The presence of cast iron has changed in the United States over the last one hundred years. Once the dominate form of cookware in any kitchen, it's been replaced by high-ply clad stainless, anodized aluminum, and all sorts of Teflon-coated beasts that let your food slip around freely.
Likewise, the manufacturing process of cast iron cookware has changed quite a bit over the century as well. Enthusiasts claim that modern pans are thicker, with 'pebblier' surfaces, and made of a lower-quality iron. Add that to the high-heat preseasoning that doesn't make for a reliable coat, the question stands: is the vintage stuff better than new cast iron?
Jason Weisberger from BoingBoing did an anecdotal test to find out. He snagged a sub-$10 skillet from the thriftstore, brought it back to life, and gave it a head-to-head test against his new cast iron.
Check out his findings: Is antique cast iron cookware really better than new? [BoingBoing.net]