The Pan Handler LLC sells the finest in vintage and antique collectible cast iron cookware. Our brands include Griswold, Wagner, Wapak, Favorite, and Lodge, as well as a variety of other manufacturers. We have a particular emphasis on Griswold pieces. We carry skillets, griddles, covers and lids, dutch ovens, gem and muffin pans, patty molds, waffle irons, and much much more.
We are very particular about the pieces that we sell. We source collectible and valuable vintage pieces from across the country. We travel across the country to view and purchase our pieces; trucks and trailers are often involved! Careful packing is necessary to ensure that these old pieces do not suffer any damage during transport.
After we have unpacked each piece, it is placed into our written inventory and placed into queue for cleaning. Each piece is meticulously cleaned by hand to bare iron, using several different processes. Our first-stage cleaning process is typically a lye bath, which can take weeks to complete. After each of one or more rounds in the lye bath, Pan Apprentice Linda (below) meticulously scrubs and cleans each piece, removing what is often tens or a hundred years of built-up and cooked-on crud.
When the piece is done in the lye bath, I (Anna) process the piece through an electrolysis system, which is used to remove any rust or remnants from the lye process. This can take hours or days. I then scrub the piece to bare iron, using elbow grease and Dawn soap as necessary.
When the pan has been cleaned to bare iron to our satisfaction, it is heat-seasoned in a stove in two stages; each lasting an hour. A cooling period follows each step. In our heat-seasoning process we use either a mixture of coconut & canola oils & beeswax, or Crisco vegetable shortening and Pam as necessary to get into nooks and crannies.
After seasoning, we again carefully examine each piece, photograph it, and thoroughly describe it in its sale listing. Many photos are taken of the piece in daylight, so that you can completely view all aspects of each piece. We strive to be complete and precise in all listings so that you know exactly what you are getting when you purchase a piece from The Pan Handler LLC. We want you to be well-informed about and delighted with your purchase. Our pieces are heirloom quality pieces that will last a lifetime and then some; we treat them as the valuable pieces of American history that they are.
We work hard to provide you with the best of the best; pieces that you and your children and grandchildren will use and enjoy for years to come.
Anna, The Pan Handler
Anna took over the helm of The Pan Handler LLC in January 2017. She moved to the USA from Sydney, Australia ten years ago and now calls Minnesota home. At the same time that she fell in love with America and her American husband, Anna also fell in love with antique and vintage cast iron cookware. Anna feels a kinship with the pioneering spirit of those who sought out new lands to build a new life, and loves to imagine the generations that have used these pieces, and the meals they have shared together.
Anna’s favorite piece is a gigantic cast iron griddle that she uses for cooking over an open campfire for her friends. She and her husband Rob have cooked pancakes, bacon, lamb chops and rib eye steak perfectly in all kinds of weather, and they wouldn’t go camping without it.
Linda, The Pan Apprentice
Linda is “The Pan Apprentice.” Linda is the expert in cleaning pieces after the lye bath, which is typically the first stage in our cleaning process. She particularly likes cleaning nooks and crannies in waffle irons – go figure! Her secret weapon? Chopsticks!
Linda also helps with whatever needs to be done; particularly packing and shipping orders. Linda travels with Anna and Mary on cast iron journeys; she has an eagle’s eye for nice iron. Linda loves these vintage pieces, and she has started her own small collection of Griswold grooved handled skillets. She also has many other collections – ask her about her sewing machines!
Mary, The Founding Pan Handler
Mary is the original brains behind, and founder of the Pan Handler LLC. Her adventure into the world of vintage cast iron cookware began in around 2010, with the purchase of a pretty Griswold gem pan. Next, she purchased about 60 pieces of crusty, rusty iron at an estate sale. From there, she dove into learning how to clean and restore, and identify vintage cast iron pieces. She founded The Pan Handler LLC, and the care and attention she gives to every piece she sells made it the successful business it has become today.
Mary handed the business over to Anna on January 1, 2017 but still consults, shares her wisdom and uses her keen eye to spot great pans that our customers will love. She continues her love of vintage cast iron, and is now the proud owner of https://vintagecast-iron.com/.