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    

Griswold No 12 Self Basting Skillet Cover Erie Pa #472 Low Dome LidAntique Cast Iron Skillet Erie 11 Large Vintage Frying Pan Pre Griswold Cookware30 Pc Lot Copper Revere Ware Pots Pans 12" Skillets Stock Pots Coffee Pot KettleVintage Griswold Cast Iron # 9 Large Logo Skillet W/ Heat Ring P/n 710 JVintage Griswold No.12 Self Basting Skillet Cover11.75" Le Creuset Cast Iron Skillet In Dijon Yellow Enamel Lifetime WarrantyVintage Antique Griswold #10 Small Logo Skillet Matched Lid Flat Smooth NiceGriswold Iron Mountain Cast Iron Chicken Fryer Skillet # 8 With Lid Fine Griswold 2028 Hammered Finish #8 11 Inch Cast Iron Deep Fryer Skillet PanGriswold #2 Slant Logo Epu Heat Ring Cast Iron Skillet Cleaned Erie Pa Usa 703Vintage Griswold #10 Cast Iron Skillet # 716a Large Logo Cleaned & SeasonedCast Iron Frying Pan Skillet Griswold #2 Old Vintage 617zMatched Set Of Griswold Erie Pa Skillets Lg Block # 3, # 6 & # 8 Good ConditionGriswold #12 Cast Iron Skillet Small Logo 719 B Nice!Griswold 704b Cast Iron Skillet #8 11" Slant Large Logo"erie" 1906-12 Heat RingVintage Griswold Cast Iron # 4 Skillet CleanGriswold Cast Iron Skillet No. 8 Slant Logo. **no Reserve**Erie No. 7 Cast Iron Skillet With Heat Ring Pre Griswold 701 CVintage Griswold #666 Cast Iron Erie Colonial Breakfast Skillet Griswold Breakfast Skillet 99 Cents No Reserve Cast Iron Pretty Nice Griswold # 9 Skillet With Heat Ring Cast Iron Block Logo.....saLe Creuset Enameled 26 Cast Iron Square Grill Griddle Skillet Fry Pan Panini RedVintage Antique Cast Iron #8 Large Block Logo Griswold Skillet Flat CleanedGriswold #8 Large Block Logo Skillet 704 GVtg. #8 Griswold Cast Iron Skillet Large Decal #704h Great Clean!! Lodge L5h53 4 Piece Cast Iron Skillet Set 113627 BGriswold Cast Iron SkilletVintage Griswold #8 Block Log Erie Pa. Cast Iron Skillet Griswold No.10 ( 716 S ) Cast Iron Skillet-small Logo-restored And Ready To UseGriswold Erie 12 Skillet Fifth Series C1906 - C1907# 9 "erie" (pre Griswold) Extra Deep Skillet Very Good Condition A Bit UnusualGriswold Erie 11 Skillet First Series C1880 - C1886Matched Set Of Three (3) Griswold Erie Pa Skillets Small Logo # 4,# 6 And #8Wagner Ware 1402 Hinged 10" Cast Iron Double Skillet Chicken Fryer Griswold Skillet Griddle #202 Small Logo Cast Iron PanGriswold #8 Cast Iron Skillet 704 B (?) Erie , PaLot 22 Pieces Vintage Revere Ware1801 Copper Clad Cookware Pots Pans Skillets#10 Griswold, Erie, Pa., 716, Cast Iron Skillet, Block, Flat Bottom, Small LogoGriswold Cast Iron Self Basting No. # 8 Raised Letter Skillet Cover Low Dome JrGriswold Cast Iron Skillet # 7 Part No. 701a Large Block LogoVictor Cast Iron Skillet # 8 Part No. 722 Griswold Mfg. CompanyGriswold #0 Cast Iron Skillet 562Griswold Cast Iron Square Egg Skillet #129 €Griswold Erie 9 Skillet Second Series C1886 - C18923 Vintage Cast Iron Griswold Skillets 3,5,6 Smooth Cleaned Seasoned NiceVintage Unmarked #14 Cast Iron Skillet Griswold Erie 10 Skillet Fifth Series C1906 - C1907Vintage Wagner Ware Sidney-o-bacon And Egg Breakfast Skillet 1101d A+++Cast Iron Skillet 20" Very Nice Supper Big SkilletAntique Wagner Sidney O #11 Cast Iron Deep Skillet / Arc Logo Heat Ring 12 3/8" Wagner's 1891 Original Cast Iron Skillet 13 3/8" Made In Usa (green Cooking)Cast Iron Skillet With Wagner Drip Drop No 9 Skillet CoverVtg #10 Cast Iron Skillet 12" Frying Lid Cover With SpikesGriswold Erie 6 Skillet Third Series C1892 - C1906Griswold #8 Ghost Erie Skillet Pan - Large Slant Logo - Heat Ring Vintage 1940’s Griswold Large #8 Cast Iron Skillet €Vintage Erie Pre-griswold No. 8c Cast Iron Skillet 10-1/4" PanGriswold Cast Iron Skillet No. 8 Chicken Fryer With Lid Heat Ring Set's Flat Wagner 7 Skillet With Skillet CoverVintage Skillet Cast Iron Extra Large Has The Number #14 On The Bottom