The Making of The No. 11 Deep Skillet

We take design seriously at Smithey. After all, we’re not in the disposable cookware business – every Smithey is intended to last a lifetime with the hope that it will become a beloved family heirloom. It’s a high standard and it’s one we take seriously – frankly it’s what gets us most excited to come to work! There are plenty of factories in China and elsewhere pumping out cheap serviceable cookware that will function okay for a few years – that’s not what we do. We know that every design decision we make better stand the test of time.

Recently we launched a new cast iron creation – the No. 11 Deep Skillet. We thought you’d enjoy taking a look behind the curtains at a bit of the design process.

The No. 11 Deep Skillet started with a desire for a deeper Chef Skillet. We love the curved interior walls of the Chef Skillet that promote stirring and encourage movement while cooking, and we knew we could add some versatility by designing a skillet with higher walls ideal for stirring, braising and frying. As we went deeper down the rabbit hole, we started exploring vintage saucier and braiser designs along with lidded skillets and asking ourselves how specific elements of these designs translated to modern cooking. What are people cooking on a nightly basis, and how could we make that experience better? What about a lid?

During the design process there’s a lot of back and forth – we begin with the idea, and then we model, measure, discuss, and occasionally argue until we land on a design that we’re proud to call a Smithey.



Our initial design draft began as 12-inch deep skillet with no lid, but the flat surface area for cooking was not large enough (it was closer to an 8-inch skillet) was way too deep at over 3.5 inches. We began to evolve the shape and found that increasing the side angles resulted in a goldilocks effect, with a surface area and depth that was just right.


And here you can see the evolution of the design, extending the base and reducing the flared sides for more cooking surface area.


After receiving the 3D prints of both the items above and studying capacities we began to re-evaluate the ideal diameter and voila, our first 11-inch skillet was created.


After receiving the updated size and evaluating the design against multiple intended uses, we began recipe and product testing and were quickly convinced that we needed to design a glass lid for this skillet to maximize its utility. From there, another project began!

Today, we’re thrilled with the final product and have yet to let the Deep Skillet leave our stovetop.


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