Harold R. Henry is an 83-year-old gentleman farmer, retired cattle auctioneer, and cast iron collector. He lives in a house on his 1300-acre farm in Hamilton, Missouri.
Harold began collecting vintage and antique cast iron cookware some 50 years ago. His collection has an emphasis on pieces made by the Lodge Manufacturing Company.1
Harold’s love for cast iron is part of his heritage. His mother and grandmother always cooked with cast iron. Harold also cooks with iron – Lodge cast iron. His favorite cooking pans in are two Lodge number 10 cast iron skillets; one from the 1930s and the other from the 1960s.
Harold has thousands of pieces of old cast iron cookware spread in and around his home. He has iron displayed in his living room, kitchen, parlor, hallway, and guest bedroom. His basement is filled to the brim with iron. Harold’s collection spills out into the garage, barns and outbuildings.
Harold believes that Lodge makes the finest of modern-day cast iron. He snaps up every piece of Lodge cast iron that he can find.
When Lodge comes out with a new product or commemorative piece, Harold is on the hunt. When there is an auction with vintage Lodge cast iron cookware, Harold is there. Of course Harold was also at the first “collector’s tent” sponsored by Lodge during the 2017 annual Cornbread Festival. You can’t really miss Harold; he’s the tall drink of water in a cowboy hat seated right up front.
Harold believes that every piece of iron is a unique piece of art. “Finely crafted and like no other. Every piece is a piece to use, but it is art.”
Harold respects, is intrigued by, and admires the crafting of each piece of cast iron that he owns. He appreciates Lodge’s craftsmanship and “survival instinct” – having been in business since 1896 when so many other foundries have closed their doors.
Harold is also impressed that generations of Lodge family members work and have worked for the company. He figures Lodge must be doing something right!
If you’re ever in Hamilton, Missouri, look up Harold. He’s always glad to show off his collection!
I wrote a lengthy blog post about Harold and his collection which I published in the blog of my prior business. You can find that post here.
- Lodge interviewed Harold about his love of Lodge iron; you can see the video here.