles along with his driver's license number. ERS

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Eric R Snow

Reply to
Roy J

Exactly. I bought my small oxgen and acetylene bottles in Ontario. When I went to swap them for full ones after moving to BC, the man looked them over very carefully and explained that he wouldn't exchange them if they bore the name or mark of an outfit he didn't deal with. They had no markings at all so he was happy and exchanged them for the cost of the gas.

Reply to
John Ings

A number of years ago I spotted an empty oxygen cylinder at the city dump. I checked with my welding supply house, and they told me to go ahead and buy it, and they would fill it for me. I had no trouble with refills until the dealership changed hands, and then they told me the cylinder was considered a "stray," and they confiscated it. I had to spring about $100 to get a full cylinder with paperwork, so I could go on with my project.

Reply to
Leo Lichtman

You could be buying trouble, depends on what your local suppliers are doing. Some have a long-term lease, the bottle is still theirs. Some sell you a bottle and a place in their bottle pool, you own a bottle but exchange it every time. Some do a short-term lease and you pay demurrage every time you get it filled, the bottle is still theirs. One local outfit doesn't really care, they'll fill your bottle and return it to you, takes about a week, they have to truck it out of town to the depot. If you buy one of their bottles out of the pool, it's a straight swap over. One other local outfit has all of their bottles barcoded, you can only lease from them, they won't accept outsider bottles. So if you'd happen across the first outfit's bottles, chances are you could do a swap for a filled one or get that one filled with no problems. If you saw one of the other outfit's bottles, you'd know it was leased because they never sell. And if you "bought" that bottle, you'd be out your money when you took it back to them to get filled, you'll never really own it. So it pays to find out what the local gas suppliers have for bottle sales/leasing before you start putting out the cash.


Reply to
Stan Schaefer

I have to admit that back in the early '80s when I bought my first set of owner oxy/acetylene tanks, I didn't like the cut of the seller's jib. So I took my little 4½" angle grinder, put its sanding disc on, and sanded off the raised lettering on the neck ring, then I repainted the tank. No problems then or ever since. I don't know that what I did was even immoral let alone illegal, but then I didn't want to know either, so I don't feel real good about it today, but you can do whatever you feel comfortable with.

Grant Erw> Years ago I bought a little 20cf argon bottle at a swap meet for use

Reply to
Grant Erwin

In my case, I had odd sized tanks that I wanted to trade-in to the dealer to get their bigger standard size - I had to give copies of the invoices to my supplier who then filed them with my account before he was allowed to do the trade by his company's policy.

I'll second the motion - It definitely pays to ask first!!! My new tanks have the supplier's name cast on the top but I do own them. Thus, it's real hard to tell.


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I live in SoCal and have asked both our local dealers that same question. There are no leased bottles except the giant economy size. I have bought and sold lots of bottles with no problems whatsoever. I just stay with the smaller owned sizes. Leigh@MarMachine

Reply to
Leigh Knudson

Well it seems like the standard is: If the bottle is 80 cubic foot or less its considered a consumer or user owned cylinder, UNLESS the collar is either marked with raised or indented name of company. Years back lots of companies had 80 cubic foot cylinders in their lease plans. AIRCO was one of them., Our local AIRCO is no more, and had sold all its 80 cubic foot cylinders to another outfit which in turn sold them to consumers for their own personal cylinders. These cylinders were originally stamped with AIRCO and Capitol Welding Supply on the neck collars, but that company is now defunct so in this case that name means nothing anymore.

I have 3 of the 80cf cylinders and I can swap them anywhere I am at. I may own these cylinders, but each time I swap them I get another bottle in return. The labels on the bottle (stick on lables) mean nothing, as it just identifies who the last company was that handled and serviced the cylinders was, and what the cylinder contents are.

If its taken to another dealer, it will have this label removed and theirs put on.

So if you restrict your cylinder buying to a 80 cf or less you should be plenty safe as far as owner ship is concerned.

Larger cylinders can be tricky. SOme were sold, lots were stolen and lots were leased and never returned. So don;t be surprised if by chance you get a large cylinder and go to have it filled and the company asks for proof you own it or just takes it on you.

A lot of companies color code their cylinders as well, which really means nothing. If your buying a cylinder make sure its in compliance with hydrostatic test dates or your gonna have to pay for a hydro before it can be filled. O2 cylinders can be converted to Argon and Argon MIx by swapping the valves out, which a serving dealer can do for abaout $25 or 30 including the valve.

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... the man looked them over very carefully and explained that he wouldn't exchange them if they bore the name or mark of an outfit he didn't deal with. They had no markings at all so he was happy and exchanged them for the cost of the gas.

"Sold" cylinders have no markings stamped around the neck area which indicates ownership, just the manufacturer's name and the test data.

"Owned" cylinders" have a ring around the neck with the owner's name in raised letters, *or* the owner's name stamped into the neck area, adjacent to the manufacturer data (usually on the same line, too).

Some dealers will fill an "owned" cylinder if: 1) the cylinder was military surplus, or 2) the owner is known to have gone bankrupt. Some will not.

Don't fall for the ruse of the dealer letting you put your "sold" cylinder into his group of "owned" cylinders. He's just trying to get your cylinder for free, plus locking you into using his services.

Reply to
Peter H.

My rotated pool Owned cyliders are marked Linde on the O2 and LiquidAir on the ax. This time. Last full swap they were reversed,

Its pretty regional I suspect cause Ive been swapping bottles for over

20 yrs, with 4 different dealers in 3 different towns with no problems.

Oil country.


The two highest achievements of the human mind are the twin concepts of "loyalty" and "duty." Whenever these twin concepts fall into disrepute -- get out of there fast! You may possibly save yourself, but it is too late to save that society. It is doomed. " Lazarus Long

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I think you are right. I have never had a problem exchanging my owned cylinders at any gas distributor but when Holox first moved into town they would only exchange their own cylinders unless you showed a bill of sale. That lasted about two months because they saw how many potential customers would not put up with the policy.

Reply to
Glenn Ashmore

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