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In this issue:
Some unusual iron...................................p.95
Letters to the editor.................................p.96
"Mountain Grade" skillets........................p.97
Best waffle irons to use...........................p.97
G.F.Filley muffin irons........................p.98-99
Additions to Muffin Pan List..................p.100
Griswold Dutch ovens-seasoning/use.....p.101
Vol. 3 No. 3Number 14March 1994
exactly like a waffle iron from the top side, one would not know otherwise without seeing the inside or bottom of the iron. I have no information about Harker & Co. nor do I recall seeing other pieces made by them. It appears that an egg would be broken into each cup in the bottom pan, baked for a short time, and then flopped over so the top would also brown. The center section might have been to allow the cups to overflow into adjacent cups if necessary, or to melt butter on and have it run into the cups before cracking eggs into them.
I always take a quick peek inside any "waffle irons" that I see just in case one might not be a waffle iron, but something else like this egg baker. Both Wagner and Griswold made irons that look exactly like their waffle irons but have no waffle grid on the inside. Wagner called theirs an Omelette and Cake Baker. Griswold's similar iron was made using their waffle iron pattern numbers 314 and 315 but with the waffle grid removed to give a smooth inside. The only one that I have seen was brought to me by a friend to see. I did not understand why he would bring me a common Griswold waffle iron until I opened it up and saw the smooth­surfaced insides of the iron. A photo of the pan is on page 134, bottom left, in the recent Griswold Cast Iron Price Guide book by L-W Book Sales. Such a rare piece that one might overlook as being common if a look at its insides wasn't taken. Other irons to look for with similar appearance to and construction of waffle irons are wafer irons, corn dog irons, sandwich grills and broilers.


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I have seen several pieces (dutch ovens, muffin pans, etc.) marked with both the Griswold and Wagnerware trademarks: these have almost always been priced at some astronomically high amount. I did find and buy one popover pan with both markings at a reasonable price. However, it does not look as well made as similar items by Griswold or Wagner. Are these items real (i.e. not fake or repro)? If so, I would assume that they represent the brief period when Wagner was using Griswold patterns after acquiring the company. Have any other collectors seen similar pieces? I have found very few pieces marked LODGE (one #8 skillet, one waffle iron) I although I would think their current productivity must reflect a high past output. Are most Lodge items unmarked? If so, is there a way to ascribe such pieces to Lodge on style or pattern or identifying structures?
Travis Solomon, MO

In answering your questions let me begin with same information from The Housewares Story by Earl Litshay, 1973: "In 1955 the Griswold Mfg. Co. was acquired by McGraw Edison Inc. and two years later they sold it to the Randall Co. of Cin. O. which, four years earlier had acquired Wagner Mfg. Co. Eventually Griswold became part, of the General Housewares Corp." Also-- "in November, 1952, Wagner was purchased by the Randall Co., a manufacturer of automobile stampings and leather working machinery, which, in 1957, also bought the Griswold Mfg. Co. from McGraw Edison. In 1959 Randall sold both cookware companies to Textron. Ten years later they were acquired by the General Housewares Corp." If this information is correct it is clear that Wagner did not buy Griswold directly, but that both companies had gone through ownership changes before they came together under one owner. In any case, Griswold ceased production at their Erie, PA foundry in December, 1957. All subsequent production of "Griswold" and Wagner iron cookware has been at the Wagner foundry in Sidney,

Ohio. Travis, the double marked pieces you ask about are probably a product of General Housewares Corp., cast in the Wagner foundry using, in some cases, old Griswold patterns. I remember the double marked pieces being sold in the local Macys store sometime during the 1970's and I would assume that they were made during this period unless they were old stock being sold. It is my opinion that these pieces, and any other pieces of "Griswold" that were not made in the Erie foundry, are not real Griswold: They were made in a different foundry, on different machinery, by different people and, often, using modified Wagner patterns. The quality is definitely inferior to the Erie-made pieces. For collectors appreciating the fine quality and design of the real Griswold, the later pieces like the double marked ones should be of little value. Perhaps the high asking prices are from collectors and dealers who don't know exactly what they have and cannot differentiate the fine quality/design of Erie-made Griswold and the later pieces. With few exceptions, all Erie-made Griswold is marked ERIE PA, and is never marked with an inch size (such as 10½ inch skillet) or "Made in USA".

Lodge, a family owned business since its founding in 1896, did mark many Of its earlier pieces. I cannot be certain when they were marked but will guess that it would be in the 1920's or before. I have seen skillets, dutch ovens, chicken fryers, waffle irons and possibly other pieces marked LODGE on the bottomn or on the top of covers. Their iron during this early period was of high quality with very smooth surface that seems to resist rusting better than other makes. I just dug up some information from Lodge indicating the company was founded by Joseph Lodge in 1896 under the name Blacklock Foundry. In 1910 the name was changed to Lodge Mfg. Co. This might indicate that the marked pieces would be after 1910. Also stated is "the name Lodge was never marked on our products due to private labling for Sears, etc." Of course this statement would be incorrect for the early years. I have never seen any muffin pans marked Lodge. One way to tell earlier Lodge pieces is to look on the bottom for a small (about ¼") raised, capital letter, seemingly randomly placed. Heat rings, on pieces that had them, will have a small (about 1/8") break. Lodge, in current production, is beginning to mark at least some of its pieces. I just saw two interesting muffin type pans: One had five fish and the other five Suguaro cactus. Both pans were marked on the bottom.

"Mountain Grade skillets made by Griswold

In searching for cast iron cookware you are likely to encounter some of the skillets shown in the cut below taken from a c.1940 Thompson Diggs Co. hardware catalog. The skillets are some of the finest quality castings made by Griswold hich shows that, even in wares made for the lower-end trade, Griswold did not skimp on quality. Probably sold to wholesalers and/or retailers as a lower priced line to supplement the regular Griswold skillets, these pans have typical Griswold pouring lips, a distinctive handle, an inset heat ring on the bottom, and are marked only with the size and pattern number on the bottom, Thompson Diggs priced their regular Griswold skillets at $.74, $1.16, and $1.60 each for sizes 3, 5, and 8 for a total set cost of $3.50 as opposed to the $2.50 for the same sized Mountain Grade skillets as a set. I have identified the following Mountain Grade skillets and pattern numbers. It seems doubtful that sizes 11 and 13 were made.
3 1031  7 1032  12 1084
4 1029  8 1033  14 1085
5 1030  9 1082
6 1081 10 1083
Regarding the name "Mountain Grade": I do not know if this was a name applied by Griswold or by Thompson Diggs, or someone else. Also made were the. following matching pieces. (The dutch ovens, of course, do not have the distinctive handle that the skillets do).
1034  8  deep skillet/chicken fryer
1035  8  cover for above (will fit 1033)
1036  8  dutch oven
1037  8  cover for dutch oven
1038  9  dutch oven
1039  9  cover for dutch oven
1040  10 dutch oven
1041  10 cover for dutch oven

The Best Waffle Irons

For those of you who, like me, like to use your waffle irons I want to give my opinion as to which waffle irons I consider to be the best ones to use. Having restored and used close to 25 different irons, I have kept the following in my collection because they work so well and make such good waffles.
Griswold No7, pattern 308/309/326
Griswold No8, pattern 314/315/328
Griswold No11, pattern 363/364/987
Griswold No18 Heart Star p/n 919/920/915
All are c. 1920 Griswold irons on high frames because I have found they are of top quality and design and have a well balanced feel in use. The high frames, designed for use on gas stoves, work equally well on electric stoves with the spiral coil elements. Waffle irons may not work on many newer types of electric stoves. Low frames can also be used but are not as convenient in that they are harder to turn and may not heat as evenly. My irons all have wire coil handles with the large diameter eyebolt through the center and the small, cast ferrule by the eye (except for the Heart Star with doesn't use the ferrule). Wood handles and earlier coil handles such as used on 885/886 pattern irons are not so substantial in construction and do not have the good feel of the heavier design. The latest (c.1930) heavy wire handles without the center eyebolt are just too heavy and feel clunky in use. Having used No.9 Griswold irons I found that the waffles came out somewhat doughy because the spaces between the knobs in the pattern are too wide. "CLOWS" irons make good waffles but come only on low frames. If I had to keep only one iron it would be my No8 pattern 314/315 (312/314 were made in small numbers and are identical) round iron which gives a near-perfect, traditional patterned waffle. Acquired around 1968 for $5 from a San Francisco junk shop; it is still the best waffle maker I have had.

My "secret" for making perfect waffles? About one cup Bisquick in mixing bowl. Break up lumps with mixing spoon. Add one egg, one tablespoon or a little more oil, and sufficient milk to make batter thin without being runny. Mix as little as possible. Pour into preheated, seasoned iron that is just beginning to smoke when opened. Turn iron immediately and cook for about one minute. Remove waffle and top with REAL maple syrup. Too much mixing of the batter or too thick batter give heavy, tough waffles. No need to ever wash or oil the waffle iron--the oil (or melted butter) in the batter takes care of that.


Pictured on these two pages is a full set of G.F.Filley muffin irons made in Saint Louis, MO c. 1880's. Shown in part and close up for detail. There has been no documented evidence that a No9 pan was made; an 1884 Filley catalog (see CICN p.61) omits a No9 but does list a No15 for $8 per dozen. All the other pans were only $3.75 per dozen so, perhaps, the No15 may have been a commercial sized pan. Nos. 1,2,4 and 7 are among the rarer and more desirable of the Filley pans while Nos. 10 and 3 are the most common. While several different Filley pans have been found that were unmarked, most will be marked under the handles with the name and the Number. Most pans have several crude gate marks on the bottom of the cups while later pans are gated along the top, outer edge of the cups on one side. I've had Nos. 6 and 7 this way.

Correction: On p.21 of CICN I have mixed up the catalog numbers for the two breakfast pans pictured. The bacon fryer on the left is cat. 1103 and the breakfast skillet on the right is cat. 1101. Also, the last sentence should read: The 1101 pan has not been seen.

Listed below are additions to the muffin pan list on pg. 25 of CICN. Included are three pans catalogued by Griswold and six pans that were made by Griswold but do not show up in Griswold catalogs. Please contact.me if you know of additional pans that should be listed, or suggestions that will make the list better. No. 1 and 2 vienna roll bread pans are usually found without pattern numbers but probably marked No1 or No2 and VIENNA ROLL PAN. The No10 popover pans were made for Sears in the 1930's with p/n 1253 being marked BEST MADE (BM) and p/n 1512 marked PURITAN (P). No11 is an early french roll pan shown in the 1890-91 Griswold catalog. It will probably not be marked at all. A similar pan with cutouts and marked FRENCH ROLL No11 under the handles may be a Griswold pan. These pans both have cups arranged differently than the common Griswold No11 French Roll Pan. The No24 pan is identical to the No21 Griswold corn bread pan but with GRISWOLD and ERIE PA USA removed. Unnumbered cornorwheat pan, p/n 623 pictured above is a rarity. Who was it made for or sold by? The two No1270 wheat stick pans were made for Sears and marked BEST MADE (p/n 1270, c.1930) and PURITAN (c.1934) or MERIT (c.1937), both p/n 1513. Am I missing any other muffin type pans made by Griswold? Let me hear from anyone with more info.

As with the first 184 pg. volume that came out in June, 1993, the second volume of 136 pages (incl. 32 in color) is a photo collection of various collectors' treasures with everything priced. Even with a number of errors in both books, all collectors and dealers should have both. Order from L-W Book Sales, PO Box 69, Gas City, IN 46933 (800) 777-6450 Each volume is $19.95 + $2 shipping one book, $.40 ea. extra book. IN,IL,MI,OH,MN,WI add sales tax.
above Cornorwheat type stick pan made by Griswold, p/n 623. Other than the unique handles, this pan is the same as Griswold No.272. -courtesy Joe Noto collection.

below No. 10 p/n 1253 popover pan made by Griswold for Sears Roebuck and Co. c.1930. The No.10 Puritan popover, p/n 1512, is the same pan made c.1934. It is not marked S.R. and Co. Note the slanted print which is typical of most of the iron Griswold made for others.

The information below is copied from a 16 page Griswold booklet titled Cheaper Cuts of Meat and How to Prepare Them-A Book of Recipes Using Cheaper Cuts of Meat, cooked in the Griswold Tite Top Baster. Price 25 cents. Copyright 1919. Note the fourth paragraph on seasoning cast iron cookware. Courtesy Richard Brandt, Ohio








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