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Re: New here / Lodge Foundry tour

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  • mullerslanefarm
    Marie, Thank you for the tour ! I found it very interesting. Cyn in IL ... DO ... all the ... cookware ... north of ... National ... for tours ... were shut
    Message 1 of 6 , Jul 2 7:00 AM
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      Marie,
      Thank you for the 'tour'! I found it very interesting.

      Cyn in IL

      --- In dutchovencooking@y..., "Marie L. Bartlett-Sloan"
      <MarieBS@b...> wrote:
      > Hi,
      >
      > I just signed up to this list and hope to learn a lot. I am new to
      DO
      > cooking, got interested in it because our church camping group does
      all the
      > cooking over open campfire.
      >
      > We were able to tour the Lodge Manufacturing Company cast iron
      cookware
      > foundry at the end of April. They are in South Pittsburg, TN, just
      north of
      > Chattanooga. They are only open to tours one day a year during the
      National
      > Cornbread Festival as the plant, understandably, is too dangerous
      for tours
      > when they are actively operating. The foundry production lines
      were shut
      > down but a few of the furnaces were on 'simmer' .
      >
      > Here is what we saw:
      >
      > We tossed our girls, the twins, and Nana Kay into the van and
      headed back
      > south to South Pittsburgh, TN, for the National Cornbread Festival.
      >
      > Yuck. I hate cornbread, but this was the only day of the year that
      the
      > Lodge Manufacturing Company had foundry tours. Lodge is the only
      remaining
      > company in the US that makes cast iron cookware, founded in 1896,
      and still
      > family owned. I love manufacturing tours and wanted to see this
      place.
      > South Pittsburgh turned out to be a cute, tidy little town in one
      of the
      > most beautiful settings that I have seen. As we stood in the
      middle of
      > their downtown, I kept turning north to gaze upon the forested
      mountains
      > above us. We saw hawks and turkey vultures soaring on the
      updrafts. The
      > forests were all the different sorts of new leaf spring green. The
      town is
      > so small that the foundry is virtually downtown, and yet the town
      is not
      > dirty from the foundry -- for the most part they use gas and
      electric
      > furnaces. There are trees and flowering shrubs and flowers all over
      > surrounding tidy little houses.
      >
      > Foundry tours were conducted all day long as enough people
      collected for a
      > tour group. As you can imagine it was very interesting. The only
      one who
      > didn't pay much attention was Mary, as could be expected at her
      age. The
      > gentleman who conducted the tour was the foundry maintenance
      supervisor, so
      > he had a good knowledge of all aspects of the foundry.
      >
      > The tour started in the Human Resources department. They have 180
      > employees. We got to see all their photos on the wall along with
      their
      > names. There are NO id numbers. Everyone is known by their name.
      The
      > company is family owned and they work at keeping a family-type
      environment.
      > The supervisor who conducted the tour said that there are no 'plant
      > managers'. There are shift and department supervisors. The company
      > encourages team work and discussion. If there is a production
      problem,
      > everyone on the line is expected to participate in the solution.
      They value
      > the hands-on experience of the workers and listen to their input.
      As the
      > casting of iron used to be a master/apprentice thing, I can see how
      that
      > attitude has carried on here.
      >
      > The foundry was not in production when we toured, due to insurance
      > considerations. They did have one man testing the melted iron
      > temperature -- it was 2674 degrees fahrenheit on the computer
      readout, and
      > we could feel the heat from where we stood about 100 feet away.
      The older
      > two girls were impressed by that. There were overhead conveyor
      lines with
      > hooks to move partially finished products from here to there --
      lots of
      > heavy cast iron things dangling overhead. This was not a safe
      place for a
      > stranger to walk around. On the other hand, there was lots of
      safety stuff
      > in place. The maintenance supervisor who guided our tour said that
      ear,
      > eye, and breathing protection was mandatory for everyone. Compared
      to the
      > cloissone factory we toured outside Beijing, this was safety city!!
      >
      > That foundry must be one of the lower circles of hell when it is in
      > operation, and not just from heat but noise too. They melt the
      iron on site
      > for casting. It has to be 2700 degrees Fahrenheit before they can
      pour it
      > into buckets to move via overhead rails to the casting area. They
      do
      > quality assurance tests on each batch of iron before it moves to
      casting so
      > they know exactly what is being cast. That must certainly help
      with trouble
      > shooting later. The melted iron is held in holding furnaces until
      they are
      > ready to cast it. The casting forms are made from a steel master
      form. The
      > casts are made from sand and a bonding polymer. They are used only
      once and
      > are then ground up into sand and used to form new casts. The casts
      are
      > placed on a conveyor belt. They are moved under a semi-robotic
      station
      > where -- get this! -- the liquid iron is pressure injected into the
      cast!
      > Can you imagine liquid iron under pressure?!?!?!? Man!
      >
      > The filled casts are moved down the conveyor belt, and solidify
      enough in 5
      > minutes that the cast can be cracked off, leaving the still hot new
      skillet
      > or whatever on the belt covered with a residual layer of sand.
      >
      > Now here is where the noise comes in. Most of the conveyor belts
      in the
      > foundry are shaker belts. The newly cast products are shaken to
      get loose
      > sand off. Then they go thru a section where they are blasted with
      steel
      > shot to get the rest of the sand off. Then they go down a shaking
      belt to
      > get rid of any loose sand and steel shot and onto a carousel for
      the first
      > human inspection. Workers lift each piece up and examine all
      sides. If
      > there are rough spots or burrs, they are immediatly ground off.
      Products
      > with serious flaws are tossed and remelted. Product that passes
      inspection
      > is then sent to a conveyor line that passes the cast iron thru a
      gravel
      > grinder to smooth off things even further. The gravel is river
      gravel,
      > rangeing
      > from pea to chicken egg size stones. Once it comes out of the
      gravel
      > grinding, it goes down a shaker belt to shake off gravel and dust.
      The
      > product is inspected again, dipped in a light wax coating, and
      packed.
      >
      > The Lodge foundry employees must all be potential Olympic
      weightlifting
      > contestants. The cast iron products have to be lifted and hand
      inspected
      > several times. The folks in the packing department have to pick up
      the
      > products and put them in boxes. I hefted a lot of stuff in their
      outlet
      > store. This stuff is HEAVY! The foundry works 10 hours for four
      days a
      > week. I can't imagine lifting, say, 12 pound skillets over and
      over for 10
      > hours. Perhaps they rotate. I didn't think to ask.
      >
      > -------
      > If you are in the Chattanooga area, do visit their factory outlet
      store.
      > Everything is 50% off! I picked up a number of things, including
      the best
      > omlet pan I have ever had in my life for $5.95!
      >
      > Marie
      >
      > "The silent pictures were the purest form of cinema." -- Alfred
      Hitchcock
      > Visit the Silent Film Society of Atlanta at
      http://www.silentfilmatlanta.com
    • Dave
      aclty there not there are still other companies that make cast iron cook ware we have one here in Wyoming that makes it. also you said you church only uses
      Message 2 of 6 , Jul 2 8:07 AM
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        aclty there not there are still other companies that make cast iron cook
        ware we have one here in Wyoming that makes it. also you said you church
        only uses campfire to cook what happens if there is a forest fire and you
        can't have a fire also do you bring all your own wood in. I don't mind and
        when I base camp before going backpacking I will have ma by one fire but to
        have a fire every day were you gater the wood from the area you camping is
        bad on the environment because the trees and other things needs that rotign
        wood. Becuse of the benefit rotting wood has rocky moutain national park in
        Colorado has made it illegal to burn any thing other then wood you bring in
        or you buy form them
        At 09:51 AM 7/2/02 -0400, you wrote:
        >Hi,
        >
        >I just signed up to this list and hope to learn a lot. I am new to DO
        >cooking, got interested in it because our church camping group does all the
        >cooking over open campfire.
        >
        >We were able to tour the Lodge Manufacturing Company cast iron cookware
        >foundry at the end of April. They are in South Pittsburg, TN, just north of
        >Chattanooga. They are only open to tours one day a year during the National
        >Cornbread Festival as the plant, understandably, is too dangerous for tours
        >when they are actively operating. The foundry production lines were shut
        >down but a few of the furnaces were on 'simmer' .
        >
        >Here is what we saw:
        >
        >We tossed our girls, the twins, and Nana Kay into the van and headed back
        >south to South Pittsburgh, TN, for the National Cornbread Festival.
        >
        >Yuck. I hate cornbread, but this was the only day of the year that the
        >Lodge Manufacturing Company had foundry tours. Lodge is the only remaining
        >company in the US that makes cast iron cookware, founded in 1896, and still
        >family owned. I love manufacturing tours and wanted to see this place.
        >South Pittsburgh turned out to be a cute, tidy little town in one of the
        >most beautiful settings that I have seen. As we stood in the middle of
        >their downtown, I kept turning north to gaze upon the forested mountains
        >above us. We saw hawks and turkey vultures soaring on the updrafts. The
        >forests were all the different sorts of new leaf spring green. The town is
        >so small that the foundry is virtually downtown, and yet the town is not
        >dirty from the foundry -- for the most part they use gas and electric
        >furnaces. There are trees and flowering shrubs and flowers all over
        >surrounding tidy little houses.
        >
        >Foundry tours were conducted all day long as enough people collected for a
        >tour group. As you can imagine it was very interesting. The only one who
        >didn't pay much attention was Mary, as could be expected at her age. The
        >gentleman who conducted the tour was the foundry maintenance supervisor, so
        >he had a good knowledge of all aspects of the foundry.
        >
        >The tour started in the Human Resources department. They have 180
        >employees. We got to see all their photos on the wall along with their
        >names. There are NO id numbers. Everyone is known by their name. The
        >company is family owned and they work at keeping a family-type environment.
        >The supervisor who conducted the tour said that there are no 'plant
        >managers'. There are shift and department supervisors. The company
        >encourages team work and discussion. If there is a production problem,
        >everyone on the line is expected to participate in the solution. They value
        >the hands-on experience of the workers and listen to their input. As the
        >casting of iron used to be a master/apprentice thing, I can see how that
        >attitude has carried on here.
        >
        >The foundry was not in production when we toured, due to insurance
        >considerations. They did have one man testing the melted iron
        >temperature -- it was 2674 degrees fahrenheit on the computer readout, and
        >we could feel the heat from where we stood about 100 feet away. The older
        >two girls were impressed by that. There were overhead conveyor lines with
        >hooks to move partially finished products from here to there -- lots of
        >heavy cast iron things dangling overhead. This was not a safe place for a
        >stranger to walk around. On the other hand, there was lots of safety stuff
        >in place. The maintenance supervisor who guided our tour said that ear,
        >eye, and breathing protection was mandatory for everyone. Compared to the
        >cloissone factory we toured outside Beijing, this was safety city!!
        >
        >That foundry must be one of the lower circles of hell when it is in
        >operation, and not just from heat but noise too. They melt the iron on site
        >for casting. It has to be 2700 degrees Fahrenheit before they can pour it
        >into buckets to move via overhead rails to the casting area. They do
        >quality assurance tests on each batch of iron before it moves to casting so
        >they know exactly what is being cast. That must certainly help with trouble
        >shooting later. The melted iron is held in holding furnaces until they are
        >ready to cast it. The casting forms are made from a steel master form. The
        >casts are made from sand and a bonding polymer. They are used only once and
        >are then ground up into sand and used to form new casts. The casts are
        >placed on a conveyor belt. They are moved under a semi-robotic station
        >where -- get this! -- the liquid iron is pressure injected into the cast!
        >Can you imagine liquid iron under pressure?!?!?!? Man!
        >
        >The filled casts are moved down the conveyor belt, and solidify enough in 5
        >minutes that the cast can be cracked off, leaving the still hot new skillet
        >or whatever on the belt covered with a residual layer of sand.
        >
        >Now here is where the noise comes in. Most of the conveyor belts in the
        >foundry are shaker belts. The newly cast products are shaken to get loose
        >sand off. Then they go thru a section where they are blasted with steel
        >shot to get the rest of the sand off. Then they go down a shaking belt to
        >get rid of any loose sand and steel shot and onto a carousel for the first
        >human inspection. Workers lift each piece up and examine all sides. If
        >there are rough spots or burrs, they are immediatly ground off. Products
        >with serious flaws are tossed and remelted. Product that passes inspection
        >is then sent to a conveyor line that passes the cast iron thru a gravel
        >grinder to smooth off things even further. The gravel is river gravel,
        >rangeing
        >from pea to chicken egg size stones. Once it comes out of the gravel
        >grinding, it goes down a shaker belt to shake off gravel and dust. The
        >product is inspected again, dipped in a light wax coating, and packed.
        >
        >The Lodge foundry employees must all be potential Olympic weightlifting
        >contestants. The cast iron products have to be lifted and hand inspected
        >several times. The folks in the packing department have to pick up the
        >products and put them in boxes. I hefted a lot of stuff in their outlet
        >store. This stuff is HEAVY! The foundry works 10 hours for four days a
        >week. I can't imagine lifting, say, 12 pound skillets over and over for 10
        >hours. Perhaps they rotate. I didn't think to ask.
        >
        >-------
        >If you are in the Chattanooga area, do visit their factory outlet store.
        >Everything is 50% off! I picked up a number of things, including the best
        >omlet pan I have ever had in my life for $5.95!
        >
        >Marie
        >
        >"The silent pictures were the purest form of cinema." -- Alfred Hitchcock
        >Visit the Silent Film Society of Atlanta at http://www.silentfilmatlanta.com
        >
        >
        >
        >To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
        >dutchovencooking-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
        >
        >
        >
        >Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
      • gardan freemail
        ... not going to make it but it sounds like quite a time. I have been using D.O. for a couple of years(or three) having learned a bit as an adult
        Message 3 of 6 , Jul 2 2:13 PM
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          --- mississippi_biscuit <n5hbb@...> wrote:
          > I would like to welcome all the new members. It was
          > a big surprise
          > and a delight to have so many joint the last few
          > days. We have been
          > around for about three years.
          >
          > If you are new to Outdoor Dutch Oven Cooking? Take a
          > look around the
          > BOOKMARKS and FILES. We have lot's of vendors and
          > other groups
          > listed. There is some good information on seasoning
          > and tools in the
          > File section.
          >
          > I love Dutch Oven cooking. I have been teaching and
          > doing cooking
          > demos for the last 3 years.I have competed in cook
          > off contest in
          > Arkansas 4 years prior to my teaching.
          >
          > I love to tell folks about the History of D.O. and
          > how the Cookie was
          > the most important person on the trail.
          >
          > We have lot's of good sources. And It might just
          > take you a few weeks
          > to find them all.
          >
          > Please post any recipies you might have and post
          > phots of your
          > cooking. Tell us about your cooking and and events
          > you might have
          > around your state.
          >
          > WELCOME TO THE ART OF DUTCH OVEN COOKING!
          >
          > MISSISSIPPI BISCUIT
          > DA BISCUIT
          >
          > Thanks for the welcome and invitation/notice. I am
          not going to make it but it sounds like quite a time.
          I have been using D.O. for a couple of years(or
          three) having learned a bit as an adult leader/trainer
          for the Boy Scouts. Can't beat it for doing right by
          good food when you have a proper
          place to use it. Going to try a dump cake for the 4th
          at home .

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