Earlier this year, it appeared. Like a mirage, it was here one minute, gone the next. Just the world’s largest cast iron skillet, rolling down the road on a semi trailer. Then it disappeared for months. But now, it’s ready.
Lodge, a manufacturer that’s been making cast iron for more than 125 years, has officially opened the Lodge Museum of Cast Iron in its hometown of South Pittsburg, Tennessee. The museum will feature a recreation of what it’s like to cast iron in a foundry along with exhibits highlighting the history of the company and the culture of cast iron. But the centerpiece is that big ol’ skillet.
The company said the cast iron skillet measures 18 feet from handle to handle and weighs 14,360 pounds, or about seven tons, or roughly the equivalent of one and a half Hummer EVs. Although the skillet is 100% real cast iron and is said to hold about 650 eggs, Lodge said it’s only for looking, not for cooking.
Lodge said it partnered with a foundry in Alabama that specializes in large cast iron pieces to create the piece. But the company’s facilities in Tennessee are more than capable of cranking out lots of regular sized cast iron.
The company–which makes its products using pig iron and recycled steel–was founded as Blacklock Foundry in 1896 by Joseph Lodge. After Blacklock burned down in 1910, the company was rebuilt under the name Lodge Cast Iron. The company currently operates two foundries and said it is the first manufacturer to season its cast iron cookware in the foundry, saving consumers the work of polymerization.
And in case you’re wondering, Lodge said it’s OK to use a little Dawn dish soap to clean a cast iron skillet, despite what you may have heard about caring for the cookware.