It should come as no surprise that we have our fair share of history buffs around the Smithey shop. After all, Isaac founded the company in large part because he was inspired by the beauty and craftsmanship of early American cast iron and wanted to resurrect that legacy. And while we’re admittedly biased, the history of cast iron in America is fascinating. If you have the time, we highly recommend a stroll through Soho with your eyes upward, taking in the architectural designs of the cast iron district. Or jump down a rabbit hole with late 18th century Griswold skillets and learn how you can date various skillets by the changing forms of the logos. Or maybe just re-read The Grapes of Wrath and take note of Ma Joad’s most valuable possession and its importance in her everyday life, from cooking multiple meals a day to chasing away the disrespectful.
And then there’s carbon steel cookware. You won’t find one in your grandma’s kitchen unless she happened to be a commercial line cook in the 1990’s, and you won’t find collectors geeking out on 19th century carbon steel skillet design. In fact, chances are you really haven’t thought much about carbon steel cookware at all. Yet carbon steel and cast iron share many of the same cooking properties and functions, and carbon steel skillets tend to be lighter than cast iron and heat faster. So what’s the deal with carbon steel?