What Are The Best Vintage Cast Iron Skillets?

Best vintage cast iron skillets to use and collect.

You can learn about the best vintage cast iron skillets in this article. So the next time you go to a flea market or second-hand store, you can recognize and seek out these brands. With any luck, you will find yourself a bargain during your search. And come home with an excellent vintage pan. 

Before we start, it’s good to know that many foundries make light and smooth pans. And some of my favorites do not make my list. I have considered the likelihood that you can easily recognize the pans. And the chance of you finding one when you go shopping. Therefore, I have left out rare, expensive, and skillets without logos.

Table Of Contents

  1. Heirloom pieces
  2. Erie 
  3. Griswold 
  4. Wagner Ware
  5. Favorite Pique Ware
  6. Lodge Vintage Cast Iron Pans
  7. Wapak
  8. Who made the best vintage skillet? Final thoughts.

What Are The Best Vintage Cast Iron Skillets To Use And Collect?

What is the best vintage cast iron skillet?
A Favorite Piqua Ware skillet made by Favorite Stove and Range.

Heirloom And Inherited Ironware 

Before we get into the big names in ironware, it’s good to point out that heirloom pieces and the antique skillets your neighbor gave you should be considered the best. After all, someone has considered you highly and picked you as a guardian for their treasured ironware. And I hope you enjoy and use them as much as the previous owners did.

Erie Skillets Are Some Of The Best Vintage Cast Iron Skillets.  

The top vintage skillets on my list are Erie. Erie skillets are some of the lightest vintage pans around. The pans come in six slightly different handle designs and logo variations, with the first and fourth being the most sought-after. There is another vintage Erie pan with a spider on the base. However, these pans are scarce and command a high price tag. 

These skillets are old, so check for cracks and warpages before purchasing. Many of the Erie may have pitting on the base. However, these pans are some of the best vintage pans, and any pitting will not affect usability.

Griswold Skillets is a favorite with collectors and enthusiasts. 

Griswold Manufacturing is the same foundry that made Erie skillets. However, Griswold later changed the design to include the Griswold name and the circle cross marking. You can expect the cooking surface to be smooth and with few faults in the pan. 

Better still, the pans are readily available on the used market. And unless you decide to purchase a large pan, the skillets are often priced reasonably. However, Griswold ironware is some of the most collectible and sought-after vintage pans. So the skillets will not be cheap if the seller knows what they have.

Look for Griswold skillets with a large logo that covers most of the base. Slant and block logos are considered better and more collectible. However, I find all Griswold skillets fantastic to use.

Wagner Skillets Are Some Of The Finest You Will Cook On. 

Closely following Griswold is Wagner for the best vintage skillets. You will find a skillet manufactured by Wagner just as smooth and light as Griswold. However, you are likely to pick up a pan for less. And it’s not uncommon to see pitting on the base of late 1800s to early 1900s pans. But this will not affect usability. 

Look for the famous Wagner Ware Sidney -O- marking with a heat ring. These pans are fantastic to use but are not as light as older skillets, making them less prone to warping.  

However, Wanger made nickel-plated cast iron cookware. So, I recommend checking the pan carefully before you purchase. And even though nickel-platted pans are cheaper, I would opt for a regular cast-iron skillet for your first pan.

Learn the different logos on Wagner Ware. This article has you covered.

Favorite Stove And Range Skillets Have Outstanding Cooking Surfaces.

A lesser-known brand of vintage ironware cookware is Favorite Piqua Ware. The cooking surface on the skillets is some of the best I have seen. However, many buyers look over this name in favor of Griswold and Wanger. So, you might find an excellent vintage pan at a lower price.

Although all Piqua Ware skillets are top-notch, watch for the smiley logo. The logo is favored among collectors and enthusiasts and is a friendly design with old-world charm.

Click the link to learn the history and logos used on Favorite Stove and Range cookware.

Lodge still makes skillets today, but their vintage pans are top-notch. 

Lodge manufacturing needs a little introduction. They are one of the oldest foundries producing ironware today. So, it is not surprising the company made high-quality vintage skillets.

And they can be picked up relatively inexpensively. And you can easily find skillets in excellent condition throughout the States.

You can usually recognize the vintage pans by identifying notches on the heat ring. However, the more favored logo has the word LODGE in a slight arc on the base. Skillets with this marking are harder to find. Many vintage Lodge pans are unmarked, so they often go unnoticed by many buyers.

Wapak Skillets Are Comfortable To Hold And Fun To Use. 

Are you looking for one of the best vintage skillets and names in ironware? Then it’s hard to look past Wapak. Wapak also makes my list because the skillets are easily recognizable. And even though Wapak skillets are harder to find than the previously mentioned brands, they are not uncommon. 

Wapak is well-known for the Indian Head Logo. And skillets with this logo can command high selling prices that are out of reach to most buyers, especially if the logo is in good condition. 

But skillets match the Z logo and are also finely made. And they are excellent vintage skillets within the budget of most buyers. They do have more casting flaws than other brands. But the casting flaws tend to be on the base and sides of the pan. And not on the cooking surface. 

Learn the different logos used by Wapak Hollow Ware Company here.

 Final Thoughts. What Are The Best Vintage Cast Iron Skillets? 

While many new to vintage cast iron solely seeks out Wagner and Griswold skillets. They are the makers of fine-quality skillets, but you are not limited to these brands. 

Many options are available if you are looking for a high-quality vintage skillet. Most of the foundries in the 19th century produced excellent ironware with comparable quality. And the difference is rarity and collectability rather than quality. 

Heirloom skillets and ones the neighbor gave are often the best. And I tend to agree with this statement. But if you want to buy a vintage skillet, any of the names mentioned above will make you proud. 


  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cast-iron_cookware_manufacturers
  2. https://www.castironcollector.com/manufacturers.php


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