History Guide To The Griswold Manufacturing Co.

Griswold cast iron

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.
Vintage Griswold cast iron advertisement
Collectors can estimate the age of Griswold cast iron by using old catalogs and advertisements.

Background information on the Griswold Manufacturing Company.


Foundations

The origins of the foundry date back to 1868 when two families joined in a business partnership to manufacture butt hinges.

The founders

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.

Products made

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.

1. Griddles
2. Skillets
3. Kettles
4. Scotch bowls

Brand Names

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 American cast iron waffle iron
A Selden & Griswold waffle iron with the brand name The American. This waffle was made in the 1880s. And it could have been made after the Selden family sold their interest in the casting works. However, the patent of this design was registered in 1880.

The History of the Griswold Manufacturing Company.


Founder

Mathew Griswold
Vintage photo of Matthew Griswold

Operational dates

The foundry operated from 1885-1957.

Located

The company was located in Erie, Pennsylvania.


Product line

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.

1. Erie
2. Griswold’s Erie
3. Victor (lower-priced range)
4. Griswold
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)
Antique Griswold cookware
Griswold manufactured a wide range of cast iron cookware. Including cookware not commonly used these days, such as kettles and Scotch bowls.

Griswold Manufacturing History (the rise and fall of the company)


1885-1887

After Griswold rebuilt the foundry, Matthew quickly expanded the hollowware range and labeled his product Erie.

The 1920s-1950s


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.

1937

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.

1947

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.

1957

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.

1959

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.

1969

In 1969 the General House Ware Corporation bought the rights of both Griswold and Wagner.
Griswold cast iron cookware
Griswold made a variety of cookware, including enameled cast iron and muffin pans.
Restored Griswold cast iron skillet
Beautifully restored Griswold skillet. In case you are wondering, the skillet has been seasoned with flaxseed oil.

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.

Wapak Manufacturing

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
Wapak skillet with Erie ghost mark
It would be easier to see on an actual skillet. But I think you can just make out the E. It looks like Wapak used an Erie skillet as the original mold.

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.

Griswold cast iron muffin pans
Here are a few examples of Griswold gem and muffin pans. Many collectors enjoy researching and finding scare versions. They also look great on display.
A Griswold cast iron skillet in restored condition. This skillet has a very smooth cooking surface.
Griswold cast iron is known to have super smooth cooking surfaces. This skillet has been restored. However, it shows how well Griswold made their products. And all Griswold cast iron cookware was machined smooth like this skillet.
Griswold Dutch ovens
Griswold made a variety of Dutch Ovens and roasters. Most ovens are clearly marked, making identification easy.
Griswold cast iron skillet 710 number #9 skillet with slant logo.
This skillet has a slanted logo. Keep on the lookout for these pans. Pans with this logo are considered to be some of the best Griswold-made iron.

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. 

Griswold cast iron skillet number 11 showing large block logo
Griswold Manufacturing Company used different logos over the years. This number 11 skillet has a large block logo. Around the skillet is a raised lip. This lip is called a heat ring. Heat rings were designed for use on wood or coal-burning ranges.

Griswold History

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.

29 COMMENTS

  1. Curious to know if there are ever fake Griswold cast iron pans on eBay. Has anyone ever discovered this kind of thing? It occurred to me as I was looking at all the gorgeous pans for sale 🙂

    • Great question Laurel, hopefully other collectors can add their thoughts.

      I’ve seen a reproduction cornbread pan, and a few antique gated skillets, cast using Erie skillets.

  2. I have a cast iron kettle with large slant Griswold in center, Erie in quotation marks also slanted #9 at top and and the number 822 under Erie. There is no cover and the opening from rim to rim is 12”. This kettle would set in an opening on a wood stove.

    Can you tell me if this is an old piece and whether or not it came with a lid. It has a handle.

    • Hi Jill

      It sounds like you have an old size 8 Griswold Eccentric Kettle, I have never seen one with a lid. It’s definitely an antique piece of ironware. I must admit, I’m out of my depth estimating an accurate date of manufacture.

      The slant logo without the “Erie PA U.S.A. marking I place circa 1905-1916 as a conservative estimate. The company may have produced these pots after this date. But as you’ve noticed it’s early design for use on wood stoves, and quite different from later flat bottomed when there was a shift in technology.

      Hope this helps and enjoy your kettle

  3. Hi, I’m in the process of restoring a griswold skillet, the logo is small block Griswold at the top is : NO.9 MIDDLE IS LOGO BOTTOM IS 710C. Can you tell me more about the pan. I’ve seen pictures of pans with just the number 9 but not like mine with the , NO.9 . I APPRECIATE ANYTHING YOU CAN TELL ME ABOUT THE PAN

    • Hi Bradley

      It sounds you have a fun project ahead of you. The small block skillets are not as collectable as earlier larger logo Griswold’s. But they are fantastic pans for daily use, and they are just as smooth.

      The small block skillets were manufactured from the late 1930s and until 1957. But I think a majority of these pans were made after 1944.

      Hope this helps and enjoy your restoration process. I’d avoid using power tools on your pan no matter how tempted you are. It’s best to keep vintage ironware like any other antique in the most original condition as possible.

  4. Hi,
    I have a #8 Dutch oven with a flat lid. Bottom says ERIE 833 8. Any idea is this is an early Griswold or from a different Erie, Pa foundry?
    Also is it valuable beyond what an old cast iron Dutch oven would go for?

    • Hi Karyl

      Thanks for getting in touch. You have an old-timer, and it’s great your oven has a flat lid. As it seems consistent for the age. Erie ovens were made before the introduction of the Griswold logo. But they were made in the same foundry. I’d roughly estimate your oven circa 1900-1910.

      Value of any antique can vary greatly depending on condition. However, to get an idea of the value of your Dutch Oven check out the sold listings on eBay. Just keep in mind online selling prices are often inflated.

      Hope this points you in the right direction.

  5. I just purchased a Griswold 8 without a heat ring. At the bottom, it says ERIE.PA USA and then underneath it, 704 J. I believe it was made in between 1930-1939 based on my research, but am not sure. Does the J allow a precise date or is in just narrowed down to a time frame.

    • Hi Jeffrey

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      It sounds like you have a Griswold large logo without heat ring. These are very fine looking skillets. Congratulations on your purchase.

      Unfortunately, we cannot accurately narrow the date of manufacture by identifying the mold used. However, it’s likely, a skillet with the markings of 704 A, was made before a skillet with the markings 704 V. But Griswold undoubtedly used a number of molds during every casting. So unfortunately, it’s difficult to narrow the date of manufacture using Griswold’s mold letters.

      Hope this helps, and enjoy your skillet

  6. I purchased a smooth bottom slant letter EPU cast iron 11” skillet. It the EPU under the logo and Cast Iron Skillet in an arc above the logo. There is also an 8 at the base of the handle on the front? From what I read this would be pre 1939 and one of the rarer Griswolds? Can you give me anymore info?

    • Hi Linda

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      I would place the Griswold slant logo without heat-ring circa 1939-1944. You can check the pictures in this guide to double check the logo on your pan. But the slant logo refers to the GRISWOLD in the center in the circle cross logo, slightly italicized.

      You’re right, the Griswold slant logo on smooth bottom pans is more scarce. And you can pat yourself on the back for picking one up. Nice find.

      Enjoy your purchase Linda

  7. Hi Boonie

    I have a #8 Griswold, small logo, inscribed 10 1/2 inch skillet E made in USA. I’m wondering if Griswold used the made in USA even though the company was sold before it was required.

    Thanks

    • Hi Justin

      Thanks for your question and it’s a very good one.

      The introduction of Made in the USA marking on cast iron cookware is uncertain. I use the after 1960 date as a rough guide like many other enthusiasts. But this leaves the question of your skillet. Yes, I believe your skillet was made after 1960. I guess the new owners of Griswold wanted to use the brand recognition and patterns of the company.

      But you’ll notice on your skillet, it doesn’t have Erie PA. under the logo. This shows production of the ironware had moved from the original foundry in Pennsylvania.

      You might see a letter on the back of the handle. This letter is an indication your skillet was produced in the Wagner foundry.

      Hope this answers your question

  8. I got my grandmothers Griswold waffle iron. It is a no. 8 151 pat’d July 11, 1922 with a pat’d 154 base. Does this mean it was made in 1922? Or how can I tell what year it was made?

    • Hi Shayla

      I hope you are enjoying your grandma’s waffle iron.

      The date of July 11, 1922 is a patent date. Without seeing your waffle iron, Griswold probably introduced this model a few years after receiving the patent. Most likely Griswold would have used this pattern into the 1930s and possibly into the 40s.

      Hope this points you in the right direction

  9. I’ve been enjoying exploring your website as I found it while researching a kettle I found recently at a Las Vegas New Mexico flea market for $25. After following Kent Rollins tips to restore and season, I found the following on the bottom: “ERIE” / MASLIN KETTLE / MADE BY / THE GRISWOLD MFG. CO. / ERIE PA / 938 / 8QTS I intend to use this kettle to deep fry zucchini from the garden in order to keep the house cooler in this summer heat here in the land of enchantment. Great informative website! Bravo Zulu from a retired Navy Submariner.

    • Hi Naga Jolokia

      Thanks for getting in touch and I’m really pleased you found the site useful.

      It sounds like you stumbled upon a bargain with your Erie kettle. Nice find.

      I think Kent Rollins is brilliant. He’s a lot of fun and love how he is able able to communicate his passion for cast-iron and cowboy cooking. I trust the restoration of your kettle turned out well. When restoring, I like to stay away from any kind of power tool to keep the iron in original condition.

      You may already know the age of your Erie Muslin kettle from your research. But for a comparison, I think your pot is from the very early 1900s.

      A retired Submariner. I’m in the middle of an isolated part of Fukushima, Japan, and that can be hard enough. I take my hat off to Submariners, they have incredible mental fortitude. But I bet you have some fun memories.

      Thanks for getting in touch.

  10. I have a Griswold Pancake griddle with Erie. It has the circle cross with Griswold, looks like block letters, 739 number, has an 8 on the bottom and the handle and has an x across the bottom, my guess it’s for strength. I got this from my grandmother. I have looked for information but I am not finding anything. Does anyone know anything about this and when it was made.

    • Hi Tom

      Thanks for your question. And I’m sure your grandmother is really happy you are researching her old griddle. There’s a few different styles of Griswold griddles but your correct the big X on the base for reinforcing. But I also wouldn’t be surprised if it was to help distribute heat evenly. From the description of your griddle I think it was made circa 1909-1920. If the griddle only has the Erie marking with Griswold logo it was made early in this timeline. But if your griddle has the wording CAST IRON GRIDDLE at 12 o’clock then from 1909 to 1920.

      Really hope this helps

  11. Hello

    I have a Griswold, large slant logo, 10 inch, 716 A. The 10 is at the top of the logo and ERIE is below the logo.

    The 716 A is below ERIE. It has a heat ring and the number 10 on the handle. Can you please tell me the age of the pan? I use it almost daily.

    Thanks in advance

  12. Hello! I have a Griswold 709 B small logo with a 3 on the handle.The odd thing about it is that parts of the pan are polished to a high shine and look like polished stainless steel. Any ideas?

    • Hi Frank

      Thanks for the question

      Griswold had several different finishes on their cast iron. It sounds like your skillet has a chrome finish which protects the iron from rust. Some skillets have plating on the inside and outside while others are plated only on the outside. Because of the age of antique cookware, plating is often worn off and patchy.

      Interesting that you say it looks like stainless steel because modern stainless steel cookware contains at least 10 percent chromium.

      Enjoy your skillet

  13. I have acquired a griswold griddle and with one side is the logo with about a 1″lip and the other side 10″ on handles with a 1/4″ lip.
    Never used one before, I’m Dutch oven spolied.
    Logo side down for cooking?
    Thank you.

    • Hi Clay, thanks for the question.

      You got it. I’d also use a vintage griddle with the logo face down. You’ll probably find it easier to slide your fingers under the handles to pick up and move around.

      Enjoy cooking up a storm with your vintage iron.

  14. I have a small logo #8, 704 T without a heat ring. What is unique is the handle. Normal design is absent. Handle is hollowed out entire length of handle. Is this unique or design flaw?

    • Hi Roger,

      Thanks for the message. It sounds like you have a Griswold grooved handle. It’s not a flaw. Your skillet most likely was made around 1944-1957.

      Hope this is of help.

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