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    

# 9 Griswold Erie Pa 3 Pour Lipped Skillet Slant Logo/ Heart Ring P/n 710dGriswold #20 Cast Iron Hotel Skillet Pn#728 Large Block Logo Erie PaGriswold Cast Iron Skillet #12 PanVtg Griswold Square Utility Skillet #768 W/ Lid #769 GucGriswold #14 Skillet With Repaired Lid~ #13 Griswold Slant Logo Cast Iron Skillet 720 ~Gorgeous Cooking Surface! Griswold "erie" Cast Iron Skillet #9 Heat Ring 1904-06Outstanding Vintage 1940's Griswold Large #10 Cast Iron Skillet - Pn 716 (mint)"erie", 6a, 700, Pre Griswold, Cast Iron Skillet, Cleaned, Smoke RingLe Creuset 30 Blue Enamel Cast Iron 12" Saute Pan Skillet Double Spout# 7 Griswold's " Erie" Skillet With Heat Ring Over 100 Years OldGriswold No.10 Cast Iron Skillet 1050 Self Basting Skillet Cover Only2 Enameled Cast Iron Skillets Made In France By Staub 11" And 9" W/ Wood Hanle Vintage Griswold Number Zero Cast Iron Skillet Erie Pa Usa 562Vintage Large Griswold Cast Iron Skillet Kettle Caldron Lid Vintage Griswold Wooden Handle Number Seven Cast Iron Skillet Erie Pa Griswold #6 Cast Iron Skillet Slant Erie Logo Pn#699b Vintage Griswold Cast Iron Skillet No. 2 703Vintage Griswold Cast Iron # 7 Slant Logo Skillet W/ Heat Ring P/n 701 A Griswold No.8 Cast Iron Skillet, Large Slant Logo W/heat Ring, P/n704g C1930sGriswold # 2 Cast Iron Skillet Cursive #9 Sidney O Cast Iron Skillet 11" Frying Pan Pre Wagner Ware Heat RingVintage Lodge Cast Iron Fryer 3052d Fish Fryer Sportsman Skillet No Reserve!!Griswold No. 7 Cast Iron Skillet With 1047 Self Basting Skillet Cover OnlyGriswold #4 Cast Iron Skillet #702 Erie Pa Vintage UsaGriswold # 14 Cast Iron Skillet Hard To Find Griswold Cast Iron Small Logo Colonial Breakfast SkilletRare Griswold Wooden Version Skillet Display Stand Country General Store RackAntique Cast Iron - Wagner Ware - Bacon & Egg Breakfast Skillet - #1101d - NiceGriswold #8 Cast Iron Skillet Pattern# 704d Big Block LogoGriswold Frying Pan/cast Iron Skillet # 5 Erire PaGriswold Cast Iron No.11 Skillet/fry Pan Heat Ring 717 Usa Erie Pa...Erie Cast Iron Pan Skillet 710 A #9 Good Condition Griswold Block "wagner" Wagner Ware Black Cast Iron No 8 Shallow Skillet 3 Hole HandleGriswold 11" Frying Pan Skillet Cast Iron Griddle 109 Griswold #6 Cast Iron Self Basting Skillet Cover Blue Porcelain Mold 466 Lg LogoGriswold Cast Iron #8 Small Logo Early Handle Skillet €Rare Type Antique Cast Iron Skillet,high Handle,large Spout,vinatge Cooking ToolWagner Ware Cast Iron Bacon And Egg Breakfast Skillet-1101- SeasonedGriswold Erie Cast Iron 10 Large Logo Skillet 716 -sits Flat-~ Favorite Piqua Ware #10 Cast Iron Skillet ~Griswold Cast Iron Square Egg Skillet #129 €Vintage Wagner Sydney -0- Ware Cast Iron Skillet Size 12 And 13.5" Nice #1062Griswold ~ Vintage Cast Iron 11.25" Skillet W/large Slant Logo+ring (#9 ~ 710 C)Griswold #8 Skillet Chicken Pan -cast Iron -nickel Plated Large Logo#3 #8 # 10 Favorite Piqua Ware Cast Iron SkilletsMartin Stove And Range Co. #9 Iron SkilletRevere Ware Vtg 1801 8" Skillet Poacher W/ Insert & Lid Pre-1968 Dbl-circle LogoWapak Hollow Ware Indian Head #9 Cast Iron Skillet With Heat RingGriswold # 12 Cast Iron Skillet Griswold 8 Cast Iron Skillet Large Block Logo Smooth Bottom #704 Has Ghost MarksGriswold Erie, Pa. No. 4 Cast Iron Skillet 702 C Small LogoLe Creuset Cast Iron Enamel 12" Black Skillet #30 Double Spout France Griswold # 10 And # 7 Skillet Cast IronVintage Griswold Nickel Plated Cast Iron Skillet #4 702a Lg Block Logo Nice! NrVintage Wagner Ware Number Zero Cast Iron Skillet With Heat Ring#0 Griswold Cast Iron Skillet With Heat Ring Erie Pa Usa 562 Large Block LogoVintage Paul Revere Copper 1801 Frying Pan Skillet 10.5" 8.5" & 6.5" Antique #12 Sidney Cast Iron Frying Pan Skillet Circa 1890 Griswold Cast Iron #6 Small Logo Early Handle Skillet €