Lodge (company)

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Lodge Manufacturing Company
Type Private
Industry Cookware
Founded 1896
Founders Joseph Lodge
Headquarters South Pittsburg, TN, USA
Website www.lodgemfg.com

Lodge Manufacturing is a manufacturer of cast iron cookware based in South Pittsburg, Tennessee. Founded in 1896 by Joseph Lodge, Lodge Manufacturing is one of America's oldest cookware companies in continuous operation. It is still owned and managed by the descendants of the Lodge family. Most cast iron sold by Lodge is produced in its foundry in South Pittsburg, which has been in operation since the company was founded. Lodge Manufacturing is the only remaining manufacturer of cast iron cookware in the United States.

History[edit]

Founded in 1896 by Joseph Lodge, Lodge Manufacturing is one of America's oldest cookware companies in continuous operation. Joseph Lodge and his wife settled in South Pittsburg, Tennessee, a town of 3,000 people along the Tennessee River beside the Cumberland Plateau. In 1896 Lodge opened his first foundry. Originally named The Blacklock Foundry after Joseph Lodge’s friend and minister, the company gained success until May 1910 when it burned down. Just three months later and a few blocks south, the company was reborn as Lodge Manufacturing Company.

During the 1930s, while much of the US economy was suffering the effects of the Great Depression, the Lodge family found ways to keep employees above water. Novelty items such as cast iron garden gnomes and animals were produced and sold to keep the furnaces burning and the paychecks issued. As the economy bounced back, Lodge responded to growing 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.[1]

Lodge underwent another major foundry update in 1992, replacing their coal-fired cupola furnaces with an electro-magnetic induction melting system. This switch earned them a Tennessee Governor’s Award for Excellence in Hazardous Waste Reduction. In 1994, as Lodge transitioned to a new type of molding process, they ended up making quite a few pieces that didn't meet their strict first-quality standards. Considering that these pieces were perfectly fine for use, and only had cosmetic defects, Lodge purchased a nearby building and set up their first factory store, where they could sell their "seconds," alongside their first-quality cast iron cookware items. Lodge now operates three factory stores in Tennessee, located in South Pittsburg, Sevierville, Pigeon Forge, and one store in Commerce, Georgia. The stores sell factory seconds as well as everything in the Lodge brand and hundreds of kitchen and camp accessories.[2]

In 2002, the Lodge introduced their Logic line of pre-seasoned cookware, eliminating the hassle of its unseasoned counterparts. It was an industry first that has since become an industry standard. Today, all of Lodge's cast iron cookware comes pre-seasoned.

With the proliferation of television cooking shows and a rise in consumer demand, Lodge broadened its variety of cookware by importing vibrant Porcelain Enameled Cast Iron from China. In 2011, Lodge launched the Lodge Seasoned Steel line, which features carbon steel skillets that are American-made and seasoned at the Lodge foundry. That same year, Lodge accepted the ENERGY STAR® challenge to reduce energy consumption by 10% over a 5 year period, a goal that they surpassed in only one year.[3]

In 2014, Lodge broke ground on a $40 million expansion of their foundry in South Pittsburg, Tennessee.

Products[edit]

Lodge Manufacturing produces a range of cast iron cookware and bakeware, including skillets, griddles, and dutch ovens. In 2002, Lodge developed a method to produce pre-seasoned cast iron cookware, which now accounts for the majority of its sales. Shortly after that, Lodge introduced a line of enamel-coated cast iron cookware that is made in China. In 2011, Lodge introduced its Seasoned Steel line of cookware, which features carbon steel skillets that are American-made and seasoned at the Lodge foundry.

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