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    

Rare Antique Griswold Erie Spider Logo Cast Iron Skillet Pan - Very NiceOriginal Griswold No 666 Cast Iron Colonial Breakfast Square Divided Skillet YqzErie No. 8 Cast Iron Skillet Heat Ring - Pre Griswold Makers Mark Anchor LogoGriswold No.10 Large Slant Erie Logo Cast Iron Skillet Pn 716b Restored RareOriginal Griswold No 768 Cast Iron Square Utility Skillet Cookware Marked #1 YqzRare #10 Iron Mountain Pan By Griswold, 1083, Cast Iron Skillet Seasoned & FlatVery Rare Lodge Americana Cast Iron Skillet Statue Of Liberty Vintage Wagner Ware #5 Cast Iron Skillet W/ Rare Lid Seasoned And Sits FlatVintage Griswold Cast Iron Skillet Advertising Store Display RackWagner Sidney O #10 Cast Iron Skillet 1910-1915 Heat Ring Straight Logo RareGriswold Cast Iron #12 Large Block Logo Skillet With Heat Ring Pn 719"nice" 1920 Griswold Size 9 Cast Iron Skillet # 710 & Matching Cover Lid 1049#10 Griswold Cast Iron Skillet W/ Raised Letter Lid Large Block Logo Erie Pa Usa#12 Sidney "script" Cast Iron Skillet W/ Heat Ring Hollow Ware Smooth & CleanVtg Wagner Ware Drip Drop No 12 Skillet Cover 1072 A Cast Iron Lid # 12Lodge No. 7 Cast Iron Skillet Lid - Raised Letters On Lid & Basting Bullets Antique Vintage Griswold Cast Iron Frypan Skillet No. 10 716e Erie Pa1920's #6 Griswold Cast Iron Skillet Lid Green Porcelain Erie PaCast Iron Shallow Skillet Three Hole HandleNear Mint #7 "erie" Pre Griswold Cast Iron Skillet W/ Heat Ring Extremely SmoothGriswold Cast Iron Skillet No. 8 Large Block Logo - Epu Restored Nice!Griswold Cast Iron # 108 Skillet Griddle1920-30s *griswold 14" Cast Iron Skillet *large Logo *erie Pa Usa 718 *heat RingOld Griswold No 12 Cast Iron Skillet 719d, 1 7/8" Block Mark Vtg. Griswold Cast Iron Skillet With CoverWagner Ware No. 2a Cast Iron Skillet Stylized Logo Wagner Ware 2a Skillet FrypanVintage Cast Iron Wagner National Skillet #9 Sits Flat W/ Heat Ring SeasonedGriswold #9 Wood Handle Skillet # 727 ANice Indian Head #3 Cast Iron Skillet Wapak Hollow Ware Crisp Logo No ReserveVintage Wagner Ware 14" Large #12 Cast Iron Skillet 1062 AGriswold #4 Cast Iron Skillet Large Block Epu Logo Restored Nice!# 1 Favorite Piquaware Toy Skillet#14 Griswold Cast Iron Skillet As Is Erie Pa #718bAntique Pre Griswold Erie No. 9 Cast Iron SkilletVintage "erie' No. 8 Pre-griswold Cast Iron Skillet With Heat RingWagner No. 9 Drip Drop Cast Iron Skillet Cover (lid)Griswold Skillet #5, Large Block Logo#12 Sidney Cast Iron Skillet W/ Heat Ring Smooth Level Original Milling MarksGriswold Cast Iron Skillet No. 7 Large Block Slant Logo - Restored Nice!Griswold Colonial Breakfast Skillet Erie Pa Rare Red & Cream Enamel Lodge 3 Notch Cast Iron Skillet Wildlife Series Flying Mallard Duck 8-1/8"Griswold No. 5 Large Logo Cast Iron Skillet Smooth Bottom Restored 724bCollectable Limited Edition Lodge Cast Iron Skillet Great Smokey Mountains 2016Antique Number 8 Cast Iron Dutch Oven Skillet With LidRare Griswold Cast Iron Square Skillet No. 2108 #768 Griswold Square Utility Cast Iron Skillet Erie PaPre-griswold "erie" #7 Cast Iron SkilletUnmarked Lodge Logo Advertising Cast Iron Skillet With Cloverleaf 4h Never UsedGriswold Cast Iron #8 Small Logo Smooth Top Skillet Cover Lid Pn 1098Vintage Antique Cast Iron Wagner Ware Sidney O 1062 Skillet #12Griswold Cast Iron Slant Logo "erie" Smoke Ring Skillet Number 5 Very Nice!Rare Mackenzie Childs Cookware Courtly Check Large Skillet With Lid No Reserve!Vintage Griswold Cast Iron 7 Inch Frying Pan Skillet #4Griswold Cast Iron Skillet #3, Erie Large Slant Logo 709 Rare PieceVintage The Favorite Cast Iron #8 Skillet W/ Heat Ring 10 1/2"Griswold Cast Iron Slant Logo "erie" Smoke Ring Skillet Number 9 Very Nice!Vintage Griswold #8 Large Slant Logo Cast Iron Skillet / Heat Ring "very Nice"Vintage 8 Griswold Cast Iron Skillet Frying Pan 704 S Large Logo Heat Ring UsaVintage Griswold Cast Iron Skillet Frying Pan Griddle #7 Erie, Pa Usa MadeOld #8 "erie" Pre Griswold Cast Iron Skillet W/ Heat Ring No Reserve #704e