There is quite a bit of cast iron cookware that you may see presented as vintage in the collectibles marketplace that is, well, neither vintage nor collectible.
Much of this non-collectible iron is comprised of cheap imports, celebrity TV chef-endorsed cookware (also imported), cast iron produced strictly for promotional purposes, and "major U.S. brand in name only" cast iron manufactured after 1960.
Listed here are those you are most likely to encounter.
Click on any item with a icon for a gallery of photos:
Benjamin & Medwin
American-sounding name, Chinese import.
Griswold not marked "Erie, PA, USA" or "Erie, PA".
Pieces not marked Erie were made after Griswold was acquired by the company who had already aquired Wagner. Small block logo pieces also marked "Made In USA", appear to be from altered late-era Wagner patterns, and were made in the Wagner plant in Ohio.
Martha Stewart Everyday. Sold by KMart. Made in China, it's not a good thing.
Imported from China. Not to be confused with "Iron Mountain" by Griswold or "Red Mountain" made by Birmingham Stove & Range Co.
Sounding ostensibly of French origin, but actually another Chinese import. Marked with coat-of-arms logo and the wording "Traditional Cast Iron". Alternately branded as "Basic Essentials". Sold by JC Penney, Sears.
Republic Of China. Enough said. Perhaps intended to be less obvious than "Made In China" or "Made In Taiwan".
Wagner Ware not marked "Sidney, O." or "Sidney -O-".
Pieces without these specific designations were produced post-early 1960s, and are heavy and rough-textured. Includes later pieces marked "Wagner Sidney · Ohio · USA" inside an oval, and pieces marked both Wagner Ware and with the GHC (General Housewares Corp.) logo. And, of course, those pieces marked Wagner "Made In China".
Wagner Ware/Griswold dual logo.
Only produced for a short period after the company that last owned Wagner Ware bought out Griswold as well, believed to have been done as a way to phase out the Griswold trademark prior to its discontinuance altogether in 1973. Not often seen in the collectibles marketplace, but does not cause them to be considered rare or otherwise valuable.
Wagner's 1891 Original.
Produced in the late 1980s and later as a "limited edition" series commemorating the establishment of Wagner Manufacturing Co. in 1891. Characterized by heavy, rough-textured castings typical of post-1960s factory automation. Detailed seasoning instructions actually molded into each piece. Toy sets comprised of a skillet, dutch oven, square griddle, and tea size corn stick pan (copying the Griswold #262 design rather than the Wagner Krusty Korn Kobs #1317 pattern) do appear to have some collector interest, especially if in original box.
Imported from China, sold in boxed sets of camping-oriented pieces.
Imported from China.
Supplier primarily of forged and cast metal hardware, sells a limited amount of cast iron bakeware touted as being U.S. made. Perhaps somewhat collectible, but in no way vintage.
Pieces also not regarded as having true vintage collectible value include those such as Tabasco™ and Cracker Barrel™ skillets, sporting and outdoor chain store branded iron, and most small skillet-shaped ashtrays produced for advertising purposes.