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 No# 13 # 1012 Griswold Erie Pa. Cast Iron Big Logo Oval Fish Skillet Rare Original Griswold Erie No # 11 Big Logo Skillet Cover Lid Cast Iron # 472 Nice Griswold Erie No # 11 # 717 Big Logo Heat Smoke Ring Skillet Pan Cast Iron Original Griswold Erie No # 12 Big Logo Skillet Cover Lid Cast Iron # 472Circa 1934 Favorite Cook Ware #3 Cast Iron Skillet Chicago Hdwe Fdry Co (piqua)Vintage Wapak Cast Iron #8 Skillet Indian Logo Hollow Ware High GradeAntique Cast Iron Griswold #8 Chicken Pan Skillet W/ 1098 High Cover Lid Erie PaColonial Griswold Breakfast Skillet 666 Erie Square Cast Iron Frying Pan VintageVintage Griswold #9 (609d) Cast Iron Griddle/skillet Large Block Logo Very Nice!Vintage Griswold 12" Cast Iron Skillet Frying Pan Logo & Erie On The Bottom Vintage Griswold Cast Iron # 4 Large Logo Skillet P/n 702Two Griswold Cast Iron Skillets - Large Logo Set: #8 And #9Vintage Griswold No 108 Cast Iron Skillet Griddle 201 AGriswold #12 Pan Heat Ring Small Logo Block 719d Cast Iron Erie Pa Skillet 13"Favorite Piqua Ware # 9 Cast Iron Skillet LidGriswold 699 Skillet 9" Vintage Cast Iron Fry PanGriswold #9 Cast Iron Skillet 710 CAntique Wagner Ware Sidney 0 Square Cast Iron Camp Fire Old Skillet Pan Fryer Antique Cast Iron Skillet, No.8 & 9 Unique Handle -uncleaned Condition - OldLodge #5 Arc Logo Cast Iron Double Spout Skillet 1925/1930's Vintage Fry PanNumber 13a Wagner Cast Iron Skillet Heat RingGriswold Erie #10 716 B Cast Iron Skillet W/large Logo, Block Letters, Heat Ring Griswold Yellow Enamel 8 & 468 Cast Iron Skillet And CoverGriswold Skillet Lid #1099a Nice Vintage Favorite Piqua Ware No.8 Cast Iron Skillet Griswold Cast Iron Skillet # 14 Erie #11 Cast Iron Skillet Pattern Number 717c Heat RingV. Rare Cast Iron Skillet Sidney Hollow Ware #10 Arc Logo 1800' S 11.5"x 2.5" Nice Vintage Griswold Cast Iron Aebleskiver Skillet No 32 962 A 9 3/8" DiameterVintage Cast Iron Griswold No. 7 Skillet, Erie, Pa U.s.a. 701 J Big Block LogoGriswold 8'' Cast Iron Skillet Erie Pa. Usa 704 HGriswold – No. 4 Cast Iron Skillet – Large Logo #702aVintage Wagner Ware Cast Iron 9" Bacon & Egg Breakfast Skillet 1101 OldGriswold No. 8 704 J Skillet- Large Slant Logo - Heat Ring - Erie - Cast IronVintage Cast Iron Griswold Small Logo Erie Pa. 704 S #8 Skillet Frying PanGriswold 4 Cast Iron Skillet PanGriswold Cast Iron #9 Large Slant Logo With Heat Ring 3 Spout SkilletVintage Favorite Piqua Ware #9 Cast Iron Skillet Miami Diamond LogoNo. 4 Griswold Castiron Skillet- Small Block Logo - Erie PaGriswold #7 Cast Iron Skillet 2507aAntique/vintage "sidney" #6 Cast Iron Skillet - Nice!# 7 " Erie " (griswold) Skillet With Pattern Makers MarkVictor Griswold Erie Pa. #9 Skillet Set Of Three Griswold Skillets With Small Logo Grooved Handles # 3, # 5 & # 8Old Wapak Hollow Ware Embossed Indian No. 9 Skillet Pan W/ Fire RingGriswold Cast Iron Skillet,#0 562 Vintage Griswold Cast Iron # 8 Large Logo Skillet P/n 704 DGriswold No. 11 Self Basting Skillet Cover Pat. Sept. 22. 1925 Lid Very NiceGriswold # 108 P/n 201 Cast Iron Skillet Griddle Large Block Logo Vintage Large Lodge Cast Iron Wok Pan Skillet Fry 12 3/4" Across X 3 1/2" DeepVintage Cast Iron Griswold Deep Fry Skillet Nickel PlatedVintage Griswold #8 Cast Iron Skillet Pn#704 Large Logo Smooth BottomVintage Griswold Cast Iron # 8 Large Logo Skillet P/n 704 W Nice Ready To Use NrWagner Favorite Piqua Ware #3 Cast Iron SkilletVintage Griswold No. 11 Cast Iron Skillet 717 Large Logo With Heat Ring Nice!# 10 Griswold Skillet With Heat Ring (erie Pa) Merit Logo P/n 1506 Good ConditiTwo (2) Griswold Erie Pa " Good Health " Skillets # 6 & # 7 Very Good ConditionVintage Griswold No 8 Cast Iron Skillet 704 JVintage Descoware Belgium Markley Yellow Cast Iron 11" Skillet FrypanGriswold Large Logo Cast Iron Skillet 724c Size #5 Erie, Pa Usa