Ok. You are serious about cast iron. There are three brands available to you, but only one comercially available as the other two are out of business. They are, in order of quality:
1. Griswold - went out of business in the 1950's
2. Wagner - went out of business in the 1990's
3. Lodge - still makes fine cast iron pans and pots.
The first two can only be had at garage sales, yard sales, or as inherited from deceased relatives (if they are still living, they won't give you their pans
). Lodge is still produced and is of high quality. What makes it slightly less desirable is the grainy cooking surface cause by the sand casting techniques they use to cast their cookwear. Teh pits eventually even out into a smooth cooking surface through normal use, but it takes a year or two.
Both the Griswold and Wagner used sand-casting techniques as well, but somehow got a nice, smooth finish on the cooking surface that made seasoning easier. Also, Griswold used thinner cast iron in their pans which made them easier to manage as they are much lighter in physical weight than are either the Lodge or Wagner C.I.
All of these pans will outperform most any other frying pans on the market, except for specialty pans like a sautuse, or saucier. For browning and searing meats, they are unequaled and are a in class of their own. When used properly, they will last several lifetimes, which makes them as cherished for sentimental reasons as for their exceptional cooking performance.
Griswold can often be found at garage sales because few people understand the superiority of this cookwear over the cheap, readily available non-stick cookwear they see covering the displays at department stores. Most people by junk that has to be thrown away every two years or so.
There are those around here that will argue with my belief that cast-iron is the perfect cookwear for most things. This my advise to you, and I will stick to it.
Let it be said though, that good stainless steel comes in a close second.
Seeeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North