I decided to spend my morning hunting down cast-iron cookware. The older the better. I was specifically looking for a griddle rack, a Dutch oven, and some heirloom-grade old skillets to see if they were really so much better than the ubiquitous modern lodge pans, of which I already had one 10" skillet, one 10" skillet with grill lines, and one 8" skillet.
I went to two Value Villages in a row, and didn’t find anything but some cheap Chinese 8" skillets. I already had one, but at $3... Well. Now I’ve got another that I can dedicate solely for camp duty. Or give it to a friend who seems to be catching the cast-iron bug. It appears to be new, and the interior finish is much smoother than what I’ve come to expect from new Lodge cast-iron products. It easily matches or betters my well-seasoned and heavily-used Lodge pan.
I then moved on to some small thrift stores. No dice.
I had a vauge recollection of asking my grandma if she had any cast iron pans about five years ago, and turning them down when she revealed “old dirty crap”. Oh, the ignorance of youth.
I was nearby, so I figured I’d make her day with a visit, and see if she still had anything worth salvaging.
First up was an 11" Erie Skillet.
The Erie is going to take over as the main skillet that gets used daily at home. Which means the old Lodge will likely switch to full-time camp duty! I’m pumped. The weight difference is real, and I can’t wait to clean up the Erie and get it reseasoned. They really don’t make them like they used to, and the proof is right in front of me.
A quick bit of research tells me this pan is likely from between 1880 and 1910. That’s some crazy history... Oh if cookware could talk. Another quick search shows simmilar Erie pans selling for $300+. Damn.
I’ll be spending some more time online to try narrowing down the dates and looking into the history of the company, but I’ll leave this here if that sort of thing interests you! Share any findings!
TThat’s not even all. I found one more skillet at my grandma’s, from another distinguished USA brand. A Wagner. The specific branding is Wagnar Ware Sidney -O-. That branding (and the particular font/style) places the pan pretty definitively somewhere in the 1930's. Again, some crazy history, and again worth some money.
The Wagner measures in at 11 3/4".
For now I’ll bust out the Wagner when I need the extra cooking surface or I’m cooking a bunch of dishes at the same time.
Next stop was Good Will. The first didn’t have anything, but the second had some serious scores.
First up, a super-tiny pan that at $0.99 I couldn’t resist. Crack an egg and make a perfect egg Mcmuffins. Boom. I’m sold.
Next up was this 5 quart Dutch oven made by Lodge in the USA. I ALMOST didn’t buy it. At $25, it was more than I really wanted to spend for something I didnt’t exactly have a clear use for yet. So it was with some guilt that I brought it up to the register, credit card in hand.
It rung up as $2.99. I was about to say that doesn’t sound right but thought better of it lol. Later when I stopped by the grocery store I found the exact same Dutch oven for sale.
The full-retail price for buying new?
Last but certainly not least is this beauty. Total dimensions are 14" x 24". The drip tray is about 2".
I think it’s cast iron as it’s heavier than a bag of bricks and looks like it, but... I’m not 100%. The surface finish feels a bit different, and while it’s heavy, it’s not quite as heavy as I’d expect a peice of this size to weigh.
For now I’m planning to use this as the main cooking surface for car camping trips. Stick it over a fire and go nuts. Should be absolutely incredible for hibachi, and a game changer for slightly larger groups. Not really sure how I’d use it at home though. Any ideas?
Anyways, that’s my day in a nutshell. Got all this for a grand total of like $25. Another $20 for all the supplies I need to strip seasoning, clean rust and reapply seasoning. *Obama.notbad.gif*
Something tells me I'll be going by the local thrift stores a lot more know that I've discovered vintage cookware. May god have mercy on my wallet.