Dating wagner cast iron skillet
In 1991, General Housewares produced a line of "Wagner's 1891" cast iron pans especially to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Wagner cast iron company in 1891.
The "1891 Original" indicates the original year when Wagner began producing cookware.
These pans are prone to warping at high heat, and because of this, collectors and users of cast iron cookware consider the "Wagner's 1891 Original" to be an inferior piece of iron.
I've come across several of them myself in antique stores, and I find that if you lay a "Wagner's 1891 Original" pan on a flat surface, there's a chance that it could wobble due to a warped bottom.
Be sure to check for warping before purchasing one of these pans.
It may not be a collector's item, but if it's not warped then it still performs with the reliability of a good, solid piece of iron cookware.
The same company also acquired the Griswold manufacturing company in 1957, and both the Wagner and Griswold lines of cast iron cookware were manufactured at Wagner's foundry in Sidney, Ohio from 1957 through 1999.
Randall sold both Wagner and Griswold to the General Housewares corporation in 1969, and they were the producers of these brands through the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.
If you're simply looking for an inexpensive cast iron pan to cook with, there's only one reason not to pick up one of these if you come across it at a low price.
Several aspects of this "Wagner's 1891 Original" pan provide evidence that this is of modern-day manufacture as opposed to the antique design.
Here is the current design of the Wagner cast iron skillet logo as displayed on the Web site for the American Culinary Corporation: Modern Wagner Cast Iron Skillet Meanwhile, the Cast Iron Collector Web site provides photos of many genuine vintage cast iron pans from the early days of Wagner Manufacturing, including photos of actual Wagner skillets from the 1890s: If you see this pan being sold as a "vintage antique" at a high price, be sure to laugh out loud and point it out!
In addition to Dutch ovens with three or four feet, which Abraham Darby I secured a patent in 1708 to produce, a commonly used cast-iron cooking pan called a spider had a handle and three legs allowing it to stand upright over campfires as well as in the coals and ashes of a fireplace.
Cooking pots and pans with legless, flat bottoms came into use when cooking stoves became popular; this period of the late 19th century saw the introduction of the flat cast-iron skillet.