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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

My New Obsession

Last weekend was the world famous "Canton Trade Days." Now this thing is huge.  It is once a month and the town of Canton turns from like a sleepy town of 30,000 people into a huge 250,000 person event.  They sell everything from animals, crafts, household items, to well as you can see in the picture above stuffed buffalo heads.  I have always wanted a stuffed buffalo but at 1,200 dollars I can wait.
The above picture is of my son and a "cougar."  We made the joke to my wife that he was out all day searching for cougars and he even got to hug one.  Now I love open air markets like this.  The thing that excites me is the art of haggling.  I love to wheel and deal for items.  I usually walk with my wife and see all the house goods and home decor items but, this time I did the walk with my son and his friend that stayed the weekend with us.  So we got to look at guy stuff like pocket knives, military gear, and tools.  I like to go to the back where people have the easy ups and sell things they have picked up at garage sales or are just cleaning barns out.  I came across lots of people selling cast iron.
My wife and I have come to the conclusion that we need another set of cast iron.  We used to drag our one set back and forth from our house to the ranch.  Now we just keep the irons out at the ranch and decided to get a second set.  I have discussed the awesomeness of cast iron and how as long as it is not warped or cracked the cast iron is good.  Even if it is covered in rust (just make sure there is not large amounts of pitting).  At trade days I was hagling all sorts of people for their cast iron and you would come across all sorts of prices and pieces.  I finally came across this guy selling junk out of a small 5 x 8 trailer and he had a few pieces of cast iron sitting out.  I started looking at it and he had a few really good pieces of "Lodge" brand.  Lodge is the current best cast iron that is mass marketed across america.  So I asked this guy what he wanted for his 10" skillets.  He let me know that he wanted 15 bucks each.  So I offered him 10 and he said he was OK with that.  I was hooked at that point.  I knew I had a seller at the right price with a good amount of pieces in a variety of range.  He shows me all his buckets of cast iron and I was looking to bundle a couple of items to get even a better deal.  I was almost done and set on 3 pieces of Lodge I wanted.  One was a 10" Lodge skillet, another was a 6" random brand skillet, and last was a 4" lodge skillet.  A nice assortment of skillets.  Then I come across his last box of irons and he had the above skillet. 
The skillet was a 12" number 8 Griswold.  I have seen Griswolds and have always said when I was not cheap, I would get a nice Griswold cast iron.  If you are not familiar with Griswold, they are known as the best mass marketed cast iron company.  Now just like any other collector item you have to know what to look for and what to look out for.  Now Griswold was only around from 1865 to 1957 when they were purchased by Wagner.
From my photos you can tell I have the least collectable of the Griswold cast irons.  My Griswold is from the 1937 to 1957 era.  This era is considered the small logo, block letters and before the Wagner purchase since it still has the Erie, PA logo on it.  Now i consider a Griswold a Griswold and this pan is nice!  The experts say a Griswold-Wagner is not a collectable.  The guy I bought this off wanted 25 bucks for the skillet and I talked him down to 15 and also I paid 4 bucks for a nice 6" skillet.
I am now obsessed with trying to get as much cast iron as I can.  I have wanted to hold a dutch oven cooking class at our rec center and if I can get enough irons I could hava a huge class.  Maybe even get some irons into shape and start a collection that I could trade with other iron collectors.  Imagine the possibilities.  I went to bed that night dreaming of next months trade days so I could dig deeper into these junk heaps and get some more iron gold!


  1. I appreciate this is your post. Very interesting blog. Hope it will always be alive! Thanks for this

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  2. Welcome to the world of cast iron, and welcome to my blog! (i'm the ramblings on cast iron author). there's nothing better to cook in!