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|Owner||Paul Van Zuydam|
Le Creuset (French pronunciation: [lə kʁøze], meaning "the crucible") is a premium French cookware manufacturer best known for its colorfully-enameled cast-iron cookware "French ovens", also known as "cocottes or coquelles" and "sauce pans" or "casseroles" (in French). The company also makes many other types of cookware and bakeware, from fondue-sets to tagines.
Le Creuset was founded in the French town of Fresnoy-le-Grand, Aisne, Picardy, a strategic location at the crossroads of transportation routes for iron, coke, and sand. Armand Desaegher (a Belgian casting specialist) and Octave Aubecq (a Belgian enameling specialist) opened their foundry in 1925. That same year, the first cocotte (or French oven) was produced, laying the foundation for what is now an extensive range of cookware and kitchen utensils.
The Le Creuset signature color, Flame (orange), was born in this first piece. With their new ability to pigment the enamel glaze, Desaegher and Aubecq modeled their first color after the intense orange hue of molten cast iron inside a crucible ("creuset" in French).
During World War II, Le Creuset began to focus on continually improving their cast iron. In 1957, Le Creuset purchased a competitor, Les Hauts Fourneaux de Cousances, and began producing items such as a grill model and a fondue set.
In the 1950s famous designer Raymond Loewy introduced a futuristic type of cookware. In the 70's Enzo Mari designed his distinctive Dutch ovens and sauce pans with domed lid and typical handles. In the 1980 JC Barrault's "Futura" line was launched.
In 1995, Le Creuset began exploring new product categories: stainless steel, stoneware, silicone, enamel on steel, textiles and forged hard-anodized aluminum.
The current Le Creuset logo was introduced in 1970 and was designed to be a symbolic representation of metal casting and molding. The company was purchased by current owner Paul Van Zuydam in 1987.
Le Creuset offers a variety of colors, from bright (e.g. cherry, a gradated red) to muted (e.g. dune, a gradated off-white). Its discontinued colors include cobalt (gradated blue-violet), black onyx (solid black), kiwi (gradated light green), as well as slate, granite, cactus, and citron.
To manufacture their cast-iron cookware, the Le Creuset foundry uses standard sand casting methods. After hand finishing, items are sprayed with at least two coats of enamel. The enamel becomes resistant to damage during normal use. Currently, all Le Creuset cast iron cookware is still manufactured in the company's foundry in Fresnoy-le-Grand, where workers employ a 12 step finishing process implemented by 15 different pairs of hands to ensure that there are no flaws or imperfections in the final product.
However, Le Creuset products that are not cast-iron may be made in other countries, such as China (accessories or silicone products), Thailand (kettles and ceramics), England (enamel cleaner), Portugal (stainless steel).and Swaziland (clay pots).
Le Creuset cookware is warranted by Le Creuset to be free from defects in material and workmanship at the time of its purchase. For this Lifetime Limited Warranty to apply, you must follow the care and use instructions provided with the utensil. This warranty covers normal household use only.
- Guardian, David Levene for the (7 September 2015). "Le Creuset celebrates 90 years - in pictures". the Guardian. Retrieved 22 May 2016.
- "True Colors". Cookware.lecreuset.com. Retrieved 2014-04-18.
- "Kitchen Classic Conundrum: What Color Is Your Le Creuset?". Epicurious.com. Retrieved 2014-04-18.
- "Where can I find discontinued colors of Le Creuset? - Cookware - Chowhound". Chowhound.chow.com. 2010-11-26. Retrieved 2014-04-18.