**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. :)

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Griswold reproduction corn or wheat pan cast iron 282

UPDATE 12.8.13

Caren sent me pics of Masen baking little biscuits with his new pan that he won in the Thanksgiving Freebie. Is he adorable or what?

Caren said that Masen loves the pan “and even tried taking a nap with it one day.”

Thanks for sharing, Caren. I’m glad that Masen loves his pan!







****Thanksgiving update!****

Congratulations to Caren D. and her 4-year-old son Masen. They won the contest and the pan will be on its way to them in Missouri tomorrow. Here is their entry:

“So, heres why I’d love to win the pan. My youngest is 4 years old and lately he seems to think only woman cook and do dishes ha! So I’ve been thinking about having him start to learn the basics in the kitchen with me, kinda like our project.. today I saw your post and thought that the pan was adorable and my son Masen LOVES corn, so why not try?! So here I am with my little guy next to me thinking that if he win’s the pan he can do this with his kids one day with his corn pan:0)

Anyways, even if we dont win im going to get him one:0) Tonight im making a nutella type pastry I found online..hopefully he will help! Thank you and I attached a picture of my little guy with his big dog :0)”

And here’s the sweet pic of Masen and his doggie (reprinted with permission):







I recently purchased a collection, and amongst the other pieces was this little bread stick pan. It is a reproduction Griswold No. 282 Crispy Corn or Wheat Stick Pan. I am sure that there is a child somewhere who would enjoy cooking with this little pan, or who would enjoy playing with it in a play kitchen. Or, a grown-up who wants to make teensy corn sticks. Or, perhaps you have even a better idea for its use! I can’t bear to throw it out. I cleaned it and seasoned it with  one coat of Crisco vegetable shortening – I am sure someone can put it to good use!

The pan is a reproduction of the Griswold tea-sized corn or wheat stick pan. It measures 7-7/8″ long by 3-7/8″ wide. It is 1/2″ tall. There are slots for 7 little ears of corn – perfect for tea-sized corn or bread sticks. Or big gummy bear corn things. Or chocolate, or rice cakes, or sand corn castles, or…whatever your mind can dream up.

If you will use this little pan, I’ll give it to you for FREE. I’ll even ship it to you at my expense.

What’s the catch? I’d like to give this piece a good home and new life, on condition that you yourself will use it (or gift it for free – i.e. not resale), you don’t represent to anyone that it is an authentic Griswold piece, you tell me about how you plan to use it, and send me photos of it in use after you receive it.

I’ll send it to you at no cost; I’ll pay shipping to the 50 United States or our service members via AFO/FPO/DPO.

If you would like to give this little repro piece a home and renewed life – and you’ll send me pics of it in use if you “win” – please email me. Tell me your name and shipping address (see above geographical shipping limitations). Tell me why you want this little piece, and what you plan to do with it – how you plan to give it new life.

On Thanksgiving I’ll read all the emails, pick the one I like best (heartwarming is always good, as is creativity). I’ll post the name of the “winner” here (first name and initial, and state), along with what they plan to do with the little bread stick pan. I’ll then send it off at my expense. Once you get the piece, you’ll send me photos that I can put in this post of the pan in action.

That’s it. Really. Those are the only strings. I just want to see this little pan get a good home.

p.s. Watch for a BIG freebie to be coming after Thanksgiving to celebrate the holiday season!

Christmas 4 (2)

Know you want to get him (or her) vintage cast iron cookware as a gift but asking yourself what exactly to get? Here are a few suggestions – hope you find them helpful!

He is very particular. 

Ask him to make a wish list on thepan-handler.com. When looking at a piece on the site, there is an option to “add to wish list.” This narrows the field quite a bit for you.

I know I want to get her a vintage skillet, but there are too many choices!

A good starting point, if you aren’t very familiar with cast iron cookware, is to take a look at the FAQs section on the site.  Scroll down to see all of the topics. This information will give you a good starting point, along with tips about how to select a vintage cast iron pan.

If she doesn’t yet have vintage cast iron cookware, a skillet set with different sizes or a skillet with matching lid would be a great choice. Take a look at the “Holiday Gift Ideas” section, along with the shop’s “skillet sets” section.

If you are going to get just one skillet:

*                If she cooks for one, consider a size 8 skillet.

*                If she cooks for two, consider a size 8 or 9 skillet.

*                If she cooks for three or four, consider a size 9, 10, or even 12.

*                If she cooks for a crowd, consider larger skillets such as sizes 12 and 14.

A lid for the pan is also a nice luxury, if your budget permits.

He cooks with modern-day cast iron, and I want to turn him on to vintage. 

Look for a skillet with thin walls and a satiny smooth cooking surface, such as the early Griswolds and Wagners. He will be amazed at the difference in weight, and appreciate the smooth cooking surface.

I want a pan just like the one I saw in Playboy.

As I have been trumpeting, one of our pans is featured in Playboy’s 60th Anniversary issue, January – February 2014. One of our pans is one of Playboy’s “Best Practices: 60 Things, Ideas, & Actions that Every Man Should Know, Own, & Do.” Playboy recommends a cast iron skillet in particular for cooking steak, and recommends that every man should have not just a cast iron pan, but a vintage cast iron pan.

The pan that is featured in Playboy is referred to on the site as a Griswold large block logo EPU number 10 skillet. If you are looking for a pan just like the Playboy pan (the actual pan sold as soon as the mobile article came out), do a search for number 10 pans and look for a Griswold large logo pan. Of course, depending on how many people you typically cook for (see above), a 7, 8, 9, or even a 12 might fit the bill perfectly for you. And of course there are other logos besides the Griswold large block logo EPU; there are a plethora of choice on the site for you.

She already has everything!

She might have a selection of vintage skillets, but does she have a chicken pan? Dutch oven? Large skillet? Small skillet? Waffle iron? Long griddle? Round griddle? Breakfast pan? Patty mold or cake mold? Gem or Muffin Pan? How about a Plett or Aebleskiver pan? Does she need a trivet for one of her Dutch ovens? Take a look around the site at the sections other than “skillets.” There are a wide variety of vintage cast iron pieces. Also check to see if she has lids for her vintage cast iron pans; they can be hard to come by and are often sold separately.

He is a foodie.

Griswold small logo and Iron Mountain skillets are praised as great cookers. Other pans can also be great cookers, of course; look for pans with satin-smooth glassy cooking surfaces.

If he has a ceramic cooktop, consider a smooth-bottom skillet (instead of one with a heat ring) and make sure the description says that the pan sits flat. If he has a gas or electric range, it doesn’t matter as much if the pan has a slight wobble.

If he already has a vintage skillet, consider a cake mold or patty mold, corn bread or baking pan. How about a heart waffle iron? Chicken pan for frying? Breakfast griddle?

She is a collector.

Go for a Griswold unless she already has accumulated pieces from one of the other brands, such as Wagner or Wapak. Griswold is the most commonly collected of the cast iron cookware lines.

If she already collects cast iron cookware, try to see what her collection is missing. Does she have a waffle iron? Baking or muffin pans? Lids? Is there a particular size skillet or lid that she doesn’t have that would round out her collection? Or if she already has all the cookware she needs, how about a sad iron or ultra cool Griswold cast iron mailbox?

If you know she does collect a particular brand of cookware such as Griswold, check to see what the logo looks like and try to find a pan with a matching logo (i.e. large block logo, slant logo). You can see photos of the various Griswold logos in the blog post “Griswold logos.”

He prefers things that are offbeat.

Consider one of the lesser-known brands, such as Wapak or Favorite or a piece other than a skillet. Consider a waffle iron by a maker other than Griswold or Wagner. How about a sad iron, to be used as a paperweight or door stop? A decorative kettle? Mailbox? Kettle? Bowl? Look for some of the more esoteric pieces.

Only the best will do. 

Do a product search on the site for the words “mint” “minty” “near-mint,” and “excellent.” Consider something high-end such as the Buster Brown waffle iron, Griswold #13 skillet, or a Griswold mold set. Consider a Griswold skillet set, or skillet and lid.

I don’t care about a name brand; I just want to get her a really old piece.

Do a search on the site for gatemarked skillets – those are typically from around the 1880’s.  Also search for items that state in the title that they are antique or more than 100 years old.

I have a tight budget.

Take a look at the section of the shop marked “scratch and dent.” You will find pieces there that have flaws and are marked down. The section for “unknown / unmarked” pieces also has some budget-friendly pieces. You can also choose to sort through the shop sections by price. The smaller more common-sized skillets, such as 3, 5, and 6 are typically more budget-friendly than the less common and larger skillets.

At check out, you now have the option to pay via credit or debit card, in addition to paying through PayPal. PayPal also offers the option to “buy now, pay later.” This is a financing agreement with PayPal; details are available through PayPal.

I don’t know what kind of cast iron he already has.

If you know that he has cast iron cookware and you want to supplement what he has, you are best off asking him (or someone who cooks with him) what he already has. If you don’t want to do that, consider something other than a size 8 skillet. Skillets are typically the first vintage cast iron purchase that a person makes, and a size 8 is a common first purchase. How about a chicken pan or larger skillet with lid? Small skillet? Waffle iron? Patty molds? Muffin or baking pan? Kettle? Bowl?

I want to get a lid for a pan that she already has.

You need to know what size and make of pan she has before you try to buy a lid for that pan. Lids do not have a universal fit. A #8 Wagner lid, for example, will likely not fit a #8 Wapak pan. Even if the same maker of the lid makes the pan, the fit can vary. For example, Wagner skillet lids do not necessarily fit Wagner chicken pans. Dutch oven lids are different from skillet lids.

Griswold skillet lids fit Griswold and Iron Mountain skillets regardless of logo; look for the number on the lid that matches the number on the pan (i.e. 8, 9, 10).

I want to get him something that he can pass down to his children and grandchildren. 

All of the vintage pieces on the site are made to last a lifetime and then some. If you are looking for pans that are the most collectible/hold their value, consider Griswold or Wagner. As to the different Griswold logos, see the blog section on thepan-handler.com; there is a post that describes the different Griswold logos.

Enough already! I don’t have time for a crash course in vintage cast iron; I just want to buy a gift…now!

If you feel lost in a sea of pans, email us through the “contact” form at the bottom of the home page and give some detail on what you’re looking for; we’re happy to make suggestions! And remember, we also are offering “rustic” burlap wrap this season for an additional charge of $7.

Happy holiday hunting!  


electrolysis system to clean vintage cast iron cookware kitchenware

If you’ve read my blog posts, you know that I use two primary methods to clean my cast iron: lye bath and electrolysis. Electrolysis requires little work after set-up, and works really well when you have rust to remove as well as crud.

I have used a small electrolysis system to clean cast iron, somewhat similar to the one discussed here. I really wanted to acquire a larger one that was sturdier, worked faster, and didn’t require so much maintenance. Something more along the lines of the one discussed here and here.

Gary S. to the rescue! Like me, Gary is very into cast iron. When I saw him recently, I talked to him about cleaning cast iron. I knew he had a nice electrolysis system, and I asked if he could help me with a new set up. And, he did!

I will post more about the process later – I’m just so excited with the new system that I had to show it off.

To be continued… 🙂


Wagner cast iron toy kettle three legs wire bail handle miniature toy









***Update 11/30/13***

Edna updated me as to the status of the little toy kettle. And she sent pictures, too!

Edna’s great-grandchildren visited her in Oklahoma for Thanksgiving. She showed the kettle with its broken leg to her great-grandchildren, and told them a story about it. Here is the story she told:

When Oklahoma settlers rushed in – in their wagons – to stake a claim on a spot of land, a little girl was in one of the wagons playing with a toy kettle. The little girl’s wagon hit a rock, and bounced around pretty hard. While the little girl didn’t fall out, the kettle did. The leg of the kettle broke off when it hit a rock. The little girl never could find her kettle, which had been her favorite toy, but another little girl did. That little girl played with it for many years, until she lost it. A gentleman found it but didn’t need it, so he gave it to Mary, The Pan Handler. Mary had a contest and sent the kettle back to Oklahoma, and so it is finally back home! 

Edna and her great-grandchildren has a conversation about naming the little kettle. Edna told me:

One of them said “Well, it’s a little black pot and it has butter in it, so I think we should call it the Butter Pot!” Every single person said, “Oh yes, it’s the butter pot.” We had Turkey Thursday – yesterdayt – the kids requested beans ‘n cornbread. I don’t think the parents make them a lot so they love my beans ‘n cornbread. My granddaughter had buttered the cornbread but we got a few pictures of kids buttering their corn. It was cool yesterday but they wanted to eat outside and play in the mountains of leaves. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!! Thank you again for this precious little butter pot. Edna. 

Edna, I’m delighted you love the butter pot, and that it has found its home. Thank you for taking such good care of it, and for sharing its story with your great-grandchildren! And, for sharing the story and photos with me! 






***UPDATE 9/28***

AND THE WINNER IS…Edna P., who wrote: “I would use it for butter, because I use butter almost every day. It would never feel lonesome, when the kids n grandkids are here, we would include it in our conversations, and discuss where we think it had been in its travels, what it had held, how it lost its leg, and make up all kinds of stories that we think it would tell, if only it could talk! And of course we would name it, that would be a family affair.”

I loved it that Edna plans to make the little kettle part of the family, and involve her grandchildren in stories about the kettle. And so, the kettle will be off on its way to Oklahoma on Monday!

Congrats, Edna. And don’t forget to send me a pic or two so I can see how you use the kettle!


A gentleman recently gave this sweet little toy kettle to me saying “maybe you can do something with this!” I cleaned it and seasoned it per my usual practice, and now I’m offering it to you for FREE. I’ll even ship it to you at my expense!

This is a Wagner Ware cast iron toy kettle. It was manufactured by the Wagner Manufacturing Company in the 1920’s. It has a bail handle. It measures 4-1/8″ in diameter, and it is 2-7/8″ tall. It is marked on the bottom WAGNER WARE SIDNEY 0 . It has three legs…or it did; one has broken off, darn it! So this is not a three-legged toy kettle; it has only two legs.

I’d like to give this piece a good home and new life, on condition that you yourself will use it (or gift it for free – i.e. not resale), and that you tell me about how you plan to use it and send me photos of it in use after you receive it.

I’ll send it to you at no cost; I’ll pay shipping to the lower 48 states.

If you are up for the challenge of giving this sweet little piece a good home and renewed life – and you’ll send me pics of it in use if you “win” – please email me. Tell me your name and shipping address (lower 48 only). Tell me why you want this little piece, and what you plan to do with it – how you plan to give it new life.

On September 28 I’ll read all the emails, pick the one I like best (heartwarming is always good, as is creativity). I’ll post the name of the “winner” here (first name and initial, and state), along with what they plan to do with the little kettle. I’ll then send it off at my expense. Once you get the piece, you’ll send me photos that I can put in this post of the kettle in action.

That’s it. Really. Those are the only strings. I just want to see this piece get a good home.


the pan handler panhandler pan-handler vintage antique cast iron kitchenware kitchen cook ware cookware skillet pan dutch oven waffle iron griswold wagner wapak favorite pique

With proper care, your new vintage pan will last a lifetime. There are many different methods used to clean cast iron cookware. I have set forth a number of them in some detail in the FAQ section of my site. www.thepan-handler.com/FAQs (scroll down to see all sections).

Before your piece was even offered for sale, it was thoroughly and painstakingly stripped of years of built-up crud and restored to bare iron. It was then seasoned with one coat of Crisco vegetable shortening.

A properly-seasoned and well-cared-for cast iron piece will be virtually non-stick and last a lifetime. Your piece now has only one coat of seasoning, however; it will need more layers of seasoning before it will be non-stick. You may wish to begin use by cooking some fatty foods, such as bacon or hamburger. Generous use of vegetable oil also helps to build up seasoning.

After use, your piece should be promptly cleaned by hand (never put cast iron in the dishwasher!) It is easiest to clean pans while still warm. If there are very stubborn items of food stuck to the pan, you can put a small amount of water in the pan and heat it up on the stove. That will loosen the crud and it will be easier to scrape off. Some people add kosher salt to the pan to assist with scrubbing. I scrub my pans with a green nylon 3M pad, along with a bit of warm water. Be meticulous about removing food debris. If any remains, food you later cook will stick to it, and pretty soon you’ll have a pan coated with crud.

There is debate amongst cast iron lovers as to whether dish soap should ever be used to clean cast iron pans. As for me, if I think it’s necessary, I will use a very small amount to assist in cleaning. I haven’t found that it harms the seasoning, though I am sure others may disagree.

Once your piece is thoroughly cleaned, promptly dry it carefully and fully with paper towels. If not immediately dried, it will develop “flash” rust. If that happens, you will need to use a strong scrubbie – such as coarse steel wool – to remove the flash rust and then re-season the pan.

To protect your piece between uses, wipe a very light coat of oil on the piece after it is dry. I use a light spray of Pam on a paper towel.

I hope you love your new vintage piece!