Wapak Hollow Ware Co. Learn about Wapak cast iron.

Wapak cast iron skillet made by Wapak Hollow Ware Co. Skillet is face down to show the Z Wapak logo

Learn the history of Wapak Hollow Ware Co. and how to identify your cast iron.

Wapak Hollow Ware Co is a familiar name for vintage cast iron collectors. And the scarce Indian Head and Chicken foot logos are especially sought-after. However, in this article, you can learn the history of Wapak and how to date and identify your Wapak cast iron cookware using logos and markings.

Wapak cast iron is not as well-known compared to the Wagner or Griswold brands. But the cookware is just as collectible and useable.
In fact, some Wapak pieces can command very high prices at auction, especially for the rare and ornate logos, such as the Indian Head logo. You’ll be able to recognize these logos after reading this article.

Here is what you can expect from this article.

  1. Learn the history of the Wapak Hollow Ware Co.
  2. Characteristics of Wapak cast iron.
  3. Learn the logos Wapak used in production to help identify and date your cookware.
  4. Considerations if you want to buy or collect Wapak cast iron.

History of the Wapak Hollow Ware Co.


Founders

The company was founded by a group of business entrepreneurs that were also active in running the company.

Milton Bennett (President), Marion Stephenson (Secretary),
Harry Bennett (Treasurer), Charles Stephenson, S.P. Hick.

Operational dates

Wapak Hollow Ware Co. manufactured cast iron products from
1903-1926.

Located

The foundry was located in Wapakoneta, Ohio. On Krein and
Willipie streets.

Start-up costs

The company had starting assets of approximately $20,000. Of which most came from machinery and fixtures totaling $18,383.07

Source Dodds, D. Knipp, Downtown Wapakoneta Partnership (2010) Wapakoneta (Images of America) Arcadia Publishing page 58.

Product line

Wapak manufactured a wide range of cast iron kitchenware which included: skillets, kettles, bean pots, Dutch Ovens, Griddles, and waffle irons. 

They also manufactured a large number of sad irons.

Wapak brands

The company made two lines of cookware under the following names: Wapak and Oneta.

Signature product

The company is best known for its products with the Indian Head logo.

Reason for closure

Wapak Hollow Ware Company continued to make cast-iron products until the closure due to bankruptcy in 1926.

After bankruptcy

Two employees of the bankrupt Wapak might have started their own foundry called Ahrens and Arnold.

Unfortunately, Wapak Hollow Ware did not restructure after filing for bankruptcy.
Vintage black and white photo of the Wapak Hollow Ware co.
Wapak Hollow Ware Co. Photo credit goes to forum member Smoking Don.
http://www.letstalkbbq.com/index.php?topic=19653.0

What makes Wapak cast iron different?

If you are starting out collecting vintage cast iron, you might want to consider Wapak ironware. Sure, you can collect cast iron from the big players such as Griswold and Wagner. But did you know Wapak also has a large group of loyal collectors?

Wapak manufactured a wide range of cookware. And in my humble opinion, it has a lot of character and personality. Luckily a lot of Wapak cast iron available tends to be cheaper than some of the other manufacturers.

Here is why you should purchase antique Wapak ironware.

  1. The ironware might have a ghost mark.
  2. Wapak ironware tends to have really smooth cooking surfaces
  3. Wapak cast-iron cookware is lighter than its modern counterparts 
  4. Imperfections in the exterior give the cookware a real sense of personality.
  5. Some logos are very scarce, and this makes collecting a lot of fun.

Markings on Wapak cast iron.

Does your pan have a lighter embossed mark?

Can you see words slightly imprinted on your Wapak cookware? Yes, This is a flaw in the casting, but this flaw is highly prized by collectors. It is commonly referred to as a ghost mark. A ghost mark is another manufactures logo or wording on the base of the skillet or cookware. It is not uncommon to see Erie lightly embossed on Wapak skillets.

Wapak cast iron skillet with a Erie ghost mark
Wapak cast iron skillet with an Erie ghost mark.

Why does some Wapak ironware have ghost marks?

  1. Wapak may have bought and used old molds from other foundries
  2. Wapak may have used other manufactures pans and used them as a template to make their own pans

A very questionable practice in the business world. However, copying ideas or designs is sadly still evident today.

If Wapak Hollow Ware did copy a leading manufacturer at the time, surprisingly, they did not try to cover up their efforts better. It may be the case that Erie skillets were so good that Wapak did not mind letting consumers know that they were using Erie designs.

Wapak skillets with Erie markings are very collectable. These markings are called ghost marks and are highly sought-after by collectors.

Boonie Hicks

The cookware will be lighter and smoother than most cast iron made today.

Wapak cast iron, like other vintage iron cookware made during the time, tends to be lighter. This is due to the manufacturer making cookware thinner than it is today. If you think cast iron cookware is heavy, then a vintage/antique skillet could be what you need.

Although Wapak may not be a household name, they made fantastic glassy smooth cast-iron cookware.

Wapak Hollow Ware Co. Wapak No8 skillet on a table. In the picture, the Z logo is clearly seen.

Wapak cast iron may have imperfections, but that’s why it has character.

If you collect or search for Wapak cast iron, you may notice more casting flaws than other manufactures during the time. It is not uncommon for Wapak skillets or kettles to have casting bubbles on the base. Or a noticeable ripple due to sand shift during casting. For some, this is an obvious flaw. But for others, it adds to the charm and characteristics of yesteryear pans.

Wapak cast iron skillet manufactured by the Wapak Hollow Ware Company.

Wapak Hollow Ware Co. logos and markings.

Wapak cast iron has a variety of different logos or markings which can indicate age and rarity. Currently, there are seven variations of the logo. Of the seven markings, six use a Wapak logo. The seventh logo is Oneta. Oneta cookware during the time was a lower grade or budget-friendly brand.

Wapak Indian Head logo: Circa 1903-1926

The most collectible and valuable Wapak logo is the Indian medallion, Native American, or Indian Head. It is a highly detailed logo. However, expect to pay a pretty penny if you come across one. Because of the age of the ironware, it’s not uncommon for the logo to be worn down.

If you want to learn more about the Indian Head logo, click the link.

Wapak cast skillet with Indian head logo
I love these Wapak skillets with Indian Head logos. But to get one in good condition will likely have a high price tag.

Wapak chicken foot logo: Circa 1903-1910

After the Indian Head, the next most sought-after logo among enthusiasts is the Chicken Foot. Note the splitting at the foot of the P.

Keep an eye out for this marking. It’s seldom seen on Wapak ironware, and it is probably the most scare of the Wapak logos.

Wapak cast iron skillet with Chicken Foot Logo
Here’s the Chicken foot logo. If you see one of these little guys going cheap, then take a second look. It’s a scarce logo. Circa: 1903-1910.
Wapak "Chicken Foot" or "Chickenfoot" logo.
Chicken Foot logo on a Wapak skillet. Keep an eye open for this logo.

Wapak Arc logo: Circa 1903-1910

The logo has Wapak in block lettering and is in a slight arc.

Wapak Arc logo. Wapak Cast iron skillet with the arc logo.
Wapak Arc or curved logo

Wapak Straight Block logo: Circa 1903-1910

The logo is in straight block lettering. The placement of this can vary from near the top or to the center of the cookware. It can also be slightly above or below the center. See the examples below to identify your Wapak.

Wapak cast iron identification straight block logo
Here’s an old logo. It’s called the Straight Block logo. Circa 1903-1910
Wapak skillet with center logo
You see most of the Wapak skillets with the block logo in the 12 o’clock position. However, sometimes you’ll see the block logo in the center or in a centralized location.
Wapak Block logo. Close up photo of Wapak Hollow Ware Block logo
Here is a clear example of the Wapak Block Logo.

Wapak Z logo: Circa 1903-1926

This logo has characteristic styling. The most notable feature is the Z appearance.

Wapak cast iron cookware with Z logo
You can see Wapak used the “Z” logo on a variety of cast iron cookware. Cookware with this logo was made between 1903-1926.
Wapak Z logo
Here’s a close-up of the Z logo to help you identify your vintage hollowware.

 Wapak Tapered logo: Circa 1912-1926

The logo is tapered inward. The Wapak wording is bigger at the start and the letter W being noticeably in a larger font. And the tapers inward, decreasing in size. The final letter K is notably smaller than the first letter.

Wapak Tapered Logo
This logo is called the tapered logo and was made Circa: 1912-1926
Wapak Tapered Logoon a Wapak cast iron skillet.
Close-up photo of the Wapak Tapered marking.

Oneta Marking: Circa 1912-1926

The word Oneta is straight in block writing. 

Oneta cast iron identification
The Oneta line of cookware was designed as a budget-friendly option for those on a tighter budget. Circa: 1912-1926
Oneta skillet with a close up of the Oneta logo. Oneta was made by Wapak Hollow Ware Co.
Oneta Logo on a Oneta skillet made by Wapak Hollow Ware Co. Photo credit of the original full-sized photo goes to eBay member jeansplace2016

Unknown marking

Wapak skillet with goat ring marking.
Can you help identify this skillet? I’m sure the owner would love to know. I’ve never seen it before and couldn’t help him out.

Collecting Wapak cast iron skillets and kettles

I have only one Wapak skillet, so I certainly can not call myself an authority on collecting Wapak cast iron. However, it has an ultra-smooth cooking surface which is just as smooth as my Griswold and Sidney Hollow Ware skillets. The Wapak skillet has the Z logo clearly stamped into the iron. It also has a heat ring around the outside.

Considerations when collecting Wapak cast-iron

  • Wapak tends to have more cast or molding flaws which can add to the character. However, for many, it detracts from desirability.
  • Wapak cast iron can have very smooth cooking surfaces.
  • Ghost marks are common in Wapak Hollow Ware cast iron. Check the base for Wagner or Erie lightly embossed on the iron.
  • Like much vintage or antique cast iron, it may be necessary to check or ask how stable the iron sits on a flat surface. Does it rock or spin? This will negatively affect the value of vintage cast iron.
Wapak Hollow Ware skillet with Z logo. No 8 sized skillet with heat ring

Wapak  Hollow Ware Co.

Although Wapak cast iron can be super smooth. Signs indicate Wapak foundry used Erie and Wagner cast iron templates or molds to make their cookware. Why did they use foundries molds or pans as a template? Wapak was skilled at making iron cookware because they had one of the most detailed logos on vintage cast iron, the Indian Head.

Wapak skillets can be just as finely made as to the more well-known Wagner or Griswold cookware.

Vintage Wapak cast iron goes under the radar like Favorite Piqua Ware and Sidney Hollow Ware. But Wapak cast iron cookware tends to have more casting flaws. So you might be able to pick up a skillet for a better price than a Griswold or Wagner Ware.

And keep an eye out for host marks and also those fancy Indian heads pieces. They sure are good-looking pans. 

Happy cast iron hunting.

21 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Boonie,

    I have a #3 skillet marked Wapakoneta, Ohio. It has with a double AA with arrow through logo any identification ideas?

    • Hi Larry

      It sounds like you have a skillet made by Ahrens and Arnold. Made in the late 1920s by former employees of the Wapak Hollow Company.

      There are not many examples around, well done.

  2. Did Wapak ever make a #9 skillet with a round handle??

    I can send you pictures if you’d like, for some reason I can’t paste them in this box.

    • Hi Betsy

      Thanks for your question.

      You’re very lucky to have a Wapak with Indian head medallion. Skillets with this logo are highly sought-after by collectors, and skillets can sell for hundreds of dollars. Although, I must add there are fakes on the market. However, these tend to be poor copies of the original.

      You might want to compare your skillet with the ones sold on eBay for an indication on value. Collectors will pay higher prices if the skillet is in good condition and sits flat. And the detail of the logo greatly affect value. If the face and headdress is detailed, and writing clearly readable, I would expect your skillet to be worth a pretty penny.

      Congratulations

  3. Hello: We have a 9″ Wapak “Z” cast iron pan (used almost daily!) that was my grandmother’s. But it has a layer of rust on the bottom. Is there an easy or safe way to clean that without hurting the integrity of the pan?

    Also, we just found a Wagner Ware Sidney -o- skillet while cleaning out my parent’s house. Score for us.

    Thanks.

    • Hi Barry

      It’s really nice to hear from you.

      I’m sure your grandmother is so happy that you’re treasuring her old skillet. I think the best way to remove rust is using the vinegar method. Unfortunately, I don’t currently have an article on the site. But there’s some very good videos on YouTube. Just search “how to remove rust from cast iron using vinegar.” This method works well, and it’s gentle on the iron surface.

      Have fun restoring your skillet and nicely done finding a Wagner. That’s what I call a good day.

      Cheers.

    • Hi Barry. I have several Griswold pans that had rust. I scrubbed them with a little water and coarse salt. When clean, rub them with a little oil and I put them on my outdoor grill on high for a little bit to season them. Hope this helps.

  4. I’m not an expert either, let’s start with that.

    I’ve been cooking with and trying to learn of early 20th century cast iron for probably 15 years now.

    I want to thank you for your contribution. Every site before this one was maddening to find and even tougher to decipher. Yours is clearly laid out and easy to figure.

    In your picture of the “Wapak block logo” there’s a 710c marking. My everyday skillet is that same #9. The 710c is a marking from the old Erie molds, as mine has the very faint “Erie” ghost-mark as well.

    I’ve cooked with numerous cast iron over the years and the Wapak #9 I’m speaking of blows away the many Griswold’s I’ve owned. If it boils down to pure performance, as it does for me. Or collectibility…Wapak might be the way to go either way.

    • Hi there Joseph

      I’m really pleased you’re getting a lot of use of your Wapak. Like you, I think Wapak cast iron is just as good as Griswold. And best of all collectors these wonderful pieces at lower prices.

      Thanks, I’m glad you’ve enjoyed the article. Hopefully there will be a few more in the coming months.

      Cheers, have a good day.

    • I think it’s your lucky day

      Before putting in an offer check to see if the skillet sits flat or if it has a bow. I’d also check the sold listings on eBay to compare the sellers asking price. But otherwise congratulations, it sounds like a great find.

      Good luck Steve

    • Hi Don

      Thanks for your question.

      Wow how wonderful. Unfortunately, I don’t have any information on your Wapak skillet. It sounds like a real beauty and a lot of collectors would like to get their hands on it. You’re welcome to send over a couple of pictures of your have time. I’d love to see what it looks like. booniehicks@gmail.com

      Hopefully another collector might be able to share some information on it.

      Cheers, for your question

  5. Greetings,
    Thanks so very much for providing this wealth of knowledge. I have gained an interest to WAPAK as I have collected a handful of these vintage treasures. Do you have a source of manufacturing dates of the different logos WAPAK made?
    Thanks in advance!

    • Hello Lloyd

      Thanks for the comment, I’m really glad you’ve found the article interesting. Your suggestion of dates is well worded and will greatly help those wanting to identify and date their vintage Wapak ironware. I’m just finishing another article and then I’ll add some dates to the article over the next couple of weeks.

      Many thanks

  6. Really enjoyed your article. Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I have a WAPAK 7 oblong griddle. I can’t find any info on such a piece. Is it a griddle or a sad iron. My curiosity is peeked.

    • Hi Sandi

      Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed the article.

      It sounds like you have a Wapak long griddle probably made around 1903-1926. Cast iron trays used for heating sad irons are small and probably made in the 19th century. I’d most people heated their sad irons on a wood stove or stood them upright next to a fire.

      Enjoy your Wapak

  7. Hello. Thank you for the history of the Wapak Hollow Ware Company. I was wondering if you had any information on the lawn furniture they made. I have an edwardian-style cast iron bench made by the company in the 1920’s. I actually have the ad they used to advertise the settee which they priced at a whopping $11.50! Can you direct me to anyone who might help me value this piece? Or find a buyer?

    Thank you.

    • Hi Christine

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article and thank you for sharing the information on your Wapak cast iron bench. It seems the dollar stretched a bit further back then.

      I recommend you contact an antique dealer or auction house in your area. The value on cast iron furniture can vary greatly, benches from the Coalbrookdale foundry can be worth a pretty penny while others not so much. However, an antique dealer should be able to point you in the right direction on the value and how to sell your bench for the best price.

      Thanks for the contact.

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