As my brother Christopher and I were dreaming up the first Field Skillet several years ago, we tested every cast iron pan we could get our hands on (literally!), from vintage skillets to those made by our contemporaries.

When it came time to design the handle for our skillet, we had a few considerations. First, there’s the handle, and then there’s handleability. The handle is where your body interacts with the skillet, so we wanted it to feel good in your hand and give you a strong connection to the pan as a tool throughout all the ways it’s used, whether you’re pulling it from storage, maneuvering it around a stovetop or grill, transferring it in and out of the oven, and bringing it to the table for a meal.

After months of design, we decided on 'form informs function.'

We wanted our handle to be long enough to allow you to choke down as the base of the pan heats up, but short enough so you can fit multiple Field Skillets on your stovetop at the same time. Because our hands don’t change, we made our handles almost identical across our entire range of pans, with one exception: our little stovetop sidekick, the No.4 Field Skillet. Because of its extra light-weight and diminutive size, we shrunk the No.4’s handle down slightly.

As we went about defining our design philosophy, we also wanted to add just enough romanticism to give our skillets a bit of personality. We added a subtle ridge to the top of the handle, which provides another layer of tactile feedback. Some of our favorite vintage cast iron skillets—such as those made by Wapak, as well as some old Norwegian designs and waffle presses—came to a point, so we adapted this element as well. (Not surprisingly, this whimsical addition created one of the most difficult quality-control issues in the first 20,000 or so Field Skillets. Modern manufacturing often makes you pay for your romantic ideals.)

Because a good skillet deserves to be proudly displayed on one’s kitchen wall, we knew our handles needed a hanging hole. Our brand mark is a shield, a reference to a shared love of Medieval history that Christopher and I picked up from our maternal grandmother, Betsy Field, for whom we also named our company. So we fashioned the hanging hole into the shape of a shield, both to make our brand visible while our pans are in use, and to add a coat of arms (of sorts) that communicates an honor code from the maker to the user: We made this finely crafted tool that will last forever—if you treat it well.

The Field family crest.

Throughout our testing of various skillets, we also learned that, despite any claims made by manufacturers, the handle on any cast iron skillet will eventually get too hot to hold comfortably. This is why we made our Leather Handle Cover. But we’d spent so much time on the design of our handle that we wanted anything covering it to feel equally great in your hand. The only designs I could come up with required awkward, bulky stitching. So I brought the idea to my buddy Phillip to play with. One day, we were making prototypes in his studio and he came up with a brilliant interlocking solution that we both immediately knew was gold. He spent some time dialing in the exact shape and the rest was constant refinement to get it just right. (Although that moment never really arrives: Refinement is a constant at Field Company.)

No.4 Leather Handle Cover, in brown vegetable-tanned leather.

Our leather handle cover became instantly popular among Field Skillet owners, and now, due to popular demand, we’re finally launching a Leather Handle Cover sized specially for our No.4 Field Skillet. As with our other handle covers, this smaller version easily slides on and off the skillet when you need it, and keeps your hands cool while making your skillet look even cooler.