Someone was offering me gas tanks (argon, oxygen, acetylene) with
company name on the collar. If I buy them, will I be able to exchange
them for refill? Or are they subject to confiscation on the spot? Any
I don't think I will exactly answer your question.
Around here basically when the tank is big enough to have a name on it the
welding supply shop (and they keep merging so there keep being less of them
name wise) will insist you have a lease to do business. Maybe the 55 or 80
scfm might be the exception. I got a Merriam graves tank in exchange from
Airco so the companies don't seem to honor that themselves. Now the two are
merged but that was a few years prior. I think Airco was pretty sloppy about
others tanks back 10 years or more ago as well but not absolutely sure it
that was airco or something they also merged with. Chances are the guy
selling them (the tanks in question) doesn't really shall we say have clear
title. The high pressure cylinders need be pressure tested every five years
or so and they stamp them. If you can find a place which will pressure test
the tank and screw in the knob and cga fitting you like and honor it as
yours and re fill it instead of exchange it. Not too likely to find but
there is one place basically in the fire extinguisher business around here
which will do that.
Another thing which you can do which is what I do as I have acquired a few
tanks over the years is fill it from one you lease. If you can obtain a
flexible hose used to go from tank to manifold which will also go from tank
to tank or as a last resort you can take two regulators and screw input
into the high pressure gauge opening and transfer that way. You will never
get up to full pressure that way. It is kind of strange the way the
temperatures of the tanks changes. I do have the flexible hose for the
oxygen so I lease a 336 and have a 220 and 80 I try and fill up as full as
possible when the 336 is new then use it so long as it is where I am until
it is empty.
If you already have a lease and exchange tanks regularly or sort of
regularly just ask and look around and see how many off brand names are on
the collars. before you ask you might check the last date stamped into the
tank and evaluate your ethics about stolen property.
No way to tell without calling the supplier in question. They will be
able to tell you if they sold the tanks to a legit buyer, pure rental
which means they confiscate the tanks, want to charge you a transfer
fee, or a host of other weird business practices. I am continually
amazed at how weird the deals are and how they work to screw the customer.
At the very least, you will need a bill of sale from the seller.
I will call them on Monday to find out. The tanks are old, the last
dates stamped on them are 94 and 97. Maybe I can use them for legit
gas purchasing if they transfer the lease to me.
Do they usually keep serial numbers?
I do not have a Bill of Sale, but I can probably get it.
The gas companies do not usually keep serial numbers. The tanks need to
be recertified every 10(??) years so those tanks are up for the recert.
Who pays for that is an open question, depends on ownership vs lease vs
rental. Recert should run $10 to $20, transfer (if offered) should run
about the same.
The smaller tanks tend to be sold outright, the huge ones are virtually
always leased/rental. Midrange can be anything.
If the supplier has a decent owned tanks program, you can take in a bill
of sale, transfer the tanks to yourself, pay the recert fee, then swap
tanks whenever you need a fill.
I was on a indefinite lease program: pay a deposit, swap tanks when
empty, get deposit back when I didn't need the tanks any more. It was
great until the company got bought out and the new owners wanted to
change to a 5 year lease paid up front. My new supplier wants to sell
tanks, will transfer tank ownership for $10 or so.
The rules as I know them.
If the tank head stamp ring...
...has a welding supplier's name on it, it is a rental tank, and cannot
be sold legally.
If you present it to be refilled it will usually be seized by the
welding gas supplier to be returned to the original owner.
...has been left blank,
...has a military branch designation (US Army, Air Force, Navy...),
...a university or school (Purdue Univ., South Seattle Comm. Coll.
Univ. of Washington...)or
...a private company ( Boeing, Caterpillar, Joe's Weld Shop...)
it is an ownership tank and can be bought and sold freely.
I recently took an oxy tank to the local welding shop to be refilled,
with some trepidation because it had "XYZ welding supply" stamped on the
The folks there said "oh, that was last filled here -- 20 years ago".
Then they exchanged it for another tank, and charged mo no rent (but did
charge me $10 for a hydrostatic pressure test plus $25 for the gas).
So unless the parent company of the shop named on the collar (with an
address 15 miles away) was one that merged into the shop where I took it
(which was there twenty years and at least two name changes ago), that's
not the case.
What happens when you inquire at your local welding supplier?
As for what Tim said, I think that my plan is to call the company
whose name is on the rings and ask about continuing to use them for my
I would say, hey, I bought these tanks from a retired guy, they have
your name on it, can I just continue to fill them at your place (that
is, can they transfer the lease to me) etc. They are actually not too
far from where I work. Doubtfully they would want to turn business
The tanks include * 397 CF Acetylene tank
* 140 CF Acetylene tank
* 240(?) CF Oxygen tank
* 240(?) CF inert gas tank
I called the seller today and he can sign a bill of sale with no
problem, or so he said.
Steve, I figure, in this economic environment they would probably not
want to lose business. So if I ask them and offer to switch my account
to them, I think that it would be a win win for all involved if I can
use these tanks and they can make money selling gases to me.
I will call them first thing tomorrow.
Yes, I would be doing it in the name of my corporation, with my
address and all.
Anyway, I am also worried that maybe they will promise me to renew my
lease, but when I bring the tanks, they will just confiscate them
from me? Is that too paranoid?
Yes, no, definitely, and maybe. It really depends on the dealer, and the
name on the collar stamp. I got an old one recently, and the company was an
old one. They had gone out of business. They checked with the company that
bought the old company, and they told me that they wanted me to turn it in,
and that I would get nothing. Well, I turned it in at the scrap yard, and I
got a pretty good deal there. I have had other situations where I was
dealing with a company, and they just swapped them out. Like I say, it
depends on your company, the company that stamped it, and how anal the
counter guy wants to get. Most time, they want to keep your business.
BTW, the dealer who wouldn't do it lost my business, and I told them. I
used to have an account with them, but now just deal with another.
Good luck. The company I was dealing with was the one I had just bought
nearly $2,000 worth of steel for my awning. I can understand if some guy
pulls up in a truck and brings in some tanks. But they got your address,
and you've been doing business there. It's not like they're stolen goods.
Have you asked the seller if he will go to the gas supplier with you?
I have had a few offers for bikes, cars etc that felt shady, asking them to
meet me at the DMV, next door to the CHP sorts it out quick.
I spoke to the gas company today as well as the seller. The seller
does not mind giving me the bill of sale. The gas company guy, when he
heard of details, the company name etc, said "Oh, it was probably just
a cash account, bring the tanks and I will fill them for you".
So, I think, I will stop by there tomorrow for a refill of at least
For fifty years, I've heard about tanks being seized. Where does a gas
supplier get the authority to seize anything and what happens if you
tell him to take a hike?
I've owned two set of tanks for over 40 years and never had a problem
except for the time one supplier went out business.