Saturday, June 6, 2009

Small Skillets - good things do come in small sizes

Wagner Pie Logo ~ 1915 -1934
It is probably safe to bet that the 10.25" skillet would be the most commonly found size in people's kitchens. Number 8s are certainly a useful size when cooking for two. 12" (and larger) skillets are impressive in their size, weight and capacity. I wouldn't want to be without either size (or drop them on my foot) but I've grown to appreciate the smaller skillets.

A number 3 is usually 6.5" and these are perfect for cooking a single burger or egg. They also work very well as a baking dish when heating up leftovers.

The pictured #3 skillet is a Wagner Ware "Pie Logo".

A number 5 skillet is usually 8" and I find these to be a great size for cooking breakfast sausage or sauteing some carrots.
This skillet is a Favorite #5 and it is unusually deep.
Favorite "smile" logo - 1916 -1934
Both of the picture skillets are at least 74 years old and get regular use.

These smaller skillets are often found in excellent condition because they received less use and therefore have fewer utensil marks. The prices on the smaller skillets are usually lower than the larger frying pans. This is not always true as Griswold #4s and Wapak Indian Head #4s can fetch very high prices.

If you are considering purchasing an old skillet to see why goofballs like me make a fuss over them consider a small one.

Do you have a favorite skillet size?


R. Mansfield said...

Greg, I've got a smaller skillet that I inherited from my grandmother. I use it so often I simply keep it on the stovetop. You may have seen it in some of my pictures. It's also probably over seventy years old.

The only marking on it, is a number 8 on the top of the handle, near where the handle connects to the pan. Do you have any idea what brand this might be?

Greg said...

Hey Rick,

Are there any markings on the bottom?

Is there a heat ring? If yes, is the heat ring inset or on the perimeter of the bottom?

Any breaks in the heat ring?

Just about everybody put the numbers on the handle. It is easier to say what it isn't (a Vollrath) than what it is.

R. Mansfield said...

No markings on bottom, sadly. My hunch is that it's going to always be unidentified. It was purchased in Arkansas in the twenties or thirties more than likely. I doubt it's valuable in monetary terms, but it's a rare jewel to me because my grandmother used it nearly everyday.

The regular 10.25" skillet that I inherited from her probably stands a greater chance of identification. It has a heat ring, says "No. 7" and "10 1/4 IN"

Rev. Biggles said...

Hmmm, well, actually I do. I don't have the pan in front of me, but it's about 13" across the bottom. It's got a heat ring, but can't remember the name on the bottom.

It's my favorite and used the most. Not only can I use it, obviously, for larger things, but it works well for small items as well. The reason I use it for smaller cookin's is cause the spatters are less likely to go flying on to my range. That, and it's so large it's easier to just leave it on top of the stove.


Greg said...

Rick - Just about every foundry produced iron hollow ware that was unmarked. These were often sold at hardware stores but were still really high quality.

Any heat ring on the No 7? Any breaks in the heat ring?

Biggles - My favorite size is "all of them". Parking a piece of iron on top of the stove is what I do to get it really cooking well.

For a little while I'm stuck with an electric stovetop and big pieces of iron don't thrive on undersized burners.

David said...

I like 8" skillets because I like to eat out of the skillet itself. It's a popular use for cast iron skillets in the South.

Becky said...

I'm trying them all on for size, but it seems I keep coming back to the first vintage pan I bought: the trust #8 Griswold with the large logo and smooth bottom. I found it for $9 in a junk store and spent a week enduring Easy Off fumes (I now have a lye tank. Whew! Improvement!) to clean it.

As far as newbie purchases go, I really lucked out because NONE of the other pans I've since bought have such a glassy smooth interior. This one was treated well and loved mightily, I'd say.

I bought a Self Basting skillet lid to qo with, and now that's the set that lives on top of the stove.

appliejuice said...

The one I use the most is my Lodge 13 incher. I have six people in my family, so we need a large skillet.

My favorite is my Wagner Ware 10 skillet. It measures 11.5 inches. I like it the best because it is old and slick as can be. :)

I do have a small Griswold #3. I don't use it, for the reasons above. I also have two smaller skillets than the Griswold and I don't use them either.

Greg said...

David - I eat off cutting boards a lot. Sometimes I just stand over the sink and look outside.

Beats doing dishes!

Becky - You had the karma or the mojo going with that very first purchase.

I think I saw you signed up on WAGS?

appliejuice - Yeah you do need a big skillet! I'm still on the prowl for a sweet deal on a number 14.

Thanks to everyone for commenting. I'm a slacker sometimes when it comes to answering.

Claudia said...

I love my No.8 -- it's a second series "Erie" with the pineapple patternmaker's mark (though mine is a mirror image, which is kind of odd) -- and it only weighs about 3.5 lbs.

I also have a Piqua Favorite No.9 and a Wagner Ware No.5 but don't use them nearly as often.

I generally only cook for one or two people, so the No.8 is perfect for me and the skillet lives on my stovetop.

Thanks for your blog; it's incredibly helpful!