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    

Htf Griswold Erie #2 Cast Iron Skillet Block Logo 100% Level & Griswold Pup NrImmaculate #11 "erie" Cast Iron Skillet W/ Strong Heat Ring Pre Griswold Beauty!Rare & Htf Griswold #2 Large Logo With Heat Ring Cast Iron SkilletGriswold Cast Iron With Lid Skillet No 12 Erie Us Pa., 472 Erie 719d Skillet#11 Griswold Cast Iron Skillet W/ Large Block Logo & Strong Heat Ring Very NiceRare Griswold Large Cast Iron Square Fry Skillet Cover #769 Erie No Reserve Griswold #8 2528/2598 Cast Iron Chicken Fryer Deep Skillet Hinged Lid Usa Made#10 Griswold Cast Iron Skillet, Large Logo, Block, Erie Pa., Usa, 716 Griswold Cast Iron #5 Large Logo Skillet With Heat Ring €Rare Griswold #13 Cast Iron Skillet Scarce Wagner 11 Skillet, Pie Logo, (p.n. 1061) Cleaned And Seasoned#14 Wagner Ware Cast Iron Skillet W/ Finger Loop Excellent Strong Smoke Ring NrBig Griswold #12 Cast Iron Skillet Fry Pan Large Block Logo Heat Ring Excellent!Griswold Lodge Bsr Wagner Cast Iron Skillet Heat Ring 5 6 8 10 1/2" GriddlePre-griswold"erie" #9 Postage Stamp Nice SkilletRare "patent Applied For" Griswold #9 Cast Iron Skillet Lid CoverGriswold #10 Cast Iron Skillet, Block Logo, Heat RingErie Pre-griswold Vintage Cast Iron Skillet Pan # 8 704aLe Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Maroon Burgundy Red France 26 Fry Pan Skillet Griswold Cast Iron Skillet #14 - Large Logo W/heat Ring Cleaned And Seasoned Rare Antique 12 Griswold Cast Iron Skillet Heat Ring Large Logo Erie Vintage PanVintage 10" Griswold Skillet Griddle 108 Large Block Logo Cast Iron Cookware 201 Antique Griswold Cast Iron # 8 "erie" Logo Skillet W/ Heat Ring P/n 704 GWapak ~ Vintage 10.75" Cast Iron "indian Head" Skillet W/heat Ring (#9) ~ OhioAntique Vintage Huge Cast Iron Unmarked Wagner? 14" Skillet #12 Milling Marks Vintage Wagner Ware Cast Iron Skillet Frying Pan LotVintage Griswold 6 Cast Iron Skillet & Cover - Self Basting LidGriswold #14 Cast Iron SkilletVintage Wapak Cast Iron #9 Logo Skillet With Heat Ring €Griswold #12 Cast Iron Skillet W / Heat Ring, Erie Pa. 719d Small Logo Vintage No 10 Cast Iron Griswold Small Logo Late Handle Skillet ~~!~~#12 Griswold Cast Iron Skillet, Large Logo, Block, 719, Smoke Ring, Erie,pa.usa Vintage Griswold Cast Iron # 9 Large Logo Skillet P/n 710 KGriswold No.7 Cast Iron Skillet - Very Clean - Seasoned - Sits Flat - 10" Diam Griswold Enamel Cast Iron Breakfast Skillet#9 Griswold Erie Cast Iron Skillet, Large Slant Logo, Heat Ring, Great ConditionGriswold Cast Iron Square Utility Skillet #768 €Griswold Cast Iron # 8 Deep Pan Chicken Skillet Fryer Hinged Lid 2528Griswold Cast Iron #9 Erie Pa Usa 11 Inch Large Frying Pan Skillet & Wax Ladle!Griswold Colonial 3 Section Breakfast SkilletMartin Stove & Range #9 Cast Iron SkilletGriswold #3 Cast Iron Skillet Block Erie Pa Usa Logo & Smoke Ring 709b ExcellentGriswold #8 High Dome Full Mark Cast Iron Skillet Lid Or Cover - 1048No. 8 Griswold Cast Iron Skillet/raised Letter LidOld Antique Vintage Us Military # 14 Cast Iron Skillet Army Navy MarineIron Mountain #8 Deep Cast Iron Chicken Frying Pan & Skillet Lid By GriswoldLe Creuset France #30 Skillet Frying Grilling Pan 12" Enameled Cast Iron-brown Griswold Deep #8 Cast Iron Large Block Logo Skillet Or Chicken Pan €Vintage Griswold 10 Skillet - 716b - With SpoutsAntique Vintage Cast Iron No Name #9 Skillet With Heat Ring Flat NiceVintage Wagner Ware 1101a14 Bacon And Egg Cast Iron Breakfast Skillet Sydney OVintage Wagner Ware Sidney Hs-1053 Cast Iron Skillet With 2 Pour Spouts NrVintage Wagner Ware Sidney O Cast Iron 9" Square Skillet 1103d No 80 Griswold Hinged Double Skillet/chicken Fryer #1102a/1103 Vintage Griswold Cast Iron # 9 Skillet P/n 710 DLe Creuset Blue/grey Skillet#23 8 1/2 By 1 3/4Lodge Cast Iron 5 Piece Skillet Set 48203Vintage Antique Wagner Sidney 0 Fry Pan Skillet # 11Griswold Cast Iron #9 Large Block Logo Skillet €Le Creuset Cast Iron Enamel Grill Skillet No. 30 Near Mint 12" Black