The Cast Iron Collector - Information For The Cast Iron Cookware Enthusiast

Gem & Muffin Pans

Gem and muffin pans are a fascinating segment of cast iron cookware collecting. Among the various manufacturers, a myriad of designs exist. Within the same manufacturer, some pattern numbers are known to have been produced in over a dozen variations. Many are commonplace, others extremely rare.

The term gem likely comes from the cakes being small and decoratively-shaped, like "gems". Another possibility is that the term came from a kitchen housewares company named Gem that sold baking tins which came to be generically referred to as "Gem pans".

Regardless of how the name came to be, a gem is a muffin. But a muffin is not necessarily a gem. Gems, first popularized in the 19th century, were always made with whole wheat Graham flour, and were baked in a heavy cast iron gem pan. Occasionally, fruit was added to the batter, and the result called a fruit gem. The term "gem flour" appears to have been commonly used to describe packaged flour mixes sold to make the non-yeast cakes.

Nathaniel Waterman of Boston Massachusetts is acknowledged as having first patented in 1859 what is considered the quintessential gem muffin pan design, at the time calling it an "egg pan". The main features of the patent were (1) the individual cups with cut-outs between each to allow for the even circulation of heat around them, but (2) still being sufficiently connected together to promote conduction of heat through the iron. Multiple configurations of several shapes were devised, each with a unique number assigned that came to be employed as somewhat of a standard, even by other manufacturers who-- with or without authorization-- copied the designs.

Not all gem muffin pans adhere to the Waterman patented design feature of cut-outs between the cups. Variations within the same manufacturer are seen both with and without the cut-outs, which, when present, are often referred to as being an "open frame" design. It is apparent from some pieces that open frame patterns were occasionally modified to close the cut-outs. Why this was done is not clear. Perhaps the open-framed pieces were too-easily damaged in post-production handling, shipment or use, which the manufacturer deemed unacceptable.

Also typically categorized along with gem and muffin pans are bread, breadstick, roll, and cornbread pans.

The following are basic descriptions of most of the gem and muffin pans made by each of the various manufacturers. Click on any icon for a gallery of photos.


N. Waterman - Boston, Massachusetts CI Close Up

#1 - 11 shallow, flat-bottomed round cups arranged 4-3-4. 11.625"x8"x.75", 12.5"x8.75"

#2 - 11 shallow, flat-bottomed round cups arranged 4-3-4, with or without bars joining the outer middle cups to handles. 13"x9"x.75"

#3 - 11 shallow hemispherical cups arranged 4-3-4, with disc-shaped "feet" on the bottom of each cup. 13"x8.75"x.875"

#4 - 8 shallow, flat-bottomed elliptical (football-shaped) cups arranged 3-2-3. 14"x7"x.75", 13.875"x6.875"x.625"

#5 - 8 shallow, flat-bottomed oval cups arranged 3-2-3. 12"x7.25"x.75"

#6 - 12 shallow, round-cornered, flat-bottomed rectangular cups arranged 4-4-4, with the center 4 perpendicular to those on the outer edges. 12.5"x7.25"x.75", 13"x7.5"

#7 - 8 shallow, round-cornered, flat-bottomed rectangular cups arranged 3-2-3. 11.75"x7.75"x.875"

#8 - 11 shallow, flat-bottomed oval cups arranged 4-3-4 with bars joining the outer middle cups to handles. 13.5"x6.75"

#9 - 12 hemispherical cups arranged 4-4-4. 13"x7.5"x.75", 10"x7"x1.25", 10.75"x7"

#10 - 11 tapered-sided, flat-bottomed round cups arranged 4-3-4.

#11 - 12 horizontal, semi-cylindrical cups arranged 6-6 "New England Style" (N.E.S.). 13"x7.75"x.75" A pan with similar qualities marked #11 exists, with cups arranged 4-4-4, the middle 4 perpendicular to the outer rows, but it is doubtful that it is of Waterman design.

The dimensions listed are those found in the descriptions of online auction listings. The discrepancies may be from actual pans being used as patterns to make copies and the shrinkage that would normally occur as a result. The indistinct lettering on some pans vs. that of others might also be accounted for by such copying, rather than the deterioration due to wear over time that is often assumed.

Waterman (and R&E) pieces with the clearest, most distinct markings appear to have been cast using a side-gated method wherein the iron entered the mold from the outer edges of the handles. This appears to be why part of the outside ridge on one or both of the handles on many pieces looks rough or broken off. Grind marks on outer cup edges of Waterman/R&E pieces are not typical. Pieces with indistinct lettering, removed trademarks, sprue marks or gate-marked bottoms may in fact be recasts using original pans as patterns.

Additionally, there are Waterman marked pieces consisting of 3 linearly-conjoined cups, with no frame or handles, produced in each of the four standard cup shapes (round, oval, elliptical, rectangular). Variations exist with and without bottom gate marks. All are quite rare. US Design Patent #D1043, dated 1858, for what Waterman called "roll pans", shows the elliptical version.

An 1858 Waterman design, US Design Patent #D1046, also features 3 conjoined cups, one each oval, rectangular, and circular, with the words "FAITH", "HOPE", and "LOVE" successively embossed in reverse in the bottoms, so that the muffins cooked in the pan have one of the words incised in their tops. This design Waterman called "biscuit pans".

As the patents for both the 3-cup designs pre-date that of the "egg pan", perhaps they were the seeds of inspiration for the 1859 patent.


R&E Manufacturing Co. - New Britain, Connecticut

Russell & Erwin Manufacturing of New Britain, Connecticut produced pans of the same design as Waterman, and that bear the same Waterman patent date information. US Patent Office records show R&E as assignees of the Waterman patent, reissued in 1867 and described as an "egg pan and cake baker". It is theorized that it was R&E who actually produced the Waterman-marked pans for N. Waterman, whose primary business was that of a kitchen equipment retailer.


Raised Number Gem Pans

You may see gem pans of the Waterman/R&E design that have no information inscribed on them except for a raised size number on the bottom of one handle. Although apparently older and of reasonable quality, who made these pans and when is not totally clear.


G.F. Filley, Excelsior Manufacturing Co. - St. Louis, Missouri

G.F. Filley, of Excelsior Manufacturing Co. also produced several designs of gem pans. Each Filley pattern bears its own unique number, but with little or no correspondence to the Waterman designs. Most of the Filley gem pans have crude gate or sprue marks, with the exception of the #7, which used a side-gated casting.

#1 - 14 shallow, equilateral parallelogram-shaped cups, arranged 5-4-5, with no cut-outs. 13'x6.625"

#2 - 14 shallow hexagonal cups, arranged 5-4-5, with adjacent sides touching such that there are no spaces between. 12.375"x7"

#3 - 8 shallow, round-cornered, flat-bottomed rectangular cups arranged 3-2-3, with no cut-outs. 11.75"x7.75"

#4 - 8 shallow "weiner in bun" shaped cups, arranged 3-2-3, with no cut-outs. 14"x6.5"

#5 - 8 shallow, oval cups, arranged 3-2-3, with no cut-outs. 11.5"x7"

#6 - 11 shallow, oval cups, arranged 4-3-4, with no cut-outs. 12.5"x6.5"

#7 - 11 shallow, mostly rectangular cups, with two longitudinal decorative bands trisecting each, arranged 4-3-4, with no cut-outs.

#8 - 11 shallow "emerald cut", beveled, rectangular cups, arranged 4-3-4, with no cut-outs. 13"x6.125"

#9 - No #9 is known to exist.

#10 - 11 shallow, hemispherical round cups, with raised "buttons" in their bottoms, arranged 4-3-4, with no cut-outs. 12.375"x8.5"

#11 - 11 shallow, hemispherical, tiered round cups, arranged 4-3-4, with no cut-outs. 12.25"x8.5"

#12 - 14 shallow, hemispherical round cups, with raised "buttons" in their bottoms, arranged 5-4-5, with no cut-outs. 12.125"x6.75"

A #15 is listed in an Excelsior catalog, but with no illustration. Its price, relative to others in the same listing, suggests a large, perhaps commercially-oriented piece.


Griswold Manufacturing Co. - Erie, Pennsylvania

Griswold produced a number of gem pan designs, some of which echo those of Waterman, and many others which appear to be original. Some Griswold gem pan numbers also conform those of Waterman, while others of similar design do not. Griswold was perhaps the most prolific producer of gem muffin pans, the various patterns offered approaching 50 in number. Many pans were also offered in chromed and nickel-plated versions. In addition to cast iron, Griswold cast many of its gem/muffin pans in aluminum as well. Listed here is a sampling.

#1 - 11 shallow, flat-bottomed, cylindrical cups arranged 4-3-4, with bars joining the outer middle cups to handles, p/n 940. Variations: 3

#2 - 11 shallow, flat-bottomed round cups, arranged 4-3-4, with cut-outs, p/n 941. Variations: 4

#2 Vienna Roll - 2 vienna roll-shaped cups, arranged 1-1, with cut-outs, p/n 956. Variations: 3

#3 - 11 hemispherical cups, arranged 4-3-4, with cut-outs, p/n 942. Variations: 5

#4 - 4 Vienna roll cups, with cut-outs, p/n 957. Variations: 4

#5 - 8 shallow, flat-bottomed oval cups, arranged 3-2-3, with cut-outs, p/n 943. Variations: 7

#6 Gem - 12 shallow, rounded-cornered, flat-bottomed rectangular cups, arranged 4-4-4, with the middle 4 perpendicular to the outer rows, with cut-outs, p/n 944. Variations: 6

#6 Roll - 6 Vienna roll cups, arranged in a single row, p/n 958. Variations: 6

#7 - 8 shallow, rounded-cornered, flat-bottomed rectangular cups, arranged 3-2-3, with cut-outs, p/n 945. Variations: 3

#8 - 8 shallow, flat-bottomed round cups, arranged 4-4, with cut-outs, p/n 946. Variations: 6

#9 - 10 or 12 hemispherical cups arranged 4-2-4 or 4-4-4, open frame, with handles, p/n 947. Variations: 3 and 6

#10 - 11 tapered-sided, flat-bottomed, round cups, arranged 4-3-4, with or without cut-outs, with or without frame, p/n 948. Variations: 15

#11 Gem - 12 horizontal semi-cylindrical cups, arranged 4-4-4, with the middle row perpendicular to the outer rows, aka "H" pattern. Unmarked. Note handle design. Variations: 2

#11 N.E.S. - 12 horizontal semi-cylindrical cups, arranged 6-6. (N.E.S. = New England Style), p/n 950. Variations: 11

#12 - 11 shallow, flat-bottomed, round cups arranged 4-3-4, with cut-outs and short bars connecting each cup, p/n 951. Variations: 7

#13 - 6 "turk's head" shaped cups, arranged 3-3, with cut-outs, p/n 640. Variations: 1

#14 Turk's Head - 12 "turk's head" shaped cups, arranged 4-4-4, with cut-outs, without frame, with handles, p/n 641. Variations: 1

#14 Gem - 12 shallow, tapered-sided, flat-bottomed rectangular cups, arranged 4-4-4, with cut-outs, with handles, p/n 952. Variations: 6

#15 - 12 horizontal semi-cylindrical cups, arranged 6-6, with handles, p/n 6138. A larger version of the #11 N.E.S. Variations: 3

#16 - 6 horizontal semi-cylindrical cups, arranged 3-3, with handles, p/n 6139. Variations: 5

#17 - 6 horizontal semi-cylindrical cups, arranged 3-3, with handles, p/n 6140. Variations: 6

#18 - 6 tapered-sided, flat-bottomed round cups arranged 3-3, with cut-outs, p/n 6141. Variations: 7

#19 - 6 hemispherical cups, arranged 3-3, with cut-outs, with handles, p/n 966. Variations: 3

#20 - 12 "turk's head" cups, arranged 4-3-4, open frame, with short bars connecting each cup, p/n 953. Variations: 8

#21 - 7 narrow, horizontal semi-cylindrical cups, arranged in a single row, with handles, p/n 961. Variations: 1

#22 - 11 narrow, horizontal semi-cylindrical bread stick cups in a single row, p/n 954. Variations: 15

#23 - 22 narrow, horizontal semi-cylindrical cups, arranged 11-11, with handles, p/n 955. Variations: 2

#24 Bread Pan - 6 horizontal semi-cylindrical cups, arranged in a single row, with handles, p/n 959. Variations: 2

#24 Bread Stick - 7 narrow, horizontal semi-cylindrical cups, arranged in a single row, with handles, p/n 957. Variations: 1

#26 Bread - 2 large, horizontal semi-cylindrical cups, arranged in a single row, with handles, p/n 960. Variations: 2

#26 Roll - 6 Vienna roll cups, arranged in a single row, p/n 958. Modification of #6 roll pan. Variations: 2

#27 - 6 elongated elliptical (football-shaped) cups with wheat kernel pattern in a single row, with open frame, p/n 638. Variations: 4

#28 - 6 elongated elliptical (football-shaped) cups with wheat kernel pattern in a single row, with open frame, p/n 639. Larger than #27. Variations: 4

#50 - 5 shallow heart-shaped cups surrounding a star-shaped cup, with handle, p/n 959. Variations: 1

#100 - 5 shallow heart-shaped cups surrounding a star-shaped cup, with handle, p/n 960. Larger than #50. Variations: 1

#130 - 6 "turk's head" cups, arranged 3-3, without cut-outs, with handles, p/n 634. Variations: 1

#140 - 12 "turk's head" cups, arranged 4-4-4, without cut-outs, with handles, p/n 635. Variations: 1

#240 - 12 "turk's head" cups, arranged 4-4-4, without cut-outs, with handles, p/n 631. Larger than #140. Variations: 1

#262 - 7 corn cob shaped cups in a single row, "tea size", p/n 625. Variations: 2

#270 - 7 corn cob-shaped cups in a single row, direction alternating, wheat kernel pattern, p/n 636. Variations: 1

#272 - 7 corn cob-shaped cups in a single row, direction same, wheat kernel pattern, p/n 629. Variations: 2

#273 - 7 corn cob shaped cups in a single row, p/n 930. Variations: 1

#280 - 7 corn cob-shaped cups in a single row, direction alternating, wheat kernel pattern, p/n 637. Larger than #270. Variations: 1

#282 - 7 corn cob-shaped cups in a single row, direction same, wheat kernel pattern, p/n 630. Larger than #272. Variations: 2

#283 - 7 corn cob-shaped cups in a single row, p/n 931. Larger than #273. Variations: 1

#1270 - 7 wheat head-shaped cups in a single row, wheat kernel pattern, p/n 1513. Variations marked Merit, Puritan, Best Made S.R and Co.

#2700 - 7 wheat head-shaped cups in a single row, wheat kernel pattern, p/n 632. Marked Griswold. Variations: 1

#2800 - 7 wheat head-shaped cups in a single row, wheat kernel pattern, p/n 633. Marked Griswold. Larger than #2700. Variations: 1


Wagner Manufacturing Co. - Sidney, Ohio

Wagner, like Griswold, produced several Waterman-inspired gem pans, in addition to many original designs. Instead of numbers, however, Wagner chose primarily letter-based designations. Aluminum versions of many Wagner Ware gem muffin pans were also produced. Listed here are the majority of what Wagner produced.

"A" - 11 shallow, flat-bottomed round cups arranged 4-3-4, with cut-outs, c/n 1322.

"B" - 11 tapered-sided, flat-bottomed round cups arranged 4-3-4, without lifter holes, with or without cut-outs.

"C" - 11 round "shell" cups arranged 4-3-4, with open or solid frame, c/n 1324.

"D" - 12 horizontal, semi-cylindrical cups, arranged 6-6 (N.E.S. New England Style), c/n 1325.

"E" - 11 horizontal, narrow, semi-cylindrical bread stick cups in a single row, c/n 1326.

"EE" - 22 horizontal, narrow, semi-cylindrical bread stick cups, arranged 11-11. Also differs from "E" by marking "bread fingers". c/n 1327.

"F" - 12 hemispherical cups, arranged 4-4-4, open or closed frame, with handles, c/n 1328.

"G" - 8 shallow, rounded-cornered, flat-bottomed rectangular cups, arranged 3-2-3 with or without cut-outs, c/n 1329.

"H" - 4 "vienna roll" shaped cups, arranged in a single row, open frame, without handles.

"I" - 6 "vienna roll" shaped cups, arranged in a single row, open or closed frame, without handles, c/n 1331.

"K" - 5 round "shell" cups arranged 2-1-2, with open frame.

"L" - 6 hemispherical cups, arranged 3-3, without handles, with cut-outs. Often seen unmarked.

"M" - 4 shallow, tapered-sided, flat-bottomed rectangular cups in a single row, without handles.

"N" - 4 Shallow, straight-sided round cups, in a single row, without handles.

"O" - 5 horizontal semi-cylindrical cups, in a single row, without handles.

"Q" - 5 tapered-sided, flat-bottomed round cups arranged 2-1-2, with lifter hole, with or without cut-outs.

"R" - 8 tapered-sided, flat-bottomed round cups arranged 3-2-3, with lifter holes, with or without cut-outs.

"S" - 11 tapered-sided, flat-bottomed round cups arranged 4-3-4, with lifter holes, with or without cut-outs.

"T" - 12 "turks head" round cups arranged 4-4-4, with open (handles) or closed (no handles) frame, c/n 1338.

"U" - 6 "turk's head" cups, arranged 3-3, with handles, without cut-outs, c/n 1339.

#1 - 3 "turk's head" cups, arranged triangularly, with handle, with cut-outs.

#2 - 3 tapered-sided, flat-bottomed round cups, arranged triangularly, with handle, with cut-outs.

#6 - 6 "vienna roll" cups, arranged in a single row, open frame, without handles.

"Little Gem" - 9 or 12 small, shallow, round flat-bottomed cups, arranged 3-3-3 or 4-4-4, with or without cut-outs, c/n 1320(9-cup), 466(12-cup).

"Little Slam" - 12 playing card suit-shaped cups, arranged in 3 rows of one of each, without handles, without cut-outs, c/n 1340.

#1317 - 7 corn cob shaped cups in a single row, "tea size", c/n 1317.

#1318 - 7 corn cob shaped cups in a single row, "senior size", c/n 1318.

#1319 - 7 corn cob shaped cups in a single row, "junior size", c/n 1319.


Other Gem Pans

Other manufacturers, such as Lodge, Favorite and Martin, also produced gem pans, but none to quite the extent and originality as those of Waterman, R&E, Filley, Griswold, and Wagner.

Favorite Stove & Range Co. - Piqua, Ohio

Favorite gems were for the most part copies of other standard designs like the bread stick and New England Style roll pans.

Lodge Manufacturing Co. - South Pittsburg, Tennessee

Early in its history, Lodge produced two open frame turk's head gem pans, which would eventually be replaced by copies, essentially, of Griswold designs. It is theorized the open frame designs were not capable of being produced by automated molding lines. Also seen is a Lodge take on the Wagner "Little Slam" gem pan, dubbed the "No Trump". In later years, Lodge would produce cornbread pans in a variety of novelty shapes, but none that are considered vintage collectibles.

Birmingham Stove & range Co. - Birmingham, Alabama

Birmingham Stove & Range Co. also produced some corn stick pans, and is notable for designing the first round cornbread skillet design featuring individual wedge-shaped sections.

Martin Stove & Range Co. - Florence, Alabama

Martin also made a few gem pans, including a corn stick and bread stick.

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