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

For those who collect vintage or antique cast iron, Wapak Hollow Ware Co, or more simply Wapak, is a familiar name and the cookware is highly prized among collectors. In this article you can learn the history of the company and how to date and identify different cast iron cookware made by Wapak using logos and markings.

Wapak cast iron might be lesser known compared to the Wagner or Griswold brands but it is just as collectible.

In fact, some Wapak pieces can command very high prices at auction. Especially for the rare and ornate logos, such as the Wapak Chicken Foot and the Indian Head logo. You’ll be able to recognize these logos after reading this article.

Here’s what you can expect

  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

Table: History of 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 quantity 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 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.

But sadly Wapak Hollow Ware did not restructure after filling from 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 collecting Wapak. Sure, you can collect the big players such as Griswold and Wagner but did you know Wapak also has a large group of loyal collectors?

Wapak manufactured a full line of cookware to collect and in my humble opinion the iron is full lot of character and personality. Luckily many Wapak cast iron currently available tends to be cheaper than some of the other manufacturers.

Here’s why Wapak great:

  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 modern counterparts
  4. imperfections in the exterior which gives the cookware a real sense of personality
  5. some logos are very scarce and this makes collecting a lot of fun

Wapak Markings

Does your pan have a lighter embossed mark?

Can you see words slightly imprinted on your Wapak cookware? Yes, it’s 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 did Wapak cast iron 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 today’s business world. However, copying other companies ideas or design is sadly still evident today.

If Wapak Hollow Ware did copy a leading manufacturer at the time it’s surprising they didn’t try to cover up their efforts better. It may be the case that Erie skillets were so good that Wapak didn’t mind letting consumers know that they used Erie molds.

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 is heavy then a vintage/antique skillet could be right for you.

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’s not uncommon for Wapak skillets or kettles to have casting bubbles or the base of the cookware with a noticeable ripple of unevenly cast iron. For some, it’s an obvious flaw while for others it adds to the charm and characteristic 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 variety of different logos or markings which can indicate age and rarity. Currently, there are seven variations of the logo. Of the seven logos six use a Wapak logo. The seventh logo is Oneta. Oneta was at the time a lower grade or budget-friendly brand.

Wapak Indian Head logo: Circa 1903-1926

The most collectable and valuable of antique is the “Indian medallion”, “Native American” or “Indian head” An amazing detailed logo. However, expect to pay a pretty penny if you come across one. 

Wapak cast skillet with Indian head logo
I love these Wapak skillets with Indian Head logos. But to get one in good condition it will likely have a high price tag. Because over the years the logo is likely to be worn down.

Wapak chicken foot logo: Circa 1903-1910

After the Indian Head, the next most sought after logo among enthusiasts is the Chicken Foot.

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 have 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 which is in a slight arc.

Wapak Arc logo. Wapak Cast iron skillet with the arc logo.
Wapak Arc or curved logo. Photo credit of the original full-sized photo goes to eBay member gumboyayagarlic

Wapak Straight Block logo: Circa 1903-1910

The Logo is in straight block lettering. The placement of this logo can vary from near the top to the logo or in the center. The logo can also be slightly above or below 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 position.
Wapak Block logo. Close up photo of Wapak Hollow Ware Block logo
Here’s a clear example of the Wapak Block Logo which you may have on your skillet.

Wapak “Z” logo: Circa 1903-1926

Interesting logo with characteristic styling. The most notable feature is the Z appearance of the Logo.

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 with W being notably in a larger font and tapering inward and finishing with K which is notably smaller than the first letter.

Wapak Tapered Logo
If you have an antique Wapak skillet it might have this 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 logo.

Oneta logo: Circa 1912-1926

The word Oneta is straight in block writing. 

Oneta cast iron identification
The Oneta line of cast iron cookware was designed as the 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: Can you help identify this skillet?

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. You’re welcome to add a comment below or contact me through the contact us page. Thanks, guys.

Collecting Wapak cast iron skillets and kettles

I have only one piece so I certainly can not call myself an authority on collecting Wapak cast iron. However, the skillet I own has an ultra smooth cooking surface which is just as smooth as my Griswold’s 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 of 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 the 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” and also “Erie” lightly embossed on the iron.
  • Like much of vintage or antique cast iron it may be important to check or ask how stable the iron sits on a flat surface. Does it rock or spin? Not like, say cast iron, which when not sitting flat is unusable, far from it. However, it does 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? Surely Wapak was very 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. Wapak cast iron cookware may have more casting flaws, you might be able to pick up a Wapak for a better price than a Griswold or Wagner Ware. Keep an eye out for host marks and also those fancy “Indian heads pieces”. They sure are good looking pans. 

Happy cast iron hunting.

8 COMMENTS

    • 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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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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