No matter the purpose of owning your Griswold cast iron items, there are certain facts you need to be aware of. First of all, they are highly valuable, collectible, and rare. That makes this particular cookware highly desirable for real collectors and American history lovers. Believe it or not, its history goes back to the 19th century when many kitchen items were handmade.
Since these pieces are of high quality, have a good reputation, and two centuries durability, many chefs, cooks, and housewives still prepare their meals in Griswold cast iron cooking dishes. Most of them refuse to replace them with contemporary cooking equipment because they disapprove of the theory that modern is better. Let’s discover the reason for their attitude.
History of Griswold Cast Iron
The origin of Griswold cookware dates back to 1865 when the Selden and Griswold families from Pennsylvania transformed a small family Butt Factory into the new business.
The founders were Matthew Griswold and his cousins J.C and Samuel Selden. In the beginning, they made door hinges. Soon after, in the 1870s, they expanded their business to dishes, which became the most respectful iron cast cookware all over the world very soon.
Since the original factory established in Erie, Pennsylvania, most cooking items you can find on the market have an ERIE mark at the bottom. In fact, the ERIE logo was the first one that they used for their cookware.
After Matthew Griswold paid off the Selden family in 1884, a horrible fire devastated the factory. Without hesitation, Mr. Griswold rebuilt the facilities and called the new business Griswold Manufacturing Company. Since then, it became very successful and got the status of one of the most respected companies for cast iron production in the US.
The overall success and accomplishments of this company lasted until 1957. From the founding to that moment, the Griswold Manufacturing Company supplied the Americans with a significant amount of most elegant iron casts pans, pots, waffle irons, and many other cooking pieces of equipment.
As the company grew and changed throughout the time, the logos and markings on the skillets, pots, and other cookware also changed. Although markings can be a bit confusing, logos are pretty straightforward, and you can connect them to years of manufacturing. Thus, they give us an accurate time perspective of the products this company made over time.
The first logo
As I have already mentioned, the ERIE logo was the first, and we can connect it with a period from 1880 to 1907. Many collectors love the first phase of iron cast cookware production, and they are willing to give a lot of money for items made in that period.
Griswold Erie logo
Next in line is Griswold Erie, well-known as the Griswold diamond logo. It was famous for only one year, and you can find it on cookware made from 1905 to 1906. Therefore, the items from that period are highly valuable and collectible.
The new change came from 1906 to 1916 when the items got a new look and famous circle-cross Slant Logo. The cross in the circle was printed on the dishes over a long period, while the ERIE sign appeared at only a limited series of skillets and pots.
It was not unusual that some logos overlapped in that period. Therefore, you can find another Slant Logo with EPU in the period from 1906 to 1926. The EPU is short for Erie, Pennsylvania, US. Until then, all the logos had the sign Erie, PA, US, but from then on, they got the short version EPU.
The absence of Erie sign
The change came once again in the period from 1909 to 1920. In that period, the company printed logos on the bottom without Erie sign. As you can see, that was the third variation for the same period.
Large block logo
From 1920 to 1939, people could find cookware with a large block logo and two different markings. The one from 1920 to1930 didn’t contain italic lettering. The other was circa large block logo from 1930 to 1939.
Somewhere in that period, the large block logo on the cookware without a heat ring appeared. Don’t worry if you have one of those. It is not fake but just another crazy variation.
Large slant logo Griswold
Large slant logo Griswold appeared somewhere between 1939 and 1944. The difference from other cookware was that they didn’t have a heat ring.
Small block logo
The last one is the small block logo. It was characteristic of Griswold iron cast cookware made in the period from 1939 to 1957.
Apart from logos, the Griswold iron cast pans and cooking items changed markings over time. Many experts and collectors agreed that they were not essential as they were part of the factory’s molds. They were not connected with the quality or uniqueness of the products.
Marks represented information about manufacturing. Thanks to them, you can determine how many items were made by the same worker, the number of molds, and the makings of different pots.
For example, AS was the mark for All-Star Pan, CF for Chicken Fryer, CK for Country Kettle, SK for Skillet, SP for Sauce Pan or Stew Pan, and so on.
Purpose of Griswold Cast Iron
Cooking at high temperatures is sometimes crucial to get crispy and crunch food. Griswold cast iron cookware can withstand high temperatures for a long time, and you can’t cool them down quickly. That means the frying oil will stay hot inside these dishes for a long time.
The advantage of these models is that they are far lighter than cast iron pans produced nowadays. Every experienced cooking expert will tell you how essential it is for the skillet to be light and practical. Since you need to make many moves and hold it in one hand while cooking, you will get tired soon if it is too heavy.
In the past, people were more practical as they had small kitchens, or they often moved from one place to another. That is why the Griswold pans were a bit deeper, and people used them as a fry pan and cooking pot at the same time. Nowadays, we can’t pack our modern households in just one cart. It is unbelievable, isn’t it?
Furthermore, the Griswold company was making pots, pans, and other items to match all kinds of heat sources. You can use them for cooking your meal on an open fire, on the electric burner, or an old-fashioned wood stove.
Keep in mind that the old-fashioned woodstoves used to have openings, and people could fit Griswold iron cast cookware there to cook food on an open fire. Also, these dishes were convenient for preparing food on a grill.
For all those reasons, you shouldn’t throw away the old Griswold cast iron pans if you have any. They can last in your family for generations if appropriately maintained.
Types of Griswold Cast Iron Cooking Items
The most spread and widely popular are Griswold cast iron pans and skillets. They are a synonym for the mouth-watering crispy food. The reason is that they are basically non-stick pans that can endure high temperatures necessary for frying.
However, they are not the only popular and highly appreciated items that Griswold offers. You can also find Griswold iron cast pots of different sizes, skillets, grinding mills, Dutch ovens, and waffle baking irons.
All of them are antiques, and you can either use them for cooking or display for the exhibit. Either way, they are popular cooking items that people gladly buy all around the world.
Sizing of Griswold Cast Iron Cooking Items
You can see different numbers on Griswold cast iron cookware. They represent various measures. The ones you can find on the handles show the size of the pot’s bottom diameter.
Keep in mind that people used the wood stoves with openings mainly made for this cookware. Therefore, the diameter is a measure of these openings. The stoves changed over time, but the skillets and pots didn’t. So, the numeration stayed the same as it used to be.
The recommendation is to use your ruler to detect the pan or pot’s actual size as they can be different from the bottom to the top. For example, the mark for a 12-inch Lodge skillet is L10SK3. According to the manufacturer, the L10SK3 fitted with the number 10 stove opening. Therefore, you should measure desired cookware yourself and buy accordingly.
The value and practicality of owning an original Griswold iron cast item will pay off once you start using it. It is a valuable part of American people’s heritage and history, but you can also earn some money if you stumble on this type of cookware on your attic or basement.