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Lodge History

A Look Back at 125 Years

By: Lodge Cast Iron / March 19, 2021

Did you know Lodge Cast Iron is the only cast iron cookware foundry from its era still operating in the United States? The company began with a grit and resourcefulness that can be spotted all throughout its storied history. After 125 years in business, Lodge looks ahead to the next 125. But not without first taking a look back at the growth, trials, and triumphs experienced throughout the years.

expansion

Built with mettle. Focused on family. Filled with lifelong resilience. Lodge Cast Iron has a lot in common with the popular cookware it manufactures. From humble beginnings in South Pittsburg, Tennessee, Lodge Cast Iron has thrived through impossible circumstances all while maintaining its reputation for quality products and innovation. 

1877: Joseph Lodge moves to South Pittsburg

In 1877, Joseph Lodge and his wife, Anna, made their home in South Pittsburg, Tennessee, and forever altered the course of this small, southern community.

1896: Blacklock Foundry opens

In 1896, Joseph Lodge started the Blacklock Foundry. The company focused on manufacturing a wide range of cast iron products, including cast iron cookware.

1910: Blacklock foundry burns and is reborn as Lodge Cast Iron

Blacklock experienced success until May 1910 when a fire sparked and destroyed the foundry. But Joseph Lodge and his family didn’t give up. Just three months after the fire, the company was reborn down the road as the company we know today: Lodge Cast Iron.

Lodge 1930
1939: Lodge survives the Great Depression

During the hard times of the 1930s, the Lodge family found ways to keep doors open. Novelty items, such as cast iron garden gnomes and animals were produced and sold to keep workers employed

1950: Automated molding process installed

As the economy bounced back, Lodge responded to growing business demand, and in 1950 converted its foundry from a hand-pour operation to an automated molding process. This led to safer and more efficient manufacturing that, at the time, was very rare.

Lodge 1950
1970s: Upgrading the foundry

During tough economic times in the 1970s, William Leslie Kellermann, Joseph Lodge's grandson, drafted a plan to reconstruct the foundry. This multi-year project enabled Lodge to bring employees back to full, 5-day workweeks.

1973 Lodge
1973: Iconic logo created

Created in 1973, the simple black skillet frying a single egg was destined to become an iconic symbol of American-made cast iron cookware. The official brand logo has been updated over the years, but the same skillet icon is still in use today.

1992: Awarded the Tennessee Governor's Award for Excellence in Hazardous Waste Reduction

Continuing a dedication to technology and conservation, Lodge once again updated its foundry in 1992. The replacement of the coal-fire cupola furnaces with an electro-magnetic induction melting system earned a Tennessee Governor's Award for Excellence in Hazardous Waste Reduction.

2002: First to season cast iron in the foundry

Well into its second century of business, Lodge continued to innovate. President and CEO, Bob Kellermann, led the initiative to season each piece of cast iron cookware in the foundry. In 2002, the process was finalized, and Lodge debuted seasoned cast iron. It was an industry first that has since become the industry standard.

2005: Lodge entered the enamel market

As Lodge continued to develop the core line of seasoned cast iron, they began to introduce complementary lines of cookware, such as their diverse and colorful line of porcelain enameled cast iron in 2005. This line has earned rave reviews from media and consumers since its inception, offering the performance of European brands at a much more affordable value.

2013: Lodge introduced seasoned carbon steel cookware

Introduced in 2013, the Lodge Seasoned Carbon Steel line features an assortment of skillets that are American-made and seasoned at the Lodge foundry. Appealing to both professional chefs and outdoorsmen, these tough pans are the perfect tool for culinary aspirations.

The American Flag Hanging in the Lodge Cast Iron Foundry
2017: Second foundry opened

Toward the end of 2017, operations began in a newly built, 127,000 square foot foundry, nicknamed the 3rd Street Foundry. This foundry increased Lodge's manufacturing capacity by 75%.

The legacy continues

125 years after Joseph Lodge made his home in South Pittsburg, Tennessee, Lodge Cast Iron continues to share his legacy with the world — one skillet at a time.

Pork chop pan

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