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    

Vintage (unmarked) Wagner Ware No. 12 - 14" Cast Iron SkilletVintage Griswold Cast Iron Skillet #14 718 15" Erie, Pa, Usa"erie" (griswold) 710g No.9 Cast Iron Skillet 12 1/4" X 2 1/4" Cleaned ExcellentGriswold Victor Cast Iron Skillet #5Vintage Griswold "victor" Cast Iron Skillet No 8 P/n 722 W/heat Ring Griswold #14 Iron Skillet 718 Large Logo Lays Flat Awesome Untouched ConditionGriswold Cast Iron Skillet Set No. 7 And No. 8 Vintage Griswold Cast Iron Skillet Griddle #109 Erie Pa. 202h W/pour SpoutsGriswold #12 Large Block Logo W/heat Ring Skillet No. 719 Erie Pa. You CleanSet Of 3 Griswold Skillets With Large Block Logo # 3, # 5 & # 8 Vintage Griswold #4, 702a, Skillet, Large Logo, Flat Bottom, Block LettersGriswold No. 6 Cast Iron Skillet Large Block Logo Smooth Bottom 699 JGriswold Iron Mountain Size # 7 Skillet 1032 10 In. Excellent Clean & Seasoned Le Creuset France Orange Red Cast Iron Oval Griddle Skillet No. 32Fine Antique Erie Cast Iron Skillet #8 Pre-griswold 707Vintage Cast Iron No.9 Skillet W,single Spout !!Vintage Griswold Square Egg Cast Iron Skillet- 129a- Nice ConditionGriswold #5 Cast Iron Skillet Pn 724c With Matching Cover Pn 1095 Griswold #6 Large Logo Cast Iron Skillet Pn 699g With Self Basting Cover Pn 109 Vintage Wagnerware Sydney -o- Cast Iron Bacon Skillet With Bacon Press 1103Vintage Griswold Cast Iron Skillet Lot Vintage Griswold 11 Cast Iron Tite Top Dutch Oven Cover Lid A2554 Skillet LidGriswold – Cast Iron #5 Small Block Logo Skillet Vintage Griswold Cast Iron Skillet, Erie Pa, No. 14, Pn 718bLot Of 3 Cast Iron Griswold #7 Iron Mountain 1032 Heat Ring SkilletAntique # 1 Bridgeford & Co Cast Iron Spider Skillet Lid Louisville, Ky RareVintage Griswold No. 768 Square Utility Skillet Erie PaEarly G F Filley Skillet Or Dutch Oven Cover #3 / Nores!!Erie #11 Cast Iron Skillet 717-aVinage #1257 Griswold Cast Iron Best Made Square Bacon And Egg Fryer SkilletErie No. 8 704c Cast Iron Skillet Heat Ring No WobbleVintage / Antique Well Cast 14 Inch 12b Cast Iron Double Spout W Tab Skillet VgcGriswold 12 Cast Iron SkilletLodge Cast Iron Skillet Smoky Mtn CollectorCast Iron Frying Pan 14" Skillet2 Pc Le Creuset France Cast Iron Blue Enamel 2 In 1 Sauce Pan Pot Skillet Lid 18Martin Stove & Range Company Vintage Early Cast Iron Skillet (#2876)Vintage Le Creuset France 30 12" Cherry Flame Red Enameled Pan Cast Iron SkilletGriswold Cast Iron Skillet 6 Vintage 9" Chef SkilletAntique G F Filley Cast Iron #2 Skillet Lid / As FoundGriswold Cast Iron # 8 Chicken Pan Deep Skillet/self Basting Skillet CoverGriswald Cast Iron #10 Skillet Lid Dated 1925Vintage Griswold Cast Iron # 12 Small Logo Skillet P/n 719 BVintage 11" Unmarked Wagner? Cast Iron Deep Chicken Fryer Skillet + Lid-nice!Vtg Club Aluminum Pink 10" Skillet /frypan / Frying Pan *rare* Retro Htf ColorGriswold No 34 Cast Iron Swedish Pancake Skillet Griswold No.4 Cast Iron Skillet Fry Pan Erie, Pa 702 C 7 3/4" S/s X 1 5/8" ExGriswold #4 Cast Iron Skillet, Large Logo, 702, 1920-1940Vintage Griswold Cast Iron Skillet #6 Erie Pa. 699 B With Heat RingVintage Ozark Crescent Fdy Co. St Lois Mo 258 #8 Cast Iron Skillet W/ Heat RingWagner Ware Sidney -0- 1268 Cast Iron Dutch Oven Plus A Square Skillet Vintage Griswold Erie Cast Iron Skillet #7 10" Heat Ring Old!! SeasonedCast Iron Skillet #10 W/smoke RingGriswold Victor Cast Iron Skillet #6Griswold Victor Cast Iron Skillet # 9Griswold Cast Iron Skillet #3, Erie Large Slant Logo 709 Extremely Rare PieceGriswold Cast Iron Skillet, No. O, Large Block Logo, Erie, Pa Heat Ring Pn 562 Griswold #8 Cast Iron Skillet 704p Erie Pa. Usa Vintage Frying Pan5-vintage Cast Iron Corn Bread Mold Skillet Muffin Pans