A variation of the logo replaced the words “Stove & Range Co.” with the word “Perfection.” Gradually, the King name was phased out.
“There are not a lot of us out there who collect Martin cast iron,” Jonathon says. Most Martin cast-iron collectors tend to live in Alabama, Mississippi, or Tennessee, near the original Martin foundry. “I’m a very, very, very young person to be a cast-iron collector,” he adds. At age 31, Jonathon has been a serious collector for only three years.
Compared to Jonathon, Larry O’Neil and his wife, Marg, are long-time collectors. The Tacoma, Washington, couple got serious about cast-iron collecting in the early 1990s, and they have amassed a collection of more than 13,000 pieces, which they display in their own cast-iron museum.
“Some people specialize in one type of cast iron or another. We specialize in everything,” Marg says, laughing. Their collection includes more than 100 pieces of Martin cast iron. “We have almost all the pieces Martin made,” she says.
Larry O’Neil shared the story of the Martin company’s end. Like many other foundries, Martin survived well into the 20th century. Although the company stopped making cast-iron cookware in 1950, they continued to make stoves and ranges for some time after that. But eventually the company fell to the auctioneer’s gavel. “After the auction was over, boxes were spotted in the eaves of the building,” Larry recalls. “Upon checking, they found that each box contained a different model of every stove Martin ever produced.”
It make us wonder…who ended up with those stoves?