Borough Furnace is a design studio and metal casting workshop in Upstate NY known for beautiful, high-performance cooking tools, made with care.
Founded in 2011, we are a family-owned business owned by partners John Truex and Liz Seru. We initially raised seed money on Kickstarter to set up a micro-foundry to self-produce two sizes of cast iron skillets as our initial offerings. Our first workshop, in Syracuse, NY, used traditional foundry techniques, updated for environmental sustainability. John built our first set of machinery, including our furnace, nicknamed the Skilletron, that ran on waste vegetable oil collected from local restaurants. All of our source material was, and continues to be, recycled iron. In keeping with our mission to consume as little as possible, the sand from our molds is broken up and reused, creating very little waste.
In the interim eight years, we’ve since expanded that hand-built workshop into our current incarnation, a 20,000 sq. foot factory in Owego, NY. Central to our growth has been our personal commitment to environmental sustainability. Our furnace is now powered by electricity and we’re running it on wind-offsets as we work towards financing an on-site solar array and battery bank to run our full operation.
Our line of cast iron cookware borrows the best aspects of the classic American skillet design, but with contemporary updates. Features include gently sloped sides, for ease of use with a spatula, and balanced large handles to move the pans easily from the oven to the table. The long handle on our frying skillets stay cool to the touch on the cooktop and can be held barehanded. We hand sand the surface of our skillets smooth and then give them a micro-texture for optimal oil adhesion. The oils and fats in your food are what make cast iron naturally non-stick and our finish is optimized for this seasoning to build easily through cooking. We’ve expanded our initial offerings to include oven-to-table bakeware and a Dutch oven, which has the distinction of being the only enameled cast iron made in the United States.
When we started Borough Furnace, we were the only US producer of cast iron other than the historic (and much larger-scale) Lodge in TN. We started describing our products as “hand-cast and finished” to highlight our small-scale foundry practice and the intimate way in which our products are made. Our design and craftsmanship have been recognized in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Saveur, Food & Wine, GQ, Wired and Raw Craft with Anthony Bourdain, amongst others. Christopher Kimball memorably called us the “The Tiffany of cast iron cookware.” We feel that this success stems from the deep connection between design, craft and production. Because we are able to machine our own tooling and we make our own castings, we can prototype our products endlessly – taking them home, cooking with them and making refinements until the details are just perfect.
Thank you for your interest in our workshop! We believe that the tools you use often are worth investing in. We hope our cookware adds a little pleasure to your everyday.
John + Liz