By Vicki Matranga, Design Programs Coordinator
Cookware that outlasts the kitchen
In an industry that’s all about “What’s New?”, how can a housewares company continue to thrive by selling products that last for 100 years? Just ask Lodge Manufacturing Company, a family-owned and operated business based in South Pittsburg, Tennessee since 1896 and the sole U.S. manufacturer of cast iron cookware. Lodge’s durable Dutch ovens, skillets and griddles are often used for generations. From stove to oven, barbeque or campfire to table, this cast iron cookware will outlast any kitchen.
Lodge introduced innovative foundry-seasoned cast iron in 2002. Adding stainless riveted handles in 2007 earned its products industry awards. In recent years, colorful enameled products and specialty shapes enabled the cookware to be used from breakfast to dessert in any season.
In tough times, Lodge creatively faced challenges. During the 1930s Depression, Lodge began casting dogs, cats and gnomes for use as doorstops and lawn and garden ornaments. Now collectibles, watch for these at summer garage sales!
Not only does Lodge keep its assortment fresh with products that respond to the latest food trends, the company is a model for its sustainable practices.
For consumers looking for eco-responsible products, cookware that does not need to be replaced stands at the top of green choices. Less obvious to consumers are the company’s sustainable production systems and environmental Improvements.
Foundries traditionally recycle materials and imperfect products to make new ones, but Lodge takes that to the next step by working with the state of Tennessee to draft hazardous waste policies and donates its foundry sand for reuse. It recycles many tons of cardboard and uses minimal packaging for its products. In 2008, Lodge engineers designed a vegetable oil recycler for its foundry seasoning process. Clean oil is reused in the seasoning system and can also be used as biodiesel generator. In the first year, this saved 1,170 gallons of vegetable oil from disposal and reduced purchases of new oil.
At its headquarters, Lodge constructed three storm water settling ponds, improving water quality above requirements in local lakes and streams. Water lilies, cattails and fish have been introduced and are thriving. More than 100 trees were planted to improve air quality and beautify the environment. A zero-emission electric vehicle with a 1,600-pound capacity flatbed delivers items around the foundry and office campus.
With more than a century of experience, Lodge has shown that Grandma’s wisdom matches celebrity chefs’ endorsement. Innovation and quality don’t go out of style, and some things even improve with age. Visit www.lodgemfg.com to see their latest in timeless equipment. Get out that cast iron skillet and start cooking!