We all love vintage cast iron, so something that makes me quite cross is seeing fakes out there. Earlier this year I purchased a large collection of iron (over 200 pieces!) and these turned up when I was unpacking.
These tea sized corn stick pans are a really good example of a “bad” fake – in that it’s pretty easy for me to look at it and know, as opposed to humming and hawing, and sending pictures off to other knowledgeable collectors (such as the Reproduction Committee of the Griswold & Cast Iron Cookware Association).
There are a number of different features that clearly label these as cheap reproductions – some more obvious than others
1. Poor Quality Casting
The detail of the casting is poorly defined. If you look at the picture, I placed a genuine corn stick pan next to the fake. You can see that all the minutiae of the corn is very clear and defined on one, but not the other.
Poor casting is often the first key indicator of a fake!
2. Incorrect Numbering
Griswold Corn Sticks No. 262 have pattern number 625 associated with them. Pattern 625 was never used for No. 282 pans!
3. The Number of Holes
Griswold-made corn stick pans always have one hole in the handle at the top of the corn stick pan, this has two. There is a second variation of this pan which has two holes, but it was made by
Wagner after they purchased Griswold, and both the pattern and “ERIE PA., U.S.A.” are missing from the markings.
4. The Font
This is not typical Griswold font. Not only is the font type different, but the letters are all higgledy piggledy and not in a straight line.
(a) If you look closely, the markings state “ERIE PA USA” whereas on the genuine corn stick pan, it’s “ERIE PA.,U.S.A.”
(b) The spacing is incorrect. The genuine Griswold has no spaces between “CORNORWHEAT” and the fake does.
A particularly useful resource for those who love Griswold bakeware, is the book “Griswold Muffin Pans” by Jon B. Haussler. You can buy it on Amazon, right here. It contains all the Griswold bakeware, and all the variations, numbers and patterns, with photos. It’s a great reference when you’re pan hunting!
So folks, keep an eye out when you’re looking to purchase pieces. The poor casting is one of the more obvious ways to determine a fake, but sometimes the reproductions can be pretty close to the real thing. Hopefully this article will help you avoid fakes in the future.
In the meantime, Happy Cooking!