Saturday, August 9, 2008

Wapak a loo bop...














































The Wapak Hollow Ware company lasted from 1903 until 1926. Information about this company is scarce but bankruptcy is the reason listed in the Auglaize County records for Wapak's disappearance. Named after their hometown of Wapakonteta Ohio, a lower quality line was also sold under the name Oneta.
The pieces pictured above show the detail and glassy smooth interiors (note: there is no oil in that skillet) found on Wapak skillets. The first two pictured were cast between 1903 and 1910. The skillet in the upper right hand corner in the 3rd picture has the "Z logo".

In 23 years of operation Wapak produced some extremely nice thin wall black iron products. The most famous and collectible are the Indian Medallion pieces which have very ornate and original castings.
In use these pans are very light and slick. {Over time cast iron pieces have gotten heavier as the quality of the iron ore declined and casting became more automated.) These skillets are quite responsive to temperature changes on the stovetop and food glides around the slick interior with very little oil or butter.

16 comments:

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

Greg said...

Cool.

You put in a lot of work on those "Cast Iron Around the Web" posts. I read them every time they go up.

Lee said...

Greg,
I picked me up one of those
Wapak Indian Head Medallion #12 at an auction along with some other skillets. I have a post about it on Wags under "On the Front Porch" section

Greg said...

Lee,

Funny you mention picking up an Indian Head Wapak cause I just pulled a #9 out of the Electro tank. This is my first Indian Head piece.

I was about to go spread some Crisco on it before I read your post. A number 12 must be impressive.

Look for pictures in a new article.

Rev. Biggles said...

Oh man, that gives me tingles just like when I get an indian head cent.

First paragraph, scare is probably supposed to be scarce?

Biggles

Greg said...

Scarce is correct. Thanks

synchronicity said...

I just found your blog, thanks to Google. I have two cast iron skillets that I got 20 years ago from my grandmother. After heating corn tortillas in it for the umpteen millionth time (yes, both pieces are still wonderful to cook with), I got curious enough to find out more about it. Guess what, it's a WAPAK (with the "Z" logo, a 101B under that, and a big "8" on the other side of the bottom). Since my grandmother was born around 1920, she likely inherited it from HER mother.

I hope my (now 5 year old) daughter will think about this when the day comes that she gives them to her children. :-)

Greg said...

synchronicity - I hope your daughter gets to tell her grandkids about that Wapak.

synchronicity said...

Thanks! BTW, just found the other skillet, and although it looks very similar it is not a Wapak. That one has "Sidney" on the back in smallish block letters, what appears to be a "0" underneath that, and a "7A" across from that (near the handle). It does not say "Wagner Ware" anywhere on it (a quick google showed a lot of Wagner/Sidney stuff). It's a tiny bit smaller than the Wapak, and both have the little pour spouts on either side. Any insights?

After years of just taking these things for granted, it's like a scavenger hunt to learn the history behind them.

Greg said...

synchronicity - It sounds like you have an actual Sidney and they are very old.

Sidney was also based in Sidney OH and they were acquired by Wagner in 1897. They produced cast iron cookware from approx. 1886 to 1897.

Take care of that one!

synchronicity said...

Thanks very much for the info (and insert Keanu Reeves "whoa!"). I'm giving that one to my mother to use and will warn her to treat it well. There is no way I would've guessed it to be over 100 years old.

The more I look at them and compare them to my not-yet-ten-year-old Calphalon, the more impressive they become.

trinamassie said...

sounds like one i have....i have a dutch oven/kettle all i can read is "sidney" and has an 8 on both pot and lid....unable to see and O any where...we live only an hour from sidney ohio in cincinnati so could it be one of the older sidneys? thanks for any info you have.

Greg said...

trinamassie - It sounds like a Sidney.

They are scarce so be nice to it.

bonncass said...

I just picked up a #9 Wapak today and left a #8 hanging on the wall at the antigue store, I guess I should go back and get it they are probably a pair. Saw several wagners and sidneys very nice also. 45 $ for the #9.

Greg said...

boncass - If the Sidneys are decent you should buy them too.

Old cast iron is a pretty good hard asset and the values always seem to go up.

bonncass said...

I went back and purchased the #8. It is good for cooking eggs and sausage in the morning. Got them hanging on the side of the cabinet, they make good decorations too.
I may go and see about the sidneys one day but I can't right now.