Thursday, October 1, 2009

The last of the Eries



In 1880 the Seldon & Griswold Manufacturing Company began producing cast iron hollow ware (what we now call cookware) in its Erie, Pennsylvania factory. Labeled "ERIE", the finished product was named after the company hometown.{Sidney and Wapak were also named after their respective hometowns Sidney OH and Wapakoneta OH}

After reorganizing as the Griswold Manufacturing Company in 1887, a desire to rename the cast iron products resulted in the changes visible in these two skillets. Both were produced between 1904 to 1906 and the design is nearly identical but the "Griswold's Erie" (seen on the number 6) introduced the Griswold name to customers of the time.

The Griswold's Erie skillets were only produced for a two year period, 1905 and 1906, making them a little more collectible and therefore more valuable than their otherwise identical Erie and Griswold counterparts.

Cast iron collectors now recognize six series of Erie skillets. The number 8 pictured above is a stellar example of the final series. The inset heat ring and beefier handle are two of the characteristics that one finds in later Eries.

Both of these skillets are functional and beautiful antiques that showcase the workmanship found in handmade products from over 100 year ago.

Griswold cast iron went on to become the dominant name in American cast iron until 1957.

For more info see my Griswold article here LINK

7 comments:

Lauren said...

Hi,

This blog is fantastic. i come back time and time again for more tips. I've just purchased a Griswold No.8 skillet with Du Chro finish off Ebay and wanted to know how i am supposed to recondition this and do i season it as normal, inside and out?

Thanks,

Lauren

Greg said...

Hi Lauren, Thanks for reading the blog!

If the inside of your skillet is plain iron you will need to season it. The duo-chrome just needs to be cleaned, you should not need to do much to maintain it.

Greg

Lauren said...

Hi Greg,

Thanks. I've just received the the skillet and it's actually chrome plated on the inside too. It's giving off a strong metallic smell when not in use and and it's flavouring the food when I cook with it. I can't seem to find anything about cooking on Chrome - is it safe? Most of the chrome has come off so should I try to scrub the rest of the plating off with steel wool?

Thanks for your help and advice.

Lauren

Greg said...

Hi Lauren - If you want to use it I think I would try to remove the chrome.

The strong odors just doesn't sound right, I wonder if it was plated by someone other than Griswold?

Does it have a number on the bottom?

Lauren said...

Yes, it's 704 H with big block logo and no heat ring.

Thanks

Greg said...

Lauren, Most books show the underside of the skillet so I can't tell if it is normal to have the plating on the inside.

On the 1 plated piece I own the interior is bare iron.

When you combine this with the smell I think your piece was done after it left the Griswold foundry and you should remove it before cooking in it.

Lauren said...

thanks Greg.