I’ll comment again that if I need nonstick I use a skillet with a cast iron coating. Mine last forever and, no, the coating isn’t dangerous.
I’m happy to hear your enjoying your cast iron skillets. As I said, cast iron does have a place for me.
Most of the claims you make, however, aren’t really supported by my experience or most reasonable tests. It’s just the thing you need for certain preps, but many others call for something that works better. For me, it’s a very romanticized product. And I’m talking about brands like Lodge, which are reasonably priced.
Finex, Smithey, and other recent producers of highly finished cast iron skillets are making the very definition of a veblen good.
I’m glad that a few companies are making modern cast iron that’s machined smooth (Field is a bit cheaper and seems decent). I’ve got a couple of Wagners, and love them (my first CI pan, which broke, was also a no-name vintage piece). I much prefer cooking on the smoother surface, but also, the vintage stuff is much lighter, comparable to a heavy carbon steel pan. For example, my Wagner #10 is ~ 5 lb, roughly the same as a Mineral B skillet, and a good pound or two lighter than the same diameter Lodge.
I absolutely agree that charging $100-200 for a product like this is not something that is reasonable for most people, however at some point, I’d like to have one of these new companies’ products just because I like that they’re doing it. That said, I’d definitely suggest getting vintage, even something no-name / non-collectible, vs. new Lodge.
It’s also a bummer that Lodge had pretty much shut down any other makers of cast iron, so I’m glad that there are some smaller outfits making products, even at high prices.