Skillets are the workhorses of the kitchen, used morning, noon, and night to cook up everything from bacon and eggs to dirty rice. Accordingly, skillets are typically built to take almost non-stop use, with cast iron being a favorite medium for manufacturers.

In the second half of the 19th century, one particularly legendary cast-iron cookware maker was Griswold Manufacturing Company. Based in Erie, Pennsylvania, Griswold made its first skillets in 1865. Dating Griswold skillets, which were produced in a range of sizes (from #6 to #12), can be tricky because so many different marks on the bottoms of Griswold pans were produced concurrently.

For example, the word ERIE or “ERIE” was stamped on the bottoms of Griswold skillets through 1909, but in 1874, Griswold also began to combine the stamped word ERIE with a depiction of a spider in a web. Skillets with such markings were only made until 1905, so they are relatively scarce.

A skillet with an unblemished spider and web is especially difficult to find because the design was raised rather than incised, which means it was susceptible to wear from contact with stovetops and other surfaces.

Two other pre-1900 Griswold logos were launched in 1884. One squeezed the word ERIE inside a horizontal diamond, while the other branded the skillet as GRISWOLD’S “ERIE.” And then, in 1897, the first of the famous Griswold cross logos appeared. These were produced until 1957, in a slanted font until around 1920 and a blocky font thereafter.

Griswold skillets produced after 1940, which generally have small or medium-sized crosses on their bottoms, are not collectible since the metal used in casting is deemed inferior to that which had come before.

Another major manufacturer of cast-iron skillets is the French firm Le Creuset, which was founded in 1925. Production was interrupted during World War II (the German army seized ...

Although the casting techniques used by Griswold and Le Creuset were virtually identical, the finishes on skillets by each company could not be more different. Griswold skillets were tough and utilitarian, with no effort made to disguise the material used in their manufacture. Le Creuset skillets, of course, are enameled in bright colors on the outside (orange is the classic) and matte black on the inside, giving them a more polished appearance than trusty Griswolds.

Copper was another material used to make skillets. Some had handles made of Delft china, others like those made by Philippe LaFrance were copper clad with tinned insides. Vintage Revere Ware skillets from the postwar years were also copper clad—look for square Revere skillets with matching square lids.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Feeding America

Feeding America

This archive of 76 influential American cookbooks from the late 1700s to early 1900s, assembled by the Michigan St… [read review or visit site]

Tupper Diva

Tupper Diva

Kristian McManus’ fresh, airtight collection of Tupperware catalogs and related ephemera from the 1950s and 6… [read review or visit site]



Most watched eBay auctions    

Antique Cast Iron Axford ? Rare Griddle 3 Leaf Clover Pancake Skillet Vintage Griswold Cast Iron Skillet #12- Large Block Logo – Erie, Pa- P/n 719 Antique Cast Iron D.e. Sanford Clover Griddle Skillet Rare Pancake L.a S.f ShapeGriswold Erie #10 716 B Cast Iron Skillet W/matching #10 1100 A Lid Flat 10Griswold Cast Iron Skillet Lid #9 Large Block Logo Cast Iron Easy Clean RareVintage Wapak Early Logo # 11 Cast Iron Skillet 1903-1910Griswold Cast Iron Skillet Griddle Lot Of 3#8 #5 #7 Skillets Small Block Logo#5 Griswold Cast Iron SkilletGriswold #12 Cast Iron Skillet Large Logo Heat Ring"nice" Wagner Ware No. 1403 A Cast Iron 5 Star Skillet Set Circa 1941 W/ LidGriswold #14 Cast Iron Skillet Large Block Heat Ring 718 Flat Seasoned RareGriswold Erie Large Block Logo Lot Cast Iron Skillets 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Skillet LblAntique Vintage Cast Iron Wagner Ware Chef Skillet 1386 A Fryer 9 InchGriswold Size 108 Cast Iron Skillet Griddle P/n 201 Circa 1930's Clean Seasoned"nice" 1944 Griswold Size 8 Cast Iron Skillet 704 & Matching Cover Lid 1098Vintage 1903 - 1910 Wapak Cast Iron Skillet Outer Heat Ring Light UseGriswold Cast Iron Skillet Griddle 6 3 109 202 Skillets Small Block LogoVintage Griswold Cast Iron Skillet #7 Large Block Logo – Erie, Pa- P/n 701-h Wagner-griswold Cast Iron Skillet #14 - No Logo- Stamp- 15 ¼” On BottomLarge Vintage 15" Cast Iron Skillet. U.s. #14. Sits Flat. Vintage Griswold 1099 Size # 9 Cast Iron Skillet Cover Lid,seasoned,erie Pa.Griswold No 9 Slant Logo Erie Pa Usa Cast Iron Skillet- Cleaned & SeasonedRare Original Wapak Indian Head Logo Bottom Number # 4 Cast Iron Pan Skillet Vintage Beautiful Griswold Cast Iron #12 Skillet 719d Small Block LogoVintage Griswold Cast Iron # 10 Small Logo Skillet P/n 716 AChicago Hardware Foundry 87xe Hammered Cast Iron Skillet And LidVintage 1960's Unmarked Wagner Ware Square Usa Skillet Cast Iron Cookware PanSidney 12" X 2-1/2" Cast Iron Skillet Pan B1046Vintage Cast Iron Skillet #10 A Antique Cast Iron No. 12 Skillet Lid Fryer Large Birmingham Stove Spider 3 LegRare Griswold Cast Iron # 9 Large Block Slant Logo Skillet W/ Heat Ring 710 BFavorite Piqua Ware Miami #7 Cast Iron Skillet Heat Ring Cleaned SeasonedGriswold Cast Iron Skillet, No. 5 W/large Block/erie Pa Logo, Smooth Bottom 724Griswold No 7 Self Basting Skillet CoverVintage Cast Iron "wagner Ware Chef Skillet 9", C/n 1386 B.Griswold #7 Cast Iron Skillet With Block Erie Pa Logo 701 D Flat BottomGriswold Large Logo Slant Letter #3 Cast Iron Skillet 709b "erie" Heat RingVintage Wagner Ware # 14 Cast Iron Skillet With Heat Ring 1064Le Creuset 2 In 1 Pot & Pan Skillet Combo 3.75 Quart Red Enamel Multifunction Vintage Le Creuset Made In France White Enamel Cast Iron Skillet #16 Frying Pan Vintage Griswold 736 6 Cast Iron Pancake Griddle Flat Skillet Script Logo ErieVintage Griswold No. 9 Cast Iron Self Basting Skillet CoverAntique Vintage Erie Pre Griswold 9" Cast Iron Griddle Shallow Skillet Fajita Vintage Griswold #10 Cast Iron Skillet- Large Logo P/n 716aAll Clad C2 Copper Fry Pan Skillet 10 Inch New SecondGriswold No 7 Button Logo Skillet CoverGriswold Cast Iron Skillet # 9 Erie Pa 710c - Cleaned And SeasonedHaving A Cast Party? Lot Cast Iron: Skillets, Dutch Oven, More--some VintageGriswold No. 10,self Basting Skillet Cover, Yellow Enamel, 470Antique Griswold No 8 Cast Iron Skillet High Base Waffle Maker Vintage Griswold 610 10 Cast Iron Pancake Griddle Flat Skillet Block Logo ErieGriswold,s ( Iron Mountain Low Dome Skillet Lid Cast Iron Pn/ 1090Rare - Older Antique Cast Iron Skillet W/pour Spout & 3 Button Legs,vintage Tool#10 Wagner Cast Iron Skillet And Glass LidAntique Vintage Cast Iron No. 4 Small Fryer Skillet Heat Ring 1 Notch Lodge ? Griswold # 12 Skillet 719d Erie Pa. 14 5/16 In. Across#10 Griswold, 716, Cast Iron Skillet, Block, Flat Bottom, Large Logo, CleanGriswold Cast Iron Large Slant Logo #8 Skillet#10 Best Made S.r. & Co. Sears Griswold 11 5/8" Cast Iron Skillet 1240 20's-30'sLe Creuset Blue Enamel Cast Iron 12" Skillet Dual Spout W/ Grip - #30 - Blue