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Evolution of the Wagner Trademark

Block Lettering

For the first thirty years of its history, the Wagner trademark consisted solely of the word "WAGNER", incised either in a straight line or in an arc, and, at some point, with the addition below it of "SIDNEY, O.". Various combinations of straight and curved lettering were seen, as well as the moving of the trademark from the 12 o'clock position to the center, and back again.

Wagner Block.

Wagner Arc.

Wagner Sidney O. centered.

Wagner Sidney O. low.

Wagner Sidney O. high.

Empirical observation tells us that early in its history Wagner "borrowed" Erie pans from which to create their patterns. Ghosts of the Erie TM are seen often enough on older Wagner skillets to confirm they engaged in the practice. Perhaps the placement of lettering just down from the 12 o'clock position was in an effort to have a "clean" area in which to inscribe the Wagner TM.

Wagner Ware

About 1914, Wagner began to brand its cast metal cookware products as "Wagner Ware". Pieces previously lettered with an arched "WAGNER" above a straight "SIDNEY" with an "O." below-- round roasters in particular-- were seen having their patterns modified to insert the word "WARE" in between Wagner and Sidney.

Early Wagner Ware logo.

The Stylized Logo

From the cobbled together Wagner Ware trademark would come the seeds of inspiration for what would ultimately become Wagner's most iconic trademark. The single, large, fancy "W" for both words, along with "SIDNEY" and "-O-" standing for Ohio beneath, first seen inscribed on pieces around 1922, would become known as the "stylized logo".

Wagner Ware stylized logo.

Changing Positions

The stylized logo was seen moved around on skillet bottoms, just as the block and arc trademarks had been years before. Sometime between 1924 and 1935, instead of at the usual 12 o'clock, the logo on several skillets (sizes #4-#8 with heat rings and c/ns) appeared at the center, as it would also come to be seen on the later, "dual logo" National skillets Wagner produced. It would finally settle back at the typical 12 o'clock position and stay there until its last usage.

Wagner Ware stylized logo high, size number.

Wagner Ware stylized logo centered, catalog number.

Wagner Ware stylized logo high, catalog number, smooth bottom.

The Pie Logo

At some point in the stylized logo's history, shortly after the adoption of the smooth bottom skillet, it would appear, an interesting variation occured. The catalog number and pattern letter were repositioned a little higher, the wording "CAST IRON SKILLET" was added in a downward curve at the 6 o'clock position, and the stylized logo was surrounded by a border which happened to form a wedge shape. This would come to be known as the "pie logo", the shape being reminiscent of a slice of pie. Skillets so marked would become some of the most collectible Wagners. Pie logo skillet production appears to have only spanned at most a ten year period, and the reason for its discontinuance is not known. Before an apparent replacement of patterns, examples are seen with ghosts and artifacts characteristic of the "pie logo" skillets.

Wagner Ware pie logo.

Wagner Ware smooth bottom #3, high position c/n implies modified size number pattern.

Post-Acquisition Variations

After 1959, the last year of production of what is considered collectible Wagner cast iron, the "SIDNEY -O-" was removed from the logo. This perhaps reflected that casting operations had been moved to Cincinnati by then current owner Textron/Randall, or at least were no longer confined to Sidney. The subsequent addition of succeeding parent company General Housewares Corporation's logo after 1969 would also see a 180° flip in the orientation of the markings on skillet bottoms.

Wagner Ware stylized logo, no Sidney -O-.

Wagner Ware stylized logo GHC dual logo

Dating The TMs

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

Wagner TMWagner BlockWagner ArcWagner Sidney O.Wagner Ware Sidney O.Wagner Ware Sidney -O-
TypeLetteringLetteringLetteringLetteringStylized LogoPie Logo
Time Period1890s1891-19101895-19201920s1922-19591924-1934