Do you have a piece of ironware with a single word on the base which reads Marion? Then you have an antique piece of cast iron cookware from the Marion Stove Company.
Unfortunately, there is little written about the company. However, on some skillets and kettles, there are hidden markings called ghost marks. And we can use these markings to estimate the age and date of your ironware. The handle and heat ring are other signs of a possible date of manufacture.
Fancy learning more? Here’s what this article will cover.
Table of contents
- Company Information
- Logo Placement
- Is Marion Cast Iron Any Good?
- Estimated the Date of Manufacture
Marion Stove Company information
F.J Gould and E.P Fruhey
The company started production in 1888. On the 12th of October 1929 is the last known published public record of the company.
Stoves, furnaces, cookware
The company focused on high-end heating stoves.
Retort Oak, Marion Oak, Marion
Reason for closure
When and why Marion stopped operation is unknown. However, competition, technological change, labor, and economic disruptions were likely major contributing factors.
Position of the Marion logo
Let’s start with the logo placement. If you have a Marion skillet, check the position of the logo. The logo will be in one of three places, slightly above center, center, or below center. I’m unaware of the reason why there are different logo placements. And if the location affects the date of manufacture.
See the pictures below for examples.
Logo above center
Logo in the center
Below center logo
Is Marion cast iron any good?
Griswold and Wagner ironware receives a lot of attention from those interested in cast iron. And this is not without a good reason, the cookware from the two companies is brilliant. However, many foundries of the 19th and early 20th centuries produced high-quality hollowware, equal to Wagner and Griswold.
Cast iron from Marion Stove Company is one of these companies. The cookware tends to be lightweight and smooth. And if you have a piece of cookware from Marion, there’s a bonus they are hard to find if you want one.
Erie Ghost marks
It looks like the boys at Marion Stove Company used Erie skillets as molds or templates to make their ironware. And it’s not uncommon to see Erie ghost marks on Marion skillets. For me, it adds to the character of the ironware and makes the vintage cast iron fun to collect.
Using another company’s product as a template is terribly dishonest in this day and age. But interestingly, Marion was not alone. And you’re likely to see Erie ghost markings on other foundries cookware such as Sidney Hollow Ware and Columbus Hollow Ware Company skillets. They also look very similar to Erie skillets.
Identifying and dating your antique Marion cast iron
Determining the date of Marion cast iron cookware is difficult. Unfortunately, there is little information available, and the company seemed focused on producing heating stoves, ranges, and furnaces.
There are also a few variations and changes in the design of the cookware.
From what I can piece together, the company started the production of cookware around 1888. However, when they ceased manufacturing is unclear. On the 12th of October 1929, trademarks of Marion Stove Works were re-registered. But I’m unsure if this was to apply for a new patent. Or to possibly transfer ownership of the patterns to a successor.
This date is less than two weeks before the Great Depression. And I suspect production of stoves and furnaces did not resume after this date.
Marion cast iron was likely circa 1888-the early 1900s.
Although using the 1900s indicates before the 1910s, it also covers the entire century. However, unless otherwise informed, I’d say most Marion cast-iron hollowware is circa 1888-1910. Any later than this date, I’d like to see changes in the design of the cookware. Such as the trend in the early 1900s of using insert heat rings instead of outside heat rings.
I’ve seen sellers list Marion cast circa 1888-the 1900s. And I tend to agree for the following reasons.
Marion cookware looks similar to early Erie and Wagner cookware.
Erie ghost marks are present on some cookware.
Foundry burning down limiting resources for hollowware expansion.
Industrial actions in the early 1900s resulted in work stoppages across the U.S.
The company focus on stove and furnace manufacturing.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the article and have fun cooking up a storm in your Marion. If you want to learn more about vintage cast iron, you might want to check out the articles below.
Hold on and treasure you’re Marion cast iron if you can. The Marion Stove Company manufactured hollowware in smaller quantities than other manufacturers such as Wagner and Griswold. Pieces are also getting hard to come by. It’s hard to place an estimate on the date of manufacture. But since the ironware looks similar to early Wanger and Erie pans of the 1890s. Marion cast iron is likely manufactured around the 1890s-1900s.
Cheers, happy collecting.
Hi! I have a Marion scotch pot #2 with what may be a gate mark on it. I would love to know it’s value. It’s in really decent shape.
It’s great you have an old Marion Scotch bowl. It’s something that most enthusiasts won’t have in their collection.
Unfortunately Scotch bowls don’t command high prices. I recommend checking out the sold listing on eBay for current selling prices. You’ll unlikely to find a Marion, but it should give you an indication on the value of antique Scotch bowls.
Personally, I’d hold on to it. After all they rarely come up for sale.
Cheers, have a great week.
Hi there! I purchased a cast iron skillet at a thrift store. It is 8″. On the back, it has the initials SK on top. In the middle on the back, it says “Made in USA”. On the bottom, it has “D1”. Can you tell me anything about this piece? Thank you very much.
It sounds like you have an old vintage Lodge made in or after the 1960s. The SK stands for skillet, and it’s a good identifying mark for collectors to quickly recognize Lodge pans. Well done on your purchase