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  #1  
Old 11-22-2013, 03:09 PM
CZuponcic CZuponcic is offline
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Default Newcomer to Forum and to Collecting Questions

I'm an absolute newcomer to this forum and a newcomer to "cast iron collecting" for lack of a better term. I have purchased a size 3 and 7 Griswold, am preparing to clean and season them, and now am looking for a size 10 or 11 Griswold or Wagner piece. These items will be USED daily. I have thousands of dollars worth of All Clad that I love, but the non-stick properties of these vintage cast iron skillets intrigues me. That being said, I have about $250-300 that I wish to spend on a Griswold 10 or 11. Do any of you have recommendations as to what logos I should be looking for and what I should be staying away from? I want pre-1940 as this has been stated quite frequently as the "good iron" period. I've been on Ebay and there is so much to choose from that I'm going in circles. Also, does anyone know if skillets with heat wrings will still work effectively on my induction cooktop. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 11-22-2013, 03:29 PM
Doug D. Doug D. is offline
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Default Re: Newcomer to Forum and to Collecting Questions

As I understand it, an induction cooktop should work with a pan with a heat ring as it is not contingent on the pan bottom making a flush contact with the surface. Raising the bottom away from the surface slightly, however, may have some small effect on how the pan heats vs. one making flush contact. As you are going for something in a size 10 or 11 just as a user, you may find pieces other than pre-1940 Griswold that will serve just as well, at a lower cost, and be easier to find in good condition. Large block logo Griswolds in those sizes are scarce, and pricey when and if found undamaged. Assuming a heat ringed pan fits the bill, a 1950s Lodge #10 skillet (3 notches, no "SK", no "Made In USA", mirror polish cooking surface) is a superb pan for everyday use. You may also be able to find a decent smooth bottom Wagner #10 (stylized logo, c/n 1060) for not too much money. The notion of the "good iron" having been played out in the early 20th century is a bit of a myth, albeit an oft-repeated one.
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Old 11-22-2013, 04:29 PM
CZuponcic CZuponcic is offline
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Default Re: Newcomer to Forum and to Collecting Questions

Thank you very much for responding to my inquiry so quickly. I will definitely look for the item/examples you recommended. I was under the belief that Lodge only made pebble surfaces from their molds and that their skillets were significantly heavier than Wagner and Griswold. In addition, I was also under the belief that the quality of workmanship in the grinding and machining of the pans surface had suffered post 1940. Therefor, buying a pre 1940 item that was in excellent condition would have a smoother machined cooking surface (i.e. much more conducive to creating a stick-free surface.) Regarding induction, I took 3 nickels and placed them in a triangle 6 inches apart on and induction burner. I took my #7 Griswold and placed it on the 3 nickels. I turned the burner to medium heat. In seconds the inside of the pan was getting hot. With the nickels emulating a heat ring by raising it slightly from the cooking surface, it most definitely appears that skillets with heat rings will work on an induction surface.
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Old 11-22-2013, 04:51 PM
Doug D. Doug D. is offline
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Default Re: Newcomer to Forum and to Collecting Questions

Modern Lodge (Lodge from the mid-60s forward) has been the product of automated foundries. Even though automation did not spell the end of polishing altogether, it was subsequently discontinued entirely, in response to cheap foreign competition. Previously, Lodge in fact offered two finish grades, up through the late 50s at least, dubbed red label (polished) and blue label (mirror finish), plus a third grade, gold label (pre-seasoned). I've also seen late Wagner Ware, ca. mid-1960s ("Made In USA", no "Sidney -O-") that, while somewhat heavy, was polished.
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  #5  
Old 11-22-2013, 06:47 PM
TyHiggins TyHiggins is offline
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Default Re: Newcomer to Forum and to Collecting Questions

#10's are far more common than #11's, even a #12 would be an easier and less expensive find. As for a Griswold #10 LL, good luck finding one for less than an arm and a leg. I've come across two Wagner #10's and they were both a steal at $12 and $10 respectively (both were so thoroughly covered with carbon the sellers didn't know what they had, judging by prices on clear pieces).

If you want light, older is definitely better. I recently obtained a very early Favorite Piqua Ware #9 that weighs the same as a Griswold #8. I have a 3 notch Lodge #10 as well as the unmarked Wagner, both are fine users but on the heavier side. Just last week for $6 I found a vintage AB&I 12 inch skillet, pretty unique looking and nicely polished, but quite heavy. I do know a fellow that has a Griswold #10 LL or two, he'd want a chunk but probably not worse than high end price at an antique mall. Still too rich for my blood though, when I consider other names to be just as good.
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  #6  
Old 11-23-2013, 03:41 PM
CZuponcic CZuponcic is offline
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Default Re: Newcomer to Forum and to Collecting Questions

I am trying to absorb the onslaught of information regarding less expensive alternatives to the high end large logo Griswolds and top end Wagners etc. I am currently bidding on a #10 pre-Griswold "Erie" which is on Ebay. It appears to be in excellent condition. Perfectly flat, no cracks, warping etc. No pitting, beautifully cleaned and seasoned. Am I wise, foolish, should I be bidding on a "real" large logo Griswold, will a same sized Piqua or Wagner cook just as well as the Erie? All these questions are going through my mind. Once again, I will be using these skillets on a daily basis.
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  #7  
Old 11-23-2013, 07:10 PM
Steve Stephens Steve Stephens is offline
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Default Re: Newcomer to Forum and to Collecting Questions

May I suggest that you don't bid on ebay items until the last 15 seconds, less if possible. Bidding early only invites other early bidders to increase their bid which, on average, will make the ending price higher than if you had waited till the end. Good items can double or triple in price in the last 10 seconds of an auction.
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  #8  
Old 11-23-2013, 07:11 PM
Doug D. Doug D. is offline
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Default Re: Newcomer to Forum and to Collecting Questions

I would personally find it hard to justify spending that which Erie skillets are selling for on eBay these days on one as a daily user. In good to excellent condition, they are wonderful pieces of cast iron hollowware history, and finding them as such is every collector's dream. But the same qualities that make them coveted collectibles-- their fine, light castings primarily-- also demand that the utmost caution be exercised in use in order to avoid damage. Too rapidly heating (or cooling) or dropping these older pieces is to be strictly avoided.

I think the tendency is to too-often attribute the non-stick properties of cast iron cookware more to the iron and not enough to a properly built, good layer of polymerized fat. Even my favorite old, somewhat pitted, $7 flea market BSR chicken fryer is as slick as any pan I know, after a relatively short period of regular use.
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  #9  
Old 11-24-2013, 05:43 PM
CZuponcic CZuponcic is offline
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Default Re: Newcomer to Forum and to Collecting Questions

Regarding Ebay bidding, I agree with you. It had been some time since I bid on something on Ebay and as soon as I found the item I wanted, hit enter on my "maximum" bid, I said "Oh CRAP!! THAT was stupid". I also understand the uniqueness of these old, vintage skillets. I am, however, also one who believes that these items are meant to be used. Paintings hang on walls, pots sit on stoves. I fully intend to take special care of these items and pass them on to my son. They will most definitely be used, but used correctly. I have also read up extensively on the seasoning process. Proper polymerized fat is indeed critical to the performance of these skillets. I have read the "how to" on this forum and it is comprehensive in its detail. I do, however, have a question for you and the members of this forum. Is there any reason why a gas outdoor grill could not be used to season skillets? They generate a lot of heat, can season several pots at once, and any smoking from the skillets would occur outdoors. I'm sure many forum members have tried this but I'd be interested as to why they might have stopped. Once again, thanks for your invaluable input.
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  #10  
Old 11-25-2013, 07:47 PM
Doug D. Doug D. is offline
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Default Re: Newcomer to Forum and to Collecting Questions

A gas grill is a viable alternative for manual seasoning application. I haven't found the need for it, instead opting to set my range hood exhaust fan to high while the pans are in the oven. Using its multiple racks, I think I might actually be able to fit more pieces simultaneously in my oven than my gas grill, and with greater ease of access and handling. Also, some like to correlate their seasoning temps to the smoke point of their chosen fats, so they may prefer the oven for that reason, assuming they do not have acceptably precise control of their gas grill temps.
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