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  #1  
Old 09-18-2013, 07:27 PM
Amanda Braun Amanda Braun is offline
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Default What is it?






Hi everyone,

I just acquired my very first cast iron skillets. They came as an unmatched pair, and while I can identify one, the other is unmarked aside from a number 7 on the bottom, and I haven't been able to find anything about it online. It needs to be restored a bit, but that should be a fun project. Can anyone give me any leads on what the company and date are based on the pictures I've posted? Thanks so much!
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Old 09-18-2013, 07:51 PM
Doug D. Doug D. is offline
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Default Re: What is it?

We'll probably never know who made pieces like this one, and can only estimate a time period. I would say definitely pre-1890 at least. Early skillets with legs made for use over a fire were called spiders, but the legs were typically longer and only three in number, for better stability. This one appears to have been more likely made for use on a woodstove, the projections both for centering on a stove eye, for example, and to add stability on a flat surface otherwise not possible because of the bottom gate mark. Cool older piece.
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Old 09-18-2013, 09:15 PM
Amanda Braun Amanda Braun is offline
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Default Re: What is it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug D. View Post
We'll probably never know who made pieces like this one, and can only estimate a time period. I would say definitely pre-1890 at least. Early skillets with legs made for use over a fire were called spiders, but the legs were typically longer and only three in number, for better stability. This one appears to have been more likely made for use on a woodstove, the projections both for centering on a stove eye, for example, and to add stability on a flat surface otherwise not possible because of the bottom gate mark. Cool older piece.
Oh, neat. I was wondering what that seam along the bottom was, but didn't know how to describe it when googling it. It's interesting how, just by looking at the bottom, you can pull all that culinary kitchen and manufacturing history from it. Thanks for the info!
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Old 09-21-2013, 12:30 PM
Steve Stephens Steve Stephens is offline
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Default Re: What is it?

I have been collecting, primarily, 19th century stovetop skillets such as yours Amanda and rarely have been able to determine the maker or age of most of them. I have a number just like yours in several sizes. The thin line on the pan's bottom is called a "gate mark" and is typical of iron cookware produced mostly before around 1900 on the older makes. That is where the molten iron flowed into the sand mold. The sprue was then broken off leaving the gate mark.
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Old 09-22-2013, 12:35 PM
Amanda Braun Amanda Braun is offline
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Default Re: What is it?

Steve, thanks for the reply and for explaining more about the gate mark.

Over the last few days, I've spent several hours stripping away the residue and rust using a variety of methods (including oven cleaner in a sealed bag, sandpaper, vinegar, wire brushes, steel wool, soap/water... all done with elbow grease, which is the best I can do in a small apartment with a balcony) and have ended with a beautiful, clean pan. It's even now enjoying its first seasoning in the oven.

Out of curiosity, since you collect these, do you have any idea of value? I can post a picture when it's finished being seasoned in a few days if that would help. As a history buff, I love having all possible info about items like that.

Last edited by Amanda Braun; 09-22-2013 at 12:55 PM. Reason: edited restoration process
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Old 09-22-2013, 04:15 PM
Steve Stephens Steve Stephens is offline
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Default Re: What is it?

If you are going to use sandpaper on iron cookware be sure you are only sanding surfaces that were once polished or ground such as the insides. Sanding the "as-cast" surfaces such as the outsides will only degrade the value of your pan. Value would be in the $25-50 range if you can find a buyer who likes the early iron. I found not too much competition in buying many of my skillets on ebay a number of years ago and most of the pans sold for very reasonable prices to darn cheap. As such old and nice pans they should sell for more I think.
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