Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ghost Markings

If you look between the FAVORITE and the PIQUA on this old Favorite griddle you will see a ghost mark.

The ghost mark reads "ERIE".

Erie is the name used from 1880 to 1905 or 1906 on the products of the Griswold Manufacturing Co. After 1905/6 the brand would change to Griswold and continue until 1957 as the premier maker of cast iron cookware (or hollow ware as it was called).

Favorite cast iron cookware was produced in Piqua Ohio by the Favorite Stove and Range Co. 1916-1934 is the usually cited era of Favorite hollow ware production.

So how did a Favorite griddle get an Erie ghost mark? They used an Erie griddle as a pattern to create their casting mold. Later Favorite products used their own designs and were superb.

Ghost marking is prized by collectors as these pieces are less common.

3 comments:

R. Mansfield said...

What's interesting to me about this, Greg, is that it adds fuel to my suspicion that cast iron foundries have copied each other's offerings forever. I mean, it would be extremely easy to do since cast iron is made in sand moldings. All one foundry would have to do is take another company's pan and make a mold from it as evidenced in your ghost marking.

I've been curious about this because I bought a lid for a Lodge skillet about five years ago and it PERFECTLY fits the skillet I inherited from my grandmother that is at least 70 years old.

All 10 1/4" skillets are standard and things like lids are interchangeable. But when did this first occur? In literature you can do "source critical" studies to determine an original source for a written work. It would be interesting, but perhaps very difficult, to determine the original source for a lot of the standard pieces of cookware that are produced by multiple companies.

Greg said...

Favorite probably did this when they were getting started with their line of cookware. They had produced some sporadically since the 1890s but really turned up production in 1916.

I've seen Griswolds with Erie ghost marks and Wagner Ware pans with Wagner (their name before 1925) ghost marks so sometimes they did it to themselves.

When your competitor's name is on your product that is pretty blatant.

I don't even know where one would look to try to determine where the first classic skillet was cast. Hand casting was the rule until the late 1950s so this had to be a laborious process.

R. Mansfield said...

I just created a link to this post in the "Informational/How To" section of our newest "Cast Iron Around the Web" post at http://www.cookingincastiron.com