Cast Iron Cookware Will Always Reign
You may not realize it, but cast iron cookware has been around for more than two thousand years. The material is most prized for its heat retention, durability and natural non-stick surface for cooking all types of foods. It also cooks everything you put in it evenly for the best possible outcome on any dish.
The History of the Cast Iron Company Griswold
Griswold was one of the county’s most popular cast iron manufacturers in the mid-1800s, known as the Griswold Manufacturing Company. Today, Griswold cookware is a beloved collector’s item, known for one of the best quality cast iron pieces you can possibly buy.
Griswold Cast Iron: The Beginning
The company was founded in 1865 under the name of Seldon-Griswold Manufacturing Company. Matthew Griswold with his cousins Samuel and J.C. Seldon started the company in Erie, Pennsylvania at a location near the Erie Canal. In the beginning, Griswold made light hardware, such s stove dampers, butt hinges and other stove accessories. The most collectible items during this time were the waffle irons, mailbox flaps and spittoons with the company logo of “Seldon-Griswold.”
The Growth of Griswold Cast Iron
Cast iron cookware was produced beginning in the 1870s. These are the most noted pieces of the finest cast iron and the most collectible today. In this time, you could identify your cookware by the company logo: “Erie” stamped into the bottom, the underside of the pan. These pieces are thinner and lighter than the predecessors.
Matthew Griswold bought out his cousins in 1884, but the name did not change to Griswold Manufacturing Company until 1887. Matthew then passed his ownership onto his son Matthew Griswold, Jr. in 1905. Matthew Jr. presided over the company until 1914, when he turned the ownership over to his brother, Marvin. When Marvin was the leader in place, the company saw a huge and rapid growth spurt as they sold their products worldwide and gained a reputation for quality produced cast iron cookware.
The End of an Era
By the 1940’s, the Griswold Manufacturing Company hit very hard times. Their products had diminished quality and new manufacturers came on the scene to compete with their market share with more modern materials, such as aluminum. In 1946, the Griswold family sold their beloved company to an investment group, who in turn sold it to the Wagner Manufacturing Company. In 1957, the original plant in Erie was closed.
Griswold Logos and Collector’s Items
Today, Griswold cookware is highly collectible and expensive according to the logo and when it was manufactured. The earliest pieces bearing the word “Erie” on the cookware’s bottom underside dated between 1865 and 1909 and are the most sought after by collectors.
Between 1874 and 1905, some different models of pans were made with a spider and web logo stamped into the bottom of the pan with “Erie” stamped above the spider and written in raised lettering on top of the spider. Most of the time you won’t see the word “Erie” on these pieces because of high heat usage and the lettering being raised, so it is most likely damaged or worn off completely. The number of these pans were limited in production, so even if you can’t see “Erie” on it, it’s still quite valuable.
Between 1884 and 1909, Griswold manufactured skillets with a diamond shaped logo with the word “Erie” inside the diamond. These are less collectible than the spider and web logo, but are still great pieces of cast iron to own.
The most famous symbol of Griswold Manufacturing Company is the cross symbol. It includes a plus sign within a circle with the word “Griswold” written inside it. They made cookware with different sizes of this same logo and the larger the emblem the more collectible they are.
The oldest cross emblem pieces say “GRISWOLD” in italics with the word “ERIE” below it in block style letters. Later, the company has “ERIE, Pa. ,U.S.A.” beneath the emblem and the most recent cookware simply said “GRISWOLD” in block style letters in the 1920’s to the 1940’s.
For Collectors or For Your Kitchen Collection
Griswold cast iron cookware can make an excellent addition to a collection or to use in your kitchen. This company produced top-notch cast iron pots and pans for almost a century and they earned global recognition too. The pieces that live on are a testament to the highest quality and durability of the Griswold name. All of this cookware has a lighter and more manageable weight with a much smoother finish than modern cast iron, which is mass-produced. These qualities make it very desirable for any home. You can preserve a part of history or use it in your everyday cooking. Griswold cast iron cookware will forever be a part of American history.
Why is Griswold so Popular Among Collectors?
One of the main reasons that collectors find Griswold products so popular is because the items are quite easy to date by their changing logos throughout the production years.
Whether you are purchasing Griswold cast iron for use or for your collection, be aware that the experts warn against purchasing any pans that were produced in the 1950’s. This is when Wagner Cast Iron bought out the facility and name, the pans were no longer made in Erie and the quality was greatly reduced.
Whether you choose to display your Griswold cookware or cook with them you can rest assured that this distinct brand of cookware can be put back to work. You may need to clean your piece up a bit and re-season it, but you will have a great tool that’s easy and reliable to cook with on your stove or over a campfire.