If you've had any experience with cooking in cast iron, you'll know there's a difference between the modern-day cast iron pans and the classic antique iron cookware. Cast iron pans made today are heavier, with a rougher cast surface; whereas vintage cast iron pots and pans from the early 20th century have a far smoother cooking surface, and are lighter in weight and heft. This doesn't mean modern-day cast iron pans are worse to cook with than antique iron, it only means they're slightly different. And if you know anything about acquiring and collecting antique 20th century cast iron, then you know that the brand names to look for are Wagner and Griswold.
Numbers & Letters - The Cast Iron Collector: Information for The Vintage Cookware Enthusiast
Matthew and Marvin Griswold first manufactured articles of light hardware but are credited with making the firm a leader in the manufacture of cast iron cookware. Roger Griswold foresaw electricity as an ideal heat source and developed the first complete electric commercial cookware line in Erie, Pennsylvania, USA Wagner Hollow Ware Company. Bernard and Milton Wagner first manufactured metal castings of light hardware for general stores and tin hollowware for government contract work. William and Louis Wagner joined the partnership and they built the first and most modern cookware manufacturing facility of the time.
Wagner cast iron
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Wagner and Griswold are the leaders in the American cast-iron collectibles market. Wagner Manufacturing started business in in Sidney, Ohio. It manufactured cast iron and tried other products over the next century, including brass and aluminum. Randall Company purchased Wagner Manufacturing in , and Griswold, its biggest competitor, in Wagner Ware markings help identify the era of production, but because of reproductions, confirmation is necessary.