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 Griswold Slant Large Logo Cast Iron Skillet Lot Set 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Flat'erie' Pre - Griswold #9 Skillet -black Cast IronWapak Indian Head No. 6 SkilletVintage Griswold No. 12 Large Slant Erie Logo Cast Iron Skillet 719# 13 Griswold Cast Iron Erie Pa Usa Slant Logo 720 Heat Ring Skillet Vintage Hammered # 8 Cast Iron Deep Skillet Chicken Fryer W Lid 10"Wapak Cast Iron #5 Indian Head SkilletVintage Wagner Ware Sidney 1064 14" Cast Iron Skillet W/ Drip Drop 14 Cover 1073No. 5 Griswold Self Basting Skillet Cover Erie Pa U S A Cast Iron LidGriswold Cast Iron Skillet # 12 P/n 719 Heat Ring Large Block LogoRare Griswold No.12 Large Slant Logo Cast Iron Skillet 1909-1929 719 Heat RingVintage (large) No.12 Martin Stove & Range Co. Large Skillet W/fire Ring Griswold #108 Skillet Griddle Large Logo -black Cast Iron#2 Griswold Cast Iron Erie Pa Usa Slant Logo 703 Heat Ring Skillet Nice Vintage Favorite? #14 In Diamond Logo, 15-inch Cast Iron Skillet Heat RingGriswold 6 Slot Skillet Lid Rack Kitchen Organizer Griswold 9 Cast Iron SkilletGriswold # 14 Cast Iron Skillet Lid Only # 474 Erie Pa. Needs Cleaned#2 Griswold Erie Slant Logo 703 Heat Ring Skillet Griswold #8 Skillet & High Dome Lid Large Logo -nickel PlatedVintage Griswold Cast Iron # 10 Dutch Oven Or Skillet Trivet P/n 208Griswold Cast Iron #10 Small Logo Early Handle Skillet – Cleaned And SeasonedVintage Griswold Slant Logo Cast Iron Skillet Heat Ring Lot 5 6 8 Seasoned FlatVintage Griswold Cast Iron Skillet #9Griswold #3 Lid -for Skillet--black Cast IronVintage Griswold Cast Iron # 10 Small Logo Skillet Model 716bVintage Griswold Small Logo Cast Iron Skillet Lot No. 3 4 5 6 8 Seasoned FlatGriswold "squar" Misspelled Square Egg Skillet. 129 Rare. Griswold No.8 Hammered Skillet With Lid Vtg No. 10 Griswold Cast Iron 716 A Large Logo Skillet Frying Pan - N.rErie #8 Cast Iron Skillet, 704, Pre-griswoldLarge Logo Griswold Colonial Breakfast Skillet Cast Iron Pan 666Very Rare Griswold # 3 Fully Marked Skillet CoverWagner Ware Pie Logo #13 Cast Iron Skillet 1063 With Heat Ring. Ultra Rare!!!! Le Creuset Skillet Flame Orange Long Handle With Lid Cast Iron Frying PanVintage Griswold #9 Cast Iron Skillet Slant Logo Flat Bottom Heat Ring 710c ErieAntique Wagner Drip Drop No. 8 Skillet-roaster CoverWagner Ware Sidney -0- Half Skillet With Spouts And 3 Hole Handle 1097aVintage Unmarked Favorite No. 10 Cast Iron Skillet With Heat RingVtg Griswold #2 Rare Cast Iron Skillet Large Block Logo Erie Pa Usa P/n 703 FlatVintage Griswold Cast Iron Skillet #14Rare Wagner Ware Sidney #13 Cast Iron SkilletGriswold #9 Slant Large Logo Cast Iron Skillet 710-d With Heat Ring. Sets Flat Rare Griswold Cast Iron Skillet No. 728 7 "erie" 3 Hole Handle Vintage Wagner Ware #13 Cast Iron Skillet Pan Sidney Oh 1063Early Wagner Arched Logo #12 Cast Iron Skillet. Large! Cleaned And Seasoned3 Vintage Wagners 1891 Original 6 1/2",8,10 1/2" Set Cast Iron Skillet Fry PanVtg Griswold No.0 Red & Cream Porcelain Coat Cast Iron 2 Spout Tiny Skillet Rare Griswold Large Block Logo Heatring Cast Iron Skillet Lot Set 7 8 10 12# 9 Griswold Erie Pa Cast Iron Skillet 710 AGriswold #5 Skillet -heat Ring -slanted Logo -black Cast IronGriswold No.3 "cliff" Cornell The Cleveland Flux Co. 13 Ohio Cast Iron SkilletVintage Griswold # 5 Skillet & Lid 724 & 1095 - Large LogoWapak #9 Cast Iron Skillet Indian Head LogoGriswold #3 Cast Iron Skillet, Large Block With Heat Ring, 709bVintage Griswold # 10 716 A Cast Iron Skillet Small Logo Erie Pa Sits FlatVintage Victor/ Griswold No.9-723 Cast Iron Skillet- Heat Ring - Made In U.s.a.Griswold No. 7 Cast Iron SkilletVintage Griswold # 704-n Erie Slant Logo Size 8 Cast Iron Skillet With Heat RingVintage Antique No 8a Erie (griswold) Cast Iron Skillet 10" W/ Heat Ring 707