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 Cast Iron Skillet 10 Large Block Logo Cleaned Seasoned VintageGriswold No 10 Cast Iron Skillet 716 BPre-griswold "erie" #8 704 B Heat Ring Sits Flat Seasoned Cast Iron SkilletVintage Griswold 869 Odorless Skillet Pat. October 17, 1893 Fry PanAntique Cast Iron Pre Griswold Erie No 10 Skillet W Heat Ring VintageGriswold #5 Skillet & High Dome Lid Large Logo -nickel PlatedGriswold #8 Cast Iron Skillet Large Block Logo W/ Self Basting Lid High Dome Lbl" Erie " # 11 Skillet ( Pre - Griswold )"erie" (artistic Logo ) Griswold 4th Series 710 A Skillet No. 9 Circa 1905 RareVintage Enamel Coated Iron Skillet - Aqua Color -le Creuset France~uncommon~ Griswold #9 Cast Iron Skillet Slant Logo No Erie/epu Fully Restored!!Griswold #10 Slant Epu Deep Chicken Fryer Cast Iron Skillet Erie Pa Griswold No.12 Cast Iron Skillet Lbl Epu P/n 719 Heat Ring Large Block Logo ErieGriswold Cast Iron #10 Large Block Logo Smooth As Glass In Side Skillet Pn 716# 10 Griswold 716 Cast Iron Skillet#11 Griswold Cast Iron Skillet Heat Ring, Large Logo, Block, Fully RestoredGriswold No. 0 Cast Iron Fry Pan Skillet 562 - Erie Pa, UsaWapak N0. 9 Indian Head Logo Heat Ring Cast Iron Skillet Hollow WareGriswold #8 Skillet Large Logo And High Dome Lid -black Cast IronUnmarked Wagner Ware Cast Iron Deep Chicken Fryer W/ Lid Beautiful SkilletCast Iron Lot Skillet Of 4 Heat Ring Bsr Wagner Lodge Seasoned 8 3Antique Erie Pre Griswold 8 Cast Iron Skillet Pan Heat Ring Flat Pa Usa VtgVintage Antique Griswold #10 Skillet Large Logo 716 A Nickel Plated Duro ChromeWagner Ware Pie Logo #13 Cast Iron Skillet 1063 With Heat RingGriswold Iron Mountain 10 Cast Iron Skillet Heat Ring Cleaned Seasoned SmoothGriswold #8 Cast Iron Skillet Large Block Logo W/ Self Basting Lid Low Dome Lbl#10 Cast Iron Skillet- Griswold?- Made In Usa- 11 3/4 In. SkilletWagner #2 Cast Iron Skillet Wertz Singer Middletown O...fully Restored ConditionBirmingham Stove And Range Cast Iron Skillet #14 Bsr Heat Ring Seasoned & FlatWagner "sidney" #12 Cast Iron Skillet Straight Logo 1910-1920 Fully Restored!!!!Griswold #108 Skillet Griddle Large Logo -black Cast IronVintage National Wagner Ware # 8 Cast Iron 10 " Skillet (does Not Say Wagner)Vintage Griswold 704 A ? Cast Iron Fry Pan No. 8, 10 1/2" Frying Skillet CookingVintage Cast Iron Griswold No.10 Self Basting Skillet Cover #1050 Nickel Plated Victor Cast Iron Skillet Lot 7, 8, & No. 9 P/n 721, 722, 723 Heat Ring SeasonedWagner Ware #8 Cast Iron Skillet 1058 Outside Heat Ring W/ Lid Cover SeasonedVintage Cast Iron Wagner Ware Chicken Fryer Skillet Frying Pan # 8Wapak N0. 8 Indian Head Logo Heat Ring Cast Iron Skillet Hollow WareGriswold # 4 Slant Big Block #702 Skillet Frying Pan Smoke RingAntique Wapak #8 Cast Iron Skillet Cleaned & Reseasoned - NiceGriswold No 8 Cast Iron Skillet 704 HGriswold Quality Ware Cast Iron Ash Tray/spoon Rest Skillet1916 1934 Favorite Piqua Ware Miami #7 Logo Cast Iron Skillet Heat Ring RareAntique Wapak Cast Iron # 3 Indian Head Medallion Skillet 1903 - 1926Antique Fancy Ornate Handle Cast Iron Skillet 8 Gate Mark Heat Ring Flat 19th C Vtg Favorite Piqua Ware Cast Iron Skillet 9 A Smiley Logo Heat Ring Flat UsaVintage Griswold No. 8 Hammered Chrome Plated Cast Iron Skillet Lid Cover 2098Vintage Griswold 704 Cast Iron Fry Pan No. 8, 10 1/2" Frying Skillet Old CookingVintage Griswold Square Egg Skillet Cast Iron UsedGriswold Cast Iron Skillet #8 Sm. Logo Grooved Handle Fully Restored Great User!Lot Of 6 Mini Cast Iron Skillets, Waffle Maker, & Kettles Toy SizeGriswold #4 Big Block #702 Cast Iron SkilletVintage Favorite Piqua Ware #5j Cast Iron Skillet Cleaned & Reseasoned - Nice,antique Griswold Cast Iron Skillet, Number 9, 710 C, Small LogoOld Cast Iron SkilletVintage Griswold 704 Cast Iron Fry Pan No. 8, 10 1/2" Frying Skillet 704 CookingVintage Le Creuset Cast Iron 9” Fry Pan Skillet Flame Orange #23 Wapak Indian #8 Cast Iron Skillet Crisp Indian Logo Heat Ring Fully RestoredWagner Drip Drop No. 7 Cast Iron Skillet Cover/lid 1067