I, my family, and employees are patriots that enjoy making unique products for your kitchen. Our inaugural product was The Great American Waffle Iron. A waffle iron is one of the more difficult pieces of cookware to design and produce. Our foundry had to be accurate to within a few thousands of an inch for it to function properly and safely since it is piece of cookware with moving parts. I have never been accused of doing things the easy or normal way, so we started off with a Big challenge.
Our "Jeweled" line of cook/ table ware is another example of our work that I hope captures your eye. The lessons learned during the design and production of The Great American Waffle Iron, gave me the freedom to get creative with our cookware design. Certainly cookware should perform excellently. We also think it should have an excellent appearance.
For the past 30 years I have been fascinated by antique waffle irons and have collected many. After cooking with my very first one, I immediately reached into my cabinet, pulled out my electric waffle iron, and dropped it into the trash bin. It was only a few years old and already had damage to the non-stick coating and I knew the plastic legs weren't going to last either. However, now I had a real, permanent, cast iron waffle maker, a 160 year old North, Hamilton and Chase. There was no turning back.
I first pondered the idea of producing a waffle iron in the late 90’s. It seemed like a very expensive and insurmountable task for one person without a small fortune to gamble with. And it certainly would have been a gamble. I wanted it to be made in the US. Price was an overwhelming concern. Plus, I did not know anything about setting up stocking agreements with stores. Over the past decade or so, the internet and ecommerce developed to the point that I began to re-visit my dream.
As my children grew up, making waffles quickly became a tradition in our house. It was a special privilege to be the one to pick which waffle iron we would use that Saturday morning, taking turns from week to week. Our antique waffle irons feature a variety of artwork and everyone has a favorite. Those antique waffle irons are like revered older relatives that deserved to have their story’s told. Even if a specific one wasn't an absolute favorite, it made it in the rotation.
When guests were in town for the weekend, they often were given the opportunity to pick which waffle iron would be used for breakfast. This meant that each waffle iron had to come out of the pantry and be presented. My children would excitedly tell our guests about all the details and cooking characteristics of each. It is a wonderful thing to see your children explain to another person in great, animated detail about the many technical and artistic nuances of a practical and cherished object like our waffle irons. I knew more families would benefit from this simple experience. My dream was slowly rekindled.
As a family, we began to imagine how we would bring a cast iron waffle iron to others. We looked at the features and art on our antique waffle irons and knew we wanted to do this right! It was at this point, that Appalachian Cast Iron started to become a reality. We discussed at length, many, many times and explored numerous ideas about what artwork should be featured both inside and outside of our waffle iron. The Great American Waffle Iron is in many ways functional artwork that makes a great waffle. With this piece we pay tribute to the thousands of American foundry workers that helped build our nation.