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    

Martin Stove & Range Co No. 8 Cast Iron Deep 3" Chicken Fryer Skillet With LidGriswold No.12 Cast Iron Skillet Lbl Epu P/n 719 Heat Ring Large Block Logo ErieGriswold No 10 Cast Iron Skillet 716 BUnmarked Wagner Ware Cast Iron Deep Chicken Fryer W/ Lid Beautiful SkilletWapak Indian Head Medallion # 5 Cast Iron Skillet 1903-1926Birmingham Stove And Range Cast Iron Skillet #14 Bsr Heat Ring Seasoned & FlatGriswold Erie No.12 Cast Iron Skillet P/n 719 Small Block Logo Sbl SeasonedPre-griswold "erie" #8 704 B Heat Ring Sits Flat Seasoned Cast Iron SkilletGriswold Cast Iron Skillet # 12 P/n 719 With Slant Logo And Heat RingPre-griswold Cast Iron #9 Second Series "erie" Skillet With Heat Ring"erie" (artistic Logo ) Griswold 4th Series 710 A Skillet No. 9 Circa 1905 RareGriswold Cast Iron Skillet Griddle107 Slant Logo, Heat Ring, Great ConditionWagner Ware #8 Cast Iron Skillet 1058 Outside Heat Ring W/ Lid Cover SeasonedPre Griswold Beautiful "erie" No. 10 Cast Iron Skillet Rare # 8 Erie Pre Griswold Griddle/skillet With 3 Hole Handle Cast Iron Griswold #108 Skillet Griddle Large Logo -black Cast IronGriswold No. 11 Erie 717 Cast Iron Skillet Heat Ring Large Block LogoGriswold Cast Iron Oval Skillet Fryer No. 15 1013 Erie, Pa Usa Large BlockVictor Cast Iron Skillet Lot 7, 8, & No. 9 P/n 721, 722, 723 Heat Ring SeasonedPre-griswold Cast Iron #8 Second Series "erie" Skillet With Heat Ring#8 Griswold Skillet #704 O With Rare Self Basting #468 Large Letter On Top Lid Griswold No 8 Cast Iron Skillet 704 HGriswold Cast Iron Skillet Skillets 2pc #8 And #10.99 Start Bid- Original Griswold #8 Cast Iron Skillet Lg Block Erie Pa 704lGriswold Cast Iron #4 Large Block Logo Smooth Bottom Skillet Pn 702Griswold Cast Iron #9 Large Block Logo Smooth Bottom Skillet Pn 710Victor, #7, Cast Iron, Pn. 721, Griswold Skillet Heat Ring Seasoned FlatGreat #14 Griswold Large Block Cast Iron Pan Skillet 15 ½”Lodge Cast Iron Skillet 20sk, 20 Inch SkilletFancy Handle Gate Marked 13 Inch # 10 Cast Iron Skillet Heat Ring Rare Unmarked Unknown Cast Iron #8 Skillet Pan Outer Heat Ring Cleaned Seasoned Griswold 14 474a Cast Iron Skillet Cover"restored!" Griswold #6,8,9 Slant Logo Cast Iron Heat Ring SkilletGriswold #8 Cast Iron Skillet Large Block Logo W/ Self Basting Lid High Dome LblGriswold Slant Epu #3 Skillet With High Dome Lid Cast IronGriswold #10 Large Block Logo Cast Iron Skillet Pattern 716Vtg Revere Ware 8" Copper Bottom Fry Pan Skillet With Egg Poacher InsertGriswold "erie" #6 Cast Iron Skillet Large Slant Logo 699 E W/ Heat Ring Fry Pan True Vintage Wagner Ware 1220 Cast Iron Square Skillet 11" Excellent Condition!#8 Griswold 704m Cast Iron Skillet Large Logo, Slant, Heat Ring, CleanGriswold Cast Iron #5 Large Block Logo Smooth Bottom Skillet Pn 724Griswold Cast Iron #3 Small Logo SkilletVintage Griswold #8 Cast Iron Skillet & Low Dome Self Basting Lid Large BlockExc Pre Griswold No. 8 Erie Skillet W/heat Ring And Anchor StampVintage Griswold No. 8 Small Logo Cast Iron Skillet 704s 10 1/2" Frying Pan Griswold Cast Iron #9 Large Block Logo Fully Marked Skillet Cover Low Dome Griswold Cast Iron Skillet Frying Pan #5 724b Large Block Logo - Restored Griswold No. 9 Cast Iron Skillet 710-i, Small Logo, Smooth Bottom, Groove HandleGriswold Cast Iron Skillet # 5 P/n 724c With Large Block LogoVintage No. 6 Erie, Pa. Griswold 699 Cast Iron Skillet Fry Pan ~small Logo~Rare Griswold # 8 Deep Skillet ( Pn 732 )Wapak ( Indian Head Cast Iron Skillet Great Condition - Great LogoAntique Vintage Erie No. 11 Cast Iron Skillet 717bGriswold Cast Iron Square Egg Skillet #53 Cleaned And Seasoned FlatVintage Hammered Cast Iron Frying Pan Skillet Chicago Hardware Foundry Chf 8_5c Griswold Cast Iron #8 Large Block Logo Smooth Bottom Skillet Pn 704Rare Favorite Piqua 9 Extra Deep Cast Iron Skillet Diamond A Logo Chicken FryerVintage Le Creuset #18 Cast Iron With Skillet Lid#8 Griswold, Cast Iron Skillet, Bbl/epu/,pn 704 P, Ex.cond.,nr!Cast Iron Skillet Combo Top Lid Cooker Dutch Oven Pan Griddle Chicken Fryer Flat