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Collectible Griswold iron |

Collectible Griswold iron

From 1865-1957, the Griswold Manufacturing Company of Erie, Penn. made cast iron implements for use in the home. Their selection of skillets, muffin pans, roasters, bread molds, waffle irons, and kettles, are as serviceable today as they were a hundred years ago, making them one of the top “usable collectibles.”

The first mark used by Griswold was simply “Erie.” Later pieces were marked with a cross shaped mark within a circle. Several variations of that mark were used through 1957, when the company was sold. Other companies manufactured cast iron using the Griswold name after the company changed hands, but collectors look for the words “Erie,” “Erie PA” or “Erie PA USA” under the logo to confirm that their cast iron treasures were indeed Pennsylvanian made.

Many of the items produced by Griswold came in a selection of sizes. To assist the consumer with easy identification, each item was clearly numbered on the back. These numbers are now very helpful to collectors, who use them as an indication of value and rarity. Most of the pricing guides list Griswold pieces by item type and then by the size number. Helpful as these markings may be, it does not always make collecting simple. A good example of this would be with Griswold skillets. For example, the number 12 and 14 skillets are generally easy to come by. However, you might look for a long while to find the elusive and valuable #13 skillet. Other pieces currently bringing top money include the Danish Pancake Pan, #8 Waffle Maker Base and the Chicken Pan w/lid. This makes the “thrill of the hunt”, part of the fun of collecting Griswold. The value of these pieces definitely make “the thrill of the hunt” one of the best parts of collecting Griswold.

One of the best parts of collecting cast iron comes with being able to really enjoy their functionality in the kitchen. Camping enthusiasts also enjoy cast iron, for while it may be little on the heavy side to take backpacking, you just can’t beat the flavor of fresh fish cooked in iron over an open fire.

Cast iron cookware is often found at estate sales and flea markets, but it is not always in the best of conditions. Cleaning may be a little messy, but is not really difficult. First spray the pan with standard oven cleaner and put it in a plastic bag. Using a plastic bag will keep the cleaner from evaporating and allows it to work longer. After two days remove the skillet from the bag and scrub it with a brass brush. If light rust is present it can be dissolved by soaking the piece in a 50 percent solution of white vinegar and water for a few hours.

Clean iron pans need to be seasoned. Place the skillet in a warm oven for a few minutes then coat it lightly with shortening. Put the skillet back into a 225 degree oven for 30 minutes. Remove and wipe it almost dry to eliminate any pooled grease and then heat again for 30 minutes.

Avoid using scouring pads and harsh detergent on seasoned cast iron as they will cut into the surface, ruining the seasoned effect. The best way to clean your skillets is to soak them in boiling hot water for several minutes and wipe them dry with a paper towel, then reheat the pan and apply just enough grease to cover the surface before storing.

CENTRAL INDIANA COLLECTORS NOTICE: Saturday, March 10 a large collection of old and rare Griswold pieces will be offered for auction at Heimel Auction Service in Beech Grove. To see all of the offerings, including a RARE #13 skillet go to where you will find pictures and full info on this outstanding, once a year antique auction. Until next time….Linda

Linda Kennett is a professional liquidation consultant specializing in down-sizing for seniors and the liquidation of estates and may be reached at 317-258-7835 or

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