Griswold Cookware

Collectors and collections, History and Stories

Griswold, Lodge, Wagner, Favorite, Wapak, and More!

Griswold Cookware

Collectors and Collections,
History and Stories

Griswold, Lodge, Wagner, Favorite, Wapak, and More!

John Clough, Vintage Lodge Cast Iron Collector

John Clough collects vintage Lodge cast iron. I mean, he really collects. John was kind enough to show Linda and me his vintage Lodge cast iron collection in September 2018.

John and his spouse KT (Katherine) as well as cats Oreo and Wewe live in a tidy rambler in Chester, Virginia, about 15 miles outside of Richmond.

John is a painter by trade and cast-iron collector by choice. He has been collecting vintage and antique cast iron for only about four or five years (note: this article was written in 2018), but he has a large and significant collection – particularly of Loth and Lodge.


John’s primary interest is vintage Lodge cast iron. He is a student of the iron. He learns everything he can about the business, history, and production. John says, “I want to know everything about what I collect.”

John Clough display of vintage cast iron in his kitchen including griddles and skillets and a vienna bread loaf pan.
John’s kitchen
John Clough kitchen display of antique and vintage cast iron cookware including Wagner and Lodge.
John’s kitchen.
John Clough display of vintage cast iron in his guest bedroom including griddles and skillets and loth lid glass wok
John’s back bedroom.
john clough cast iron collection lodge arc novelty raised hammered heat ring bread stick cooks best grill pan jalapeño popper vienna roll pan golf ball pan lid cover
John’s back bedroom.

How John Became Involved in Vintage Cast Iron

When John moved into his home about 10 years ago, he found two cast iron skillets had been left in the oven. One was a Griswold small logo number 7, and the other was a Birmingham Stove & Range (“BSR”) Century Series number 10.

John researched the history of those two skillets, and it ignited a spark. That spark grew as he watched a particular cast iron cooking show with a friend; he decided to start a collection.

John and I joked about how for some of us, a “spark” of interest becomes a full-blown obsession. For John, that was indeed the case. He told me that this is how he does most things. He doesn’t do things halfway; he moves full speed ahead.  Before he started to purchase iron, he began doing research and learning about the different manufacturers and the iron.

Why Lodge?

John made a deliberate choice to focus on vintage Lodge cast iron when he began collecting. He figured that old Lodge pieces were more readily available than some other manufacturers such as Griswold, and at least back then they were more reasonably priced. John also appreciates that with Lodge, he’ll never be “done.” “I’ll never finish it in my life.”

Lodge is the longest-running American cast-iron foundry – Joseph Lodge founded the company back in 1896 – and they are still in production. John respects that Lodge is and always has been run by family members, who are dedicated to protecting the Lodge name, reputation, and product.

Some of John Clough's vintage and antique cast iron collection including Lodge Mfg. Co. French roll pan no. 28 smoky mountain advertising ashtray skillet with red label Dutch skillet and lid cover cob pan no. 28 oval roaster 4 with trivet hammered no. 2 skillet three legged camp oven chuckwagon Blacklock spider pan and lid.
Cast iron pieces from the collection of John Clough. All identifications/information re the pieces provided by John. L to R: unmarked Lodge French roll pan no. 28, “Smoky Mountain” advertising ashtray, skillet no. 3 with original “red label,” number 7 Dutch skillet and lid, unmarked cob pan no. 29, unmarked double skillet, number 4 oval roaster (with trivet – not pictured), unmarked hammered no. 2 skillet, number 7 three-legged camp/Dutch oven, Blacklock 11 inch spider pan and lid. More pieces from John’s collection are in the gallery at the end of this post.

John the Fact Detective

John is very committed to his hobby. He spends about 5 hours a day on the Internet and studies everything he can find about vintage Lodge cast iron. He examines old pieces, looking for variations and factual explanations for the variations. He questions commonly-held beliefs in his search for provable facts.

John is inquisitive. He doesn’t take things at face value – he researches, investigates, and challenges statements presented as fact before he accepts them as so. John has found through experience that while certain things may be presented as fact, it may not be the case. As he says, “the iron won’t lie to you.”

John once located a sealed box of new old stock Lodge skillets marked with the date of 1984. Given what he had read about Lodge production timeframes, John expected to find inside a set of skillets marked with the Lodge “large logo,” which Lodge began producing in 1974. Instead, he found skillets marked with the prefix “SK” (“skillet”); markings that John had previously believed were phased out in 1974.

Given his research, John has concluded the timeline for the Lodge “SK,” “large logo” and small “drop circle” logos are as follows:

“SK” or another lettering prefix (such as “DO” for Dutch oven) 1965 – 1992.

“Large logo” egg in skillet begins 1974, ends 1992.

“Small logo” “drop circle” egg in the skillet was introduced in 1992.

John Clough collection Lodge cast iron vintage large egg in skillet logo trademark frying pan
Lodge “Large” egg in skillet logo. Collection of John Clough; photo by John Clough.
John Clough collection Lodge cast iron vintage small or drop circle egg in skillet logo trademark chicken fryer pan
Lodge “Small” or “Drop Circle” egg in skillet logo. Collection of John Clough; photo by John Clough.

John has full sets of the no-notch, one-notch, and three-notch heat ring unmarked vintage Lodge cast iron skillets. I asked John about the timeline for those skillets. The standard given timeframes are:

“No notch” 1910 – 1930

“Single notch” 1930 – 1940

“Three notch” 1940 – 1992 with some variations throughout that timeframe.

John Clough collection of vintage and antique Lodge cast iron skillets including no notch one notch and three notch frying pans
Collection of John Clough. From left to right: one-notch unmarked Lodge skillets, three-notch unmarked Lodge skillets, no-notch unmarked Lodge skillets.

John believes that there was an overlap in production between the no-notch and single-notch skillets, and has been studying to either prove or disprove that theory. He enjoys the challenge and likes to take the position of “devil’s advocate” with other cast iron enthusiasts.

For example, to John it doesn’t make sense that Lodge would keep the business afloat during the Great Depression of the 1930s by making novelty items such as gnomes and doorstops, as has been posited.2 John says, “If you can’t afford to put food on the table, why would you buy a doorstop?”

John also holds the opinion that when Cahill Iron Works 3 went out of business in 1922, Lodge either purchased their patterns or hired their pattern makers, as Lodge’s production significantly ramped up after that time.

cahill foundry antique vintage cast iron chicken pan deep frying pan skillet and cover lid 8
Cahill set from the collection of John Clough.

The vintage Lodge cast iron “arc logo” pans are presently believed to have been produced 1910 – 1940, in both single and no-notch variations. John is on the hunt for proof of the timeframe. He believes that arc logo production started later than presently believed.

John Clough collection 4 Lodge arc logo trademark Lodge cast iron cookware skillet pan frying
Vintage Lodge cast iron “arc” logo skillet no. 4. Collection of John Clough. This pan is particularly unusual because it does not have a heat ring. Almost all of the Lodge pans (save the 4-in-1 double skillet and toy pieces) have a heat ring, per John.

John’s hope for a Lodge-Sanctioned Collector’s Club

John would like to see Lodge start up a collector’s club, where others who share the same passion for vintage Lodge cast iron can connect and share information with each other and with the company.4 John appreciates other collectors who are interested in the iron and its history; not just people who want to know, “How much is this worth?”

Where John finds his iron

John is well-connected within the vintage cast iron collecting community. He is always on the hunt for unusual pieces, whether Lodge, Loth, or other.

John finds his iron from a number of different sources. He makes trades and also watches eBay and other online sources. He has “pickers” who keep an eye out for him and notify him when they find pieces he may find of interest.

On a recent occasion when I spoke with John, he showed me photos of a skillet that a picker had found for him. John was excited about the find and quickly told the picker to buy the pan.

John even has a friend who lives in Japan who purchases and ships Lodge products to him from Japan. I had not known that Lodge exported goods to Japan. According to John, there is a large market for Lodge products in Japan, and Lodge exports certain items to Japan that you cannot find and purchase in the United States. It was very interesting to see some of these products that John has acquired!

John Clough Japan Lodge cast iron Peanuts Carp Engine commemorative advertising pan skillets
Collection of John Clough. Three number 3 skillets that Lodge exported to Japan. They are not available in the United States.
John Clough Japan Lodge cast iron cookware silicone pot small toy lid cover
Lodge silicone pot and lid, from Japan.
John Clough Japan Lodge cast iron silicone pot toy small and lid cover
Box for the Lodge silicone pot and lid.
John Clough Japan Lodge cast iron collection skillet recipe book
Two-volume Lodge cookbook, exported to Japan.

John’s advice to new collectors, and where to find him with your questions

John’s advice to new collectors? Listen and learn. Focus on one manufacturer and learn all you can about the pieces. Don’t willy-nilly start buying everything you find. If you need a particular piece, wait for it. John believes in karma – if you are meant to have it, it will come to you.

John is an administrator on two cast-iron-related Facebook groups: BSR, Lodge, and Hammered Cast Iron and Cast Iron Cookware Identification.  He is very generous about sharing his extensive knowledge about vintage Lodge cast iron with others in these groups. It doesn’t matter if you are a seasoned collector or new to the hobby; John will help. John’s willingness to share is illustrated by his response to me when I first contacted him out of the blue. He said, “I am a Lodge collector. How can I help?”

If you have questions about vintage and antique Lodge cast iron cookware, you can reach out to John on one of the Facebook pages above. He’s the one with a cartoon-type character as a profile picture. The character is a longer-haired painter wearing a bandana and wielding a paint roller extension pole as a guitar. John wouldn’t let me take his photo on our visit – he doesn’t want to be that “out there” in public – but I’ll tell you this: he resembles his profile picture. And when I opened a small silicone Lodge container that John has, it was filled with guitar picks.

Selected pieces from the collection of John Clough

Unmarked no. 7 and 8 Lodge cast iron high dome skillet covers Vintage cast iron Cahill Bundt pan Flamekist (by Lodge) vintage cast iron pan Blacklock antique cast iron cover with spider (3 leg) pan 3 Vintage Unmarked Lodge Oval Roasters with trivets: Sizes 4, 7, 9 "Chef's Choice" label on vintage Lodge cast iron skillet Vintage cast iron Form Egg Fryer Pat Pending Chicago Presumed Stuart Peterson kettle and lid; no longer in John's collection Unmarked Lodge High Dome no. 7 Cast Iron Cover with Molder's Mark Two Small Vintage Lodge Cast Iron Ashtrays incl. Waupaca Foundry Antique Cast Iron Script Sidney O Griddle Vintage Cast Iron Unmarked Lodge Oval Roaster No. 4 with Trivet and Lid Cover Vintage unmarked Lodge no. 9 Cast Iron Long Griddle Bottom of vintage unmarked Lodge no. 9 Cast Iron Long Griddle showing molder's mark Vintage Cast Iron Lodge No. 7 High Dome Lid and Sauce Pan, next to Cahill Set Large (about 13") unknown maker trivet. Antique Unknown Maker Inset Heat Ring Cast Iron Skillet with Molder's Mark Vintage cast iron Lodge snowmen baking mold Vintage cast iron Stearns Broilette set Stearns broilette assembled. "Hardwick Stove Co. Cleveland Tennessee" antique cast iron skillet Vintage cast iron European Waffle iron Vintage cast iron skillet marked "ZEIGLER" on the handle - unknown maker. Vintage cast iron Shepard Hardware broiler. Two Blacklock (Lodge) antique cast iron lids 11 inch and 13 inch Bottom of Blacklock lid and spider Carlisle antique cast iron waffle maker Unknown maker cast iron skillet - commonly called a "blob." "Mrs. H White" antique cast iron skillet Loth's vintage cast iron no. 10 griddle Phillips & Buttorff vintage cast iron cover Two "Sidney" antique cast iron waffle irons, sizes 7 and 8. Vintage cast iron European Waffle iron Wagner-made "You can get it at Wertz & Singer" vintage cast iron skillet Lodge cast iron medallions Maryland prison-made vintage cast iron skillet marked "JONES." Vintage cast iron skillet marked "ZEIGLER" on the handle - unknown maker.
  1. W. J. Loth Stove Company, Waynesboro, Virginia. Founded 1890.
  2. For example, on the Lodge Website, a photo of some of their old garden gnomes are presented with the following text: “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.”
  3. Cahill Iron Works was a foundry in Chattanooga, Tennessee, founded in 1875.
  4. John told me about the “collector’s tent” that Lodge sponsored in 2017 for the first time at the annual cornbread festival in South Pittsburg. He would like to see that concept expanded and formalized into a Lodge-sanctioned collector’s club.

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