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?
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
Good advice from Eric. Check with your local suppliers. Gas
bottles and their suppliers are VERY different in how they treat
lease, rent, purchase, swaps, recertifcation, etc etc. Until you
ask at the specific dealer you intend to deal with, you will have
no idea of what is going on or any assurances you can get the
Eric R Snow wrote:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
"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.
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.
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
save yourself, but it is too late to save that society. It is doomed. " Lazarus
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.