Learn The History of Griswold Manufacturing.
There really is something special about using vintage cast iron pans, and I am not alone. Many enthusiasts enjoy collecting these old pieces of cookware from different foundries. And learning about the history of their cast iron cookware.
In this article, you can learn the history of the Griswold Manufacturing Company. Including background on the company, product lines, and important dates.
Table of contents.
- Griswold Manufacturing Company Information
- Learn the history of the Griswold Manufacturing Co
- I will give you some final thoughts as a cast iron hobbyist.
- Rise of fall of cast iron of the company.
Background information on the Griswold Manufacturing Company.
The origins of the foundry date back to 1868 when two families joined in a business partnership to manufacture butt hinges.
This foundry was formed by Mathew Griswold, Samuel Selden, and John Selden.
The Butt Factory
Since the small foundry made butt hinges, it had the most unfortunate of nicknames. And was known locally as the Butt Factory.
Selden and Griswold Manufacturing Company
The company was coming of age, and in 1873, Griswold and the Selden brothers registered the Selden & Griswold Manufacturing Company.
And the small foundry affectionately known as the Butt Factory was dropped.
The Selden-Griswold is the earliest know logo of the company. I have only seen the logo used on waffle irons. However, I have read that Selden-Griswold made a variety of cookware products that include.
4. Scotch bowls
Selden-Griswold (The American)
S & G. MFG. CO.
Reason for closure
Rise of the Griswold Manufacturing Company
In 1882, one of the original founders, Samuel Selden past away.
Selden-Griswold continued to operate until 1884. Until Mathew Griswold bought out the Selden family stake in the company.
I assume Griswold at the time already had the idea to expand the range of cookware and increase production.
However, the foundry was severely damaged by fire in 1885.
After repairing the foundry, the company was renamed the Griswold Manufacturing company.
The History of the Griswold Manufacturing Company.
The foundry operated from 1885-1957.
The company was located in Erie, Pennsylvania.
The Griswold Manufacturing Company made a wide range of goods including, hollowware, fruit pressers, gas burners, heaters, stoves, grinders, and even electric kitchen appliances.
Griswold hollowware brands
Over the years, Griswold used a variety of logos and brands on their cookware. The Griswold cast iron range of cookware includes the following.
2. Griswold’s Erie
3. Victor (lower-priced range)
5. Iron Mountain (and is identified by the handle)
6. Good Health
7. Best Made S.R & Co
8. Puritan (made for Sears Roebuck Department Store)
9. Merit (made as an in-house store brand for the Sear Roebuck Department Store)
Griswold Manufacturing History (the rise and fall of the company)
After Griswold rebuilt the foundry, Matthew quickly expanded the hollowware range and labeled his product Erie.
Griswold added enameled cast iron to their cookware range in the 1920s.
However, you are likely to see Griswold enameled cast iron dating from the 1950s.
In the 1930s
The company added electric ovens, sandwich makers, and waffle-irons to their cookware range.
A labor strike affected operations at the foundry. City officials and the police force were needed to mediate. The employees were demanding higher wages and better working conditions.
Unfortunately, in 1947 a disagreement within the Griswold families resulted in the company being sold to investors.
After this date, no Griswold family members were involved in the business.
In 1957 the Griswold Manufacturing was sold to the McGraw Edison Company located in Illinois.
The company quickly off-loaded Griswold to the Wagner Manufacturing Company.
Wagner Manufacturing was sold to Textron Inc of Rhode Island. And for 10 years, Griswold cast iron was made in the Wagner foundry.
This was under a leadership subsidiary company of Textron called Randall Company.
In 1969 the General House Ware Corporation bought the rights of both Griswold and Wagner.
Did you know other foundries used Griswold and Erie cast iron as a template for their own cookware?
Griswold cast iron cookware really is superb. The cookware tends to have few casting flaws and very smooth cooking surfaces.
Other foundries such as Wapak Hollowware and Sidney Hollowware used Griswold cast iron skillets as templates. And you can often see a ghost mark, a Griswold or Erie marking on the back of competing hollowware manufacturers of the early 20th century.
It really shows the Griswold Manufacturing Company, were one step ahead of other players in the industry. And their products stood out as the standard to beat.
Foundries that might have used Erie and Griswold cast iron as templates.
Eagle Stove Works
You are likely to see the Griswold large block logo on Eagle Stove works skillets.
Marion Stove Company
You can sometimes see an Erie ghost mark at the 12:00 position on Marion cast iron.
The ghost mark is often very faint.
It is not uncommon to see an Erie ghost mark on early Wapak skillets.
Sidney Hollow Ware Company
You can also find Erie ghost marks on some Sidney Hollow Ware.
Griswold was a leader within the industry, and their products were often copied by other ironworks.Boonie Hicks
Why do cast iron enthusiasts love Griswold cast iron?
If you have a Griswold skillet, then you are one lucky owner. Then you probably already know you are cooking in a pan over one hundred years old. And that is pretty cool. Not only does Griswold cast iron look fantastic, but the pans are also much lighter than cast iron modern ironware.
Griswold and Wagner Manufacturing had a wide range of products. So collectors have an excellent range of products they can choose to collect. Many collectors focus on one age range. While other collectors may focus on one item, such as coffee grinders or muffins pans. For a cast iron collector, Griswold has it all.
But you do not need to be a collector to enjoy Griswold ironware. In this article, I answer basic questions for non-collectors buying their first Griswold skillet.
What do the Griswold logos look like?
As mentioned earlier, Griswold Manufacturing made several different cookware brands. Griswold and Erie are the most popular and within these two brands. Griswold also had some variations of their logo. The Cast Iron Collector is a fantastic resource if you want to learn more about Griswold logos.
But I also have a great resource you can use to identify your Griswold cast iron using logos. To read the article, just click the link.
Some Griswold markings are rarer than others which could affect the price. A lot of collectors focus on one Griswold marking for their collection. But if you are looking for a single pan, wait for one with your favorite logo.
I love history and find the stories of these old foundries fascinating. Sadly, most are no longer in operation. If you have vintage cast iron, not only do you have an excellent pan. But you have a piece of history.
If you want to learn more about antique cast iron cookware. You will find the Vintage Cast Iron page interesting. The page has more articles on the foundries of the 19th and 20th centuries.