Harold R. Henry is an 83-year-old gentleman farmer and retired cattle auctioneer from Hamilton, Missouri. He began collecting vintage and antique cast iron cookware some 50 years ago, with an emphasis on pieces made by the Lodge Manufacturing Company.
Harold’s love for cast iron is part of his heritage; his mother and grandmother always cooked with cast iron. What does Harold cook with? Lodge cast iron, of course. His favorite pans to cook in are two Lodge number 10 cast iron skillets; one from the 1930s and the other from the 1960s. Lodge interviewed Harold about his love of Lodge iron; you can see the video here.
Harold has thousands of pieces of old cast iron cookware spread in and around his home. He has iron displayed in his living room, kitchen, parlor, hallway, and guest bedroom. His basement is filled to the brim with iron, and his collection spills out into the garage, barns and outbuildings on his 1300-acre property. You can see a tiny selection of Harold’s Lodge collection at the end of this post.
Harold’s favorite brand of cast iron cookware both to use and to collect is that made by Lodge. Harold believes that Lodge makes the finest of modern-day cast iron, and he snaps up every piece of Lodge cast iron that he can find. When Lodge comes out with a new product or commemorative piece, Harold is on the hunt. When there is an auction with vintage Lodge cast iron cookware, Harold is there. And of course, Harold was at the first “collector’s tent” sponsored by Lodge during the 2017 annual Cornbread Festival. You can’t really miss him; he’s the tall drink of water in a cowboy hat seated right up front.
Harold believes that every piece of iron is a unique piece of art. “Finely crafted and like no other. Every piece is a piece to use, but it is art.” Harold respects, is intrigued by, and admires the crafting of each piece of cast iron that he owns.He appreciates the Lodge craftsmanship and “survival instinct” – having been in business since 1896 when so many other foundries have closed their doors. Harold is also impressed that generations of Lodge family members work and have worked for the company; he figures Lodge must be doing something right!
If you’re ever in Hamilton, Missouri, look up Harold. He’s always glad to show off his collection!
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