Dating cast iron cookware

Towards the end of the 19th century, three iconic American cast iron cookware brands were founded, cementing the pan's popularity acrosss the country.

Founded in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1865, the Griswold Manufacturing company was, for almost a century, the leading American manufacturer of cast iron cookware.

She makes a mean peach pie and likes her bourbon neat.

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Englishman Abraham Darby is credited with revolutionizing cast iron cookware; in 1707, he patented a method for casting iron into relatively thin pots and kettles, a process that made them cheaper to produce.

With three feet on the base and a heavy, handled lid, these early pots were used for cooking over live fire and were most akin to the types of Dutch ovens used today for outdoor cooking.

Still located South Pittsburg, Tennessee, Lodge is one of the oldest continuously running cookware manufacturers in the country.

It was founded in 1896 by Joseph Lodge and is still run by family members today.

Linda and I traveled to visit John and view his cast iron collection in September, 2018.

John is a painter by trade and cast-iron collector by choice.

Pre-seasoned skillets allowed home cooks the ability to get cooking in cast iron without much thought, but they couldn't replace a long-coveted heirloom.

These pans, while still great pieces of cookware, simply function differently than, say, an old, well-loved Griswold.

While it was founded in Sidney, Ohio in 1891 as a cast iron cookware company, and is best known for its quality cast iron, Wagner Manufacturing quickly moved into more diversified stock.

It was one of the first companies to manufacture aluminum cookware and, by the early 20th century, was distributing its wares globally.

As was the practice in 19th and early- to mid-20th century cast iron cookware manufacturing, all of Griswold and Wagner's cast iron skillets were polished smooth after casting; this extra step made it easier for the skillets to acquire a smooth, nonstick surface after seasoning.

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