**Please note: To see the photos contained within a post, you must click on the title of the post to open it separately. Why? I don't know. I just know that it needs to be done to see the pics. :)
Dean R, from Massachusetts, wrote to “Ask The Pan Handler” and sent along two photographs of a pretty square skillet.
Dean asked for help with identification of the pan. He said, “This skillet has a gate mark, is marked with L7 on the bottom, and has four small legs. It has a very detailed handle and a unique shape. Thank you!”
Here are photos of Dean’s pans:
I have written a blog post that might help some of you with identifying your old cast iron pieces; you can find it here.
Dean, you have a pretty skillet! I like the detail on the handle, in particular. Some of the very old skillets and griddles have very interesting and beautiful designs on the handle.
Unfortunately, I cannot tell you which foundry produced your pan. I can tell you that is is a very old pan; most foundries stopped producing gate-marked pieces by around the 1880s, and certainly by around 1900. There were many, many foundries that produced American-made iron, however. Given the dearth of photographs and advertisements for cookware of that era, it is not possible for me to tell you with certainty or accuracy who made your pan.
I can say it is a beautiful old pan; just a bit of rust removal and re-seasoning, and it will be a fine cooker!
Readers, if an of you do know with certainty who manufactured Dean’s pan, do write to me and let me know (and provide your reference materials). If someone does come up with a definitive answer, I’ll update this post so we can all be educated!
Thanks for your inquiry, Dean.
…on my glass top cooktop. Wow, this was delicious! Another admission – while I love pot pie, I have never before made one. I don’t even think I have ever purchased one at the store, so I am not sure when I have had them and how I know I love them…I just know I do. I am quite sure I have never had one topped with biscuits; this was a nice twist on the standard.
Again, this is a Blue Apron recipe and meal meal. I am really having fun with the service. No, I am not a paid spokesperson for Blue Apron. I should be!Chicken and Sage Biscuit Pot Pie w Cremini Mushrooms and Purple-Top Turnip
Per Blue Apron, this serves 2. I found it served more like 3 hearty meals or 4 reasonably-sized servings.Ingredients: 2 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts 1 c Buttermilk Biscuit Mix 4 oz Cremini Mushrooms 1 Carrot 1 Stalk Celery ½ lb Purple Top Turnip 1 bunch Sage 3 T All-Purpose Flour 2 T Chicken Demi-Glace 2 T Crème Fraîche Olive Oil Salt & Pepper Directions:
Poach & shred the chicken:
In a medium pot, combine the chicken, a big pinch of salt and enough water to cover the chicken by 2 inches; heat to boiling on high. Once boiling, remove from heat and cover with a lid or foil. Let stand for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Thoroughly drain the poached chicken and transfer to a cutting board. Using 2 forks, shred into bite-sized pieces.
Prepare the ingredients:
While the chicken poaches, preheat the oven to 450°F. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and medium dice the turnip. Cut the mushrooms into bite-sized pieces. Thinly slice the celery crosswise. Peel the carrot and thinly slice into rounds. Pick the sage leaves off the stems; discard the stems and thinly slice the leaves.
Cook the vegetables:
While the chicken continues to poach, in a number 8 cast iron skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes, or until browned. Add the carrot, celery and turnip; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes, or until tender.
Make the filling:
Add the flour and 2 tablespoons of olive oil to the pan of vegetables; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until the flour is golden. Add the crème fraîche, demi-glace, half the sage and 1½ cups of water; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 3 to 5 minutes, or until the liquid has thickened. Stir in the shredded chicken; season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until thoroughly combined and heated through.Make the biscuit batter:
While the filling cooks, in a medium bowl, combine the biscuit mix and remaining sage (just until combined – for tender biscuits you don’t want to mix too much!); season with salt and pepper. Gradually stir in 1/2 cup of cold water until just combined.
Using a spoon, top the skillet full of filling with about-equal-sized scoops of the biscuit batter, leaving some space between the scoops. Place the skillet into the oven and bake 12 to 14 minutes, or until the biscuits are golden brown and cooked through. Remove from the oven. Let stand for at least 2 minutes. Serve directly at the table – be careful when transferring the skillet to the table; it will be hot!
One of the great things about making this in a cast iron pan is that the pot pie will stay plenty warm in the skillet while serving, so if people want more than one serving, they can scoop up another and it will still be warm.
I will need to get these pieces cleaned and seasoned, but I am excited to share with you these photos which show a sampling of some of the 50+ baking and kitchenware pieces we will have coming soon.
Aren’t they wonderful? We have several Wagner bundt pans, Wagner single and double-bread pans, Griswold sundial (which will take a little while to list – a previous owner painted it and I will remove that paint before listing it), deep Favorite Piqua Ware muffin pan, doughnut molds, wafer pans, candy molds, beautiful old gate marked muffin and French roll pans, G.F. Filley gem pan, turk’s head pans, Griswold lamb and Santa molds, Vienna bread pans…and so much more!
Just wanted to share a few photos – I am very excited about these pieces and can’t wait to get them cleaned up, seasoned, and back into circulation!
Glenn M. from Virginia wrote to Ask The Pan Handler and said:
“I recently acquired a very small, 3” dia. cast iron Toy scotch bowl with Bail handle, Marked “ERIE” on the bottom. Great condition. Just wondered when it was made and the approx. value. I am a member of the GCICA collectors club. Thanks for your assistance, Glenn.”
Glenn told me that his piece had nickel plating over cast iron. He sent me some photos of his toy scotch bowl. Here it is:
Glenn, I am sorry but I do not provide opinions as to value; it is far too subjective. You can find several resources where you can do your own research, however, on this issue. I wrote an Ask The Pan Handler article about that – you can find it here.
I can tell you that some people prefer to not have nickel plating on a piece, but yours appears to be in very nice condition. Often when you see nickel-plated pieces the finish is worn; yours does not appear to be so. It’s definitely a “niche” piece, however: The person who would purchase your piece (since you are apparently looking to sell it) would probably be either a collector of Griswold and other toy pieces, or a collector of nickel-plated Griswold toy pieces. The value would be to the person who collects the toy pieces. Your piece is obviously one for display and not for use; unless someone wanted to give their child an extravagant piece of toy cookware.
The reference books I reviewed did not show a nickel-plated toy scotch bowl. According to the Blue Book, the iron toy scotch bowl, which appears the same as yours but absent the plating, was manufactured between 1890 and 1910. I would expect that yours would have also been manufactured during that time frame.
Hope you find this information, and the links contained herein, helpful!
Luis N from New Hampshire wrote to “Ask The Pan Handler” and asked whether nickel plating can be removed from Griswold cast iron pans.
For those of you who haven’t seen a nickel plated finish on a vintage cast iron piece, here is a photo of one:
Some pieces are also finished with chrome. Here are some Griswold pieces with the chrome finish:
There is a difference between the two, as you can see. The chrome is the mirror-like finish. The nickel is the duller silver finish.
Often, when you find these pieces – whether it be nickel or chrome plating – the finish has worn of to some extent, so they are not as attractive (depending on your point of view, of course) as a piece with intact plating or a black iron piece. Luis’s question is one I commonly hear.
I do not know of a way to safely remove either nickel or chrome plating at home. The only way I know of to remove nickel or chrome plating on old vintage cast iron pieces is to contact a plating company. If you do a google search for chrome plating services and / or chrome plating company, you will be able to locate a plating company. At that point, you can make a call and inquire as to cost.
Readers, if you know of a way to safely remove chrome or nickel plating from vintage cast iron at home, please write in and tell me. If I learn something more, I will update this post.
Good luck Luis, and thank you for your question!