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Cast Iron Pot

ca.1750-1820
Origin: America
Overall: 7 1/2 x 9 1/2in. (19.1 x 24.1cm) Diameter at rim: 8 1/2in. (21.6cm)
Cast and wrought iron
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1991-641
Cast iron globular pot with three feet, produced in a three-part mold. Short, flared rim with a single band, set above three belly bands, with angular ears to support the wrought iron bail.
Label:Amongst the first pieces of cast iron produced in colonial America were humble cooking pots, made by the works at Saugus, Massachusetts, in the middle of the 17th century. This can be taken as strong evidence of the usefulness of the pot in the kitchen, and it's potential to earn profit for those who could manufacture them.

While the form of cast iron cooking pots changed over the next two hundred years, a number of traits remained constant. Of globose or "potbellied" shape, they have a flared lip, two cast-in "ears" to attach a bale or handle to, and three feet. Produced in huge numbers until cook stoves came into general use, these iron pots were a must-have for hearthside cooking. They were easy to use, and could be suspended above the fire by its bail or set directly on a bed of hot coals placed on the hearth. Should a lid be desired, they could be easily fashioned out of wrought iron or wood.

Iron pots of this sort did have their drawbacks though. They were far heavier than copper or tin versions, difficult to clean due to their rough surface texture, and were apt to fracture or break if dropped or struck.