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

Evolution of the Griswold Skillet

Sometime around 1906, The Griswold Mfg. Co. began to move away from marking its skillets and other pieces, as it had for decades, simply "ERIE". The first change for skillets came in the form of merely adding the company name in combination with the original trademark (TM) or "brand" to create "Griswold's Erie". Soon after would come the addition of the now famous "cross in double circle" TM or logo, the first of which, while in a stylized but not truly italic font, would come to be dubbed the "slant" logo.

Over time, the slanted font gave way to a bold block font, and descriptive markings were added. In response to modernized cooktops, the heat ring was eventually lost on all but the largest of skillets. By 1940, perhaps in answer to a need for a quicker turnaround in pattern production, the heretofore bolder and more elaborate inscriptions were replaced in favor of a smaller, lighter TM with fewer to no descriptive marks, all of which appear capable of having been easily stamped into the aluminum working patterns.

Throughout the changes of this timeline, however, the casting, workmanship, and finish were maintained at the levels for which Griswold was known. Collectors may not care as much for the small block skillets as they do for their predecessors, but will confess the difference in quality is negligible.

Like the Erie skillets before them, the Griswold skillets can be divided into six distinct configurations.

The design changes over time can be narrowed to these two categories:

· Trademark: Griswold's Erie", "slant" TM, "large block" TM, or "small block" TM
· Heat ring: inset or none*

Some minor differences in handle design are seen variously within the first five revisions, but they are not considered significant. During the small block era, however, skillet patterns were twice updated, resulting in examples of most all sizes being seen with what are termed either "early", "late", or "late grooved" handles.

Using this table, the approximate time period of manufacture of a Griswold skillet can be determined.

Griswold Skillet"Griswold's Erie""Slant" TM
"Slant" TM
"Erie, PA, USA"
"Large Block" TM
Heat Ring
"Large Block" TM
Smooth Bottom
"Small Block" TM
Time Period1907-19091909-19161909-19291924-19401924-19401939-1957
Heat RingInsetInsetInsetInsetNone*None*
Sizes Made6,7,8,9,11,121,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

A gallery of the various Griswold skillet changes over time.

There are also a few sizes of the "slant EPU" skillets with smooth bottoms, and they represent somewhat of a mystery. A collector guide book dates them 1939-1944, within the same time period as the small block TM skillets. As such, this might have meant either a return to use of the slant logo, or merely a reworking of some old patterns to wring some additional use from them. Slant Erie marking ghosts found on some of them are interesting, but do not necessarily support either scenario. Only numbers 2, 3, 5, 8, and 9 have been seen.

Elsewhere, they are seen dated the same as the heat ring versions, 1916-1924. If this is the case, however, that would lead one to expect price lists, catalogs, or advertising from that period to note the availability of both versions.

There is actually one more Griswold skillet in the timeline, and it only barely made it there. Sometime around 1955, a slightly smaller diameter version of the large block TM, which had already been seen on some other pieces, was applied to apparently only one size #3 skillet pattern, resulting in what many call the "medium logo". Some, however, prefer the term "late large TM", so as not to conflict with a couple of examples of a slightly larger small block logo also termed "medium block". Regardless, in 1957 Griswold was sold to the company who had already acquired Wagner Mfg. Co, and the late large TM progressed no further.

Ferrous Fact
"Ferrous Fact"
Of the Wagner Ware skillets with heat rings, only a very few are of the inset design, including the shallow, the wood- handled, the large "pie logo", and some rarely-seen National aluminum.