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"Patina" usage.

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Adam Hoagland:
[size=12]In the context of collectable cast iron cookware, what do users of this forum believe to be the correct usage of the term "patina."  I know what the dictionaries say, so there's no use quoting your favorite.  I've seen "patina" used to describe everything from thick orange rust on a skillet that desperately needs to be cleaned with steel wool, to a piece that's been electrolyzed and has no coating of any kind whatsoever on it, to a piece that has been cooked with for decades and has an ebony shine to the cooking surface.  I've seen it used to describe pieces that were jappaned.  Most recently, when I e-mailed someone a question about a grinder for sale, the responded that the wooden handle was intact and had a nice patina. 

I know that some sellers are willfully ignorant when they have a product of questionable quality to present for auction, but has "patina" just become a catch-all term anymore for any color of any coating on any substance?  To my way of thinking, a shiny smooth black coating on the cooking surface of a skillet or other piece that develops as the result of prolonged deposits of conditioning or fat or both is a "patina," and that using it to describe rust on iron or lacquer on wooden handles is a bit of a slip-up. 

Any thoughts?[/size]

C. B. Williams:
The only time I have ever used the word "patina" in the same sentence with cast iron is when it was subjected to extreme heat causing that orange-red discoloration associated with that. I don't think normal rust or seasoning is a "patina". IMHO.

Tom Neitzel:
I'm kinda with CB, I have not considered the word patina in relation to cast iron.  I suppose there's nothing wrong with it, but just seems a little odd.

When I think of patina, it is the green that copper gets with age, or the wonderful, soft, smooth finish wood gets with age.

I'm not sure I would consider the fire damaged iron colors to be a patina.

To me, a patina is something nice, not a defect.  Just FWIW.


Jim Fuchs:
Agree with C.B. and Tom. Patina is not a word I associate with cast iron usually. To me, patina is a naturally aged piece, properly cared for, and showing signs of use over time. Think the word "patina" has gone by the way of the usage of the word "rare"...much over used anymore. The meaning is lost.

Neal Birkett:

--- Quote ---has "patina" just become a catch-all term anymore for any color of any coating on any substance? 
--- End quote ---

Pretty much.  I think Jim's got it right.

I would not understand what meant by a description of "patina on cast iron cookware anything," unless I had good pictures.  And with good pictures, said description becomes moot.


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