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View Full Version : anyone using vintage cast iron?



boomchakabowwow
02-09-2013, 10:49 PM
i found a man selling old stuff. griswalds, etc. i scored a few skillets and tossed all my new lodge stuff. well, it went into the camping box.

i love this stuff. it is much smoother, slightly lighter, and properly seasoned..nothing sticks. i use it for most anything. pot pies, bread..anything. these are my kitchen work horses..

you guys?

chinacats
02-09-2013, 10:54 PM
Griswold thanks to the schooling of someone here! Great pan.

boomchakabowwow
02-09-2013, 10:55 PM
http://i1277.photobucket.com/albums/y482/boomchakabowwow/castiron_zps70ef87ba.jpg

DeepCSweede
02-09-2013, 10:58 PM
Griswold, Wagner and Piqueware plus some early 1800 stuff

GlassEye
02-09-2013, 11:35 PM
I have an old Griswold 5, I need to find some siblings for it.

Mike9
02-09-2013, 11:44 PM
I have my Grandma's skillet and it's the best!! Smooth bottom, well seasoned and the new stuff can't hold a candle to it. In fact I've had it for 40 years and have never reseasoned it - just hot water and wipe. If it needs scrubbing I use kosher salt.

EdipisReks
02-09-2013, 11:45 PM
the oldest i have is a Cincinnati brand made just after the Civil War. it's awesome.

cnochef
02-10-2013, 01:22 AM
I have a Griswold 777, which is the deep pan for fried chicken. I scored it off EBay for $50 a few years ago and would never part with it.

Don Nguyen
02-10-2013, 03:31 PM
There's a 10" Wagner on craigslist for $40. I'm tempted to get it, but my funds are dry...

Kyle
02-10-2013, 06:09 PM
Is the unmarked vintage stuff as good as Griswold? I always pass those pieces over at antique shops because I want the Griswold stuff. But I kind of get the impression that the unmarked US made stuff was still really good and Griswold is sought after because they were the company that had enough sense to label their product.

boomchakabowwow
02-10-2013, 10:15 PM
Is the unmarked vintage stuff as good as Griswold? I always pass those pieces over at antique shops because I want the Griswold stuff. But I kind of get the impression that the unmarked US made stuff was still really good and Griswold is sought after because they were the company that had enough sense to label their product.

only to a collector. i bought one that is unmarked. i think it is better than mine that is clearly a small logo griswold. the unmarked one still has a heatring. the seller told me that all the manufactureres would occasionally put out a few unmarked one..no rhyme or reason. if you are going to cook with it..who cares. buy it!!

jump on them. they are very non stick. well, once the sear is on, they are really non stick. i just used mine to make potstickers. it was a gamble, but everything came loose.

Talal
02-11-2013, 06:13 PM
i found a man selling old stuff. griswalds, etc. i scored a few skillets and tossed all my new lodge stuff. well, it went into the camping box.

i love this stuff. it is much smoother, slightly lighter, and properly seasoned..nothing sticks. i use it for most anything. pot pies, bread..anything. these are my kitchen work horses..

you guys?

Yea im a big fan myself, got 3 pre 1925 Griswold pans , a #5 and a #9 with its lid and a #14

Also my latest score is a #10 erie from the late 1800s,

as you mention nothing beats this quality at all..

stphntrjllo
02-12-2013, 08:30 PM
I have the exact same Griswald that's in that photo got it at a flea market for $10 best investment ever

franzb69
02-12-2013, 11:53 PM
if only it wouldn't cost me an arm and a leg for shipping i'd get vintage cast irons over any other lodge or newer cast iron stuff available.

Amon-Rukh
02-13-2013, 12:50 AM
A friend of mine recently had the opportunity to inherit a bunch of Griswold stuff from her great-grandmother. She passed on it because she "didn't know how to take care of it." I was all set to offer to buy it, but apparently her uncle had already volunteered to take it. Oh well, at least it's going to somebody who is happy to use it!

mkmk
02-13-2013, 03:16 AM
I've got a couple of great old pieces -- a #8 Griswold skillet, and a big Dutch oven that I mostly use for bread. So much better than the new coarse stuff.

Talal
02-14-2013, 09:50 AM
im hoping to add another 1-2 skillets to my collection this year.. or possibly a dutch oven..

Jmadams13
02-14-2013, 11:51 AM
I have a few unmarked skillets, with no makers mark other than a date of 1907. Slick as hell, and take a beating. Actually like tem better than my Warner's or griswalds. Nothing like 5$ antique store scores

arrowhawk
02-15-2013, 09:53 PM
I bought a few cast Iron from a garage sale a few months ago.
I am using them more and more each day. A number 8 wanger, a 12 unknown and a number 8 from japan.
All are as smooth as a babys bottom.

kannamaster
10-30-2013, 11:19 AM
I obsessed over these pans for quite a long time . I've bought and sold a bunch and finally settled on Erie second series pans. Ebay is the best place to find the pans and generally speaking is also the marketplace that sets the price for these pans. There are several great makers and a lot of history and the more you know, the better pans you can buy for cheap. The Wagner Griswold society is the place to go to learn a lot about these pans and the society page is pretty insane. This is a page on the history of Erie (which later became Griswold) that I found to be really useful: http://www.wag-society.org/guest/ERIESkilletArticle.pdf. The iron ore used for these early pans is - for what ever reason - very different in structure from the ore available today. It is almost too hard to file which is saying something. The earlier pans were made as light as possible but reinforced in the areas that often fail if dropped ,like the handle ,and the lip. This 100 plus year old cast iron is hard ,brittle, tight grained, takes to seasoning much quicker than todays pans and is also smoother as some have noted. The pans were marked with model and the maker's mark. Here are some things I have learned the hard way:Getting the best pans cheap takes some work. You have to know what you are doing. The factors that drive up the value are rarity, vintage, type, makers mark, condition, seasoning and the quality of the ebay ad (ie notes and photography). Rare pans cost a lot - several hundred dollars more often. Some series and Companies draw a bigger price from collectors but are not better for cooking in any way. For example a really nice third series Erie will tend to be more than a second series Erie but there is really no functional difference. Erie's tend to be a lot more than Wagner's but are not superior in quality except in subjective ways. Some important saving tips: When looking for pans search "cast iron skillet" and a number and that will pull up the most pans usually. The number tells you the size. 5-12 being the most used sizes and 8 being the most produced/popular and usually cheapest size. The pans get bigger as the numbers go up and yes there are pans smaller than 5's and bigger than 12's and all sorts of other vintage cast iron wear. There are a lot of great makers with less name recognition that will often go for less and are slightly different in their characteristics. If you are looking for a number 5 for example (the perfect 1 or 2 person pan and everyone should have a 5 or 6) You might try looking for these maker's: National,Sidney, Pique, Favorite, Marion, Wapak, and Martin to name most of the ones I know and have seen. Nationals look just like early Erie's but tend to have shorter sidewalls. Favorites on the other hand tend to have the tallest sides for a given size (so less splatter) but are a bit heavier than Erie's. Sidney and Wagners are usually the same style and were related companies. Another tip: there are three defects that are really helpful: 1.Pitting in the bottom will bring the price way down but not effect the function because collectors don't want pitting.2. A pan that does not sit flat and has a slight wobble may be a good pan if the cooking surface is just slightly concave but that is the kiss of death for collectors. When a pan is heated and the metal expands most cast iron pans rise up a bit in the middle so if they start out concave they become closer to flat when hot. If the surface starts out dead flat, when heated they become convex (which I don't prefer because the oil (used to brown or saute) drifts off to the edges of the pan. Sizes 7-10 seem to be the most effected in my limited experience. A pan that is concave or just a little concave cooks best for my taste. I usually ask people to put a half cup of water in the pan cold and tell me where the water runs to. I would recommend that you avoid pans that have a convex cooking surface when cold. Last nickel plating! Some pans were nickel plated to sell to wealthier clients and cost twice the price of a non-plated pan. The best pans were taken from those cast, and then plated. After 100 years the plating is usually worn badly and the pans look bad, so the price is low, but underneath, the pan is usually sweet! To remove the nickel you just need to find someone who does plating - say chrome plating - who will work with you . They will have vats of chemicals that will remove the nickel. Applying nickel is often the first step in chrome plating and what you can plate you can also un-plate. and I found a guy who did this for 10 bucks a pan while I waited!
Obviously, I could go on and on but my last few points: Many pans need a good deal of clean up when you get them and pans that are photographed poorly can often be a bad surprise. I find the pans photograph best in natural sun light so look for ads photographed that way to get the best detail. Cleaning the pans is messy at the least and dangerous at the worst. Two methods I find work: Spray pan with oven cleaner and put in a plastic bag overnight to give the cleaner more time to work. Then remove and scrub and do wear gloves and an apron. This works for pans that are merely dirty. For more stubborn pans, baking a pan in the oven at 500 degrees for an hour or so will cook off a lot of stuck on stuff and just turn that residue into a black powder that can be wire brushed or wet sanded or carefully filed off. Caution this could be smokey and do not take the pan out until it cools. Regular oven mitts are not good enough to grab a pan this hot. Or you can look for sellers who have their pans cleaned before the sell. And buyer beware. Avoid pans with cracks, bad photos, or one photo. There are lots of fake pans and knockoffs and some of those are also 100 years old. You have to read up to avoid things like sprue marks on the bottom of a pan (a sure sign of a bad counterfeit). One more thing... a good article on seasoning a pan:http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/01/a-science-based-technique-for-seasoning-cast-iron/. Did you know that Flaxseed oil (bought at healthfood stores) and Linseed oil (bought at the hardware store) are the same thing? Except that the later may have driers added to it that will kill you if you eat it or season your pan with it. Cheers and sorry for the long post. I am new so be gentle.

Bill13
10-30-2013, 11:26 AM
Kannamaster,

That is some great info, but next time a few paragraphs would help:D

kannamaster
10-30-2013, 12:23 PM
I am new to this. What is a good rule of thumb for length? Two or three paragraphs then? I am a bit too enthusiastic at times.

boomchakabowwow
10-30-2013, 12:58 PM
great info. maybe he meant, "use paragraphs" not less paragraphs. dunno.

there are so many old vintage cast irons coming up for sale in my area. the guy i bought mine from was a hoarder. he said to tap the pans..if they sound dead, there is a hidden crack somewhere. they should ring a bit.

if you season with flaxseed, use the bbq grill and do the pan upside down. flaxseed "cures" relatively thick. you can sometimes see veins of thick sections. i am on the lookout for a 12" vintage. i mostly see #8's.

Kyle
10-30-2013, 01:31 PM
I've finally got my #7 Griswold slant logo seasoned up right; a frying egg will slide around beautifully. I'm so excited to finally have it seasoned so well. Just had to make some changes in my technique and also stopped relying on baking soda and/or salt for cleaning- hot water and a spatula does the trick. I just sometimes have to do se extra convincing to my girlfriend to assure her that it's clean, she has a hard time with the whole no soap thing.

jbl
10-30-2013, 02:16 PM
All cast iron at home. A pleasure to cook with. Between those and the carbon knives we do very little washing up. A nightmare for sauté though. Suspiciously strong wrists

Dotchaos
08-20-2014, 03:54 PM
Hi Kannamaster,

Awesome post! You have obviously done a ton of research. I have a specific question about 2nd Series Erie skillets. If you own a #10 of that series, I am trying to validate something and would appreciate your help. Not sure if there's a personal message option on here. If not, my email is kitchenknife@mediaramp.com.

Best,
John



I obsessed over these pans for quite a long time . I've bought and sold a bunch and finally settled on Erie second series pans. Ebay is the best place to find the pans and generally speaking is also the marketplace that sets the price for these pans. There are several great makers and a lot of history and the more you know, the better pans you can buy for cheap. The Wagner Griswold society is the place to go to learn a lot about these pans and the society page is pretty insane. This is a page on the history of Erie (which later became Griswold) that I found to be really useful: http://www.wag-society.org/guest/ERIESkilletArticle.pdf. The iron ore used for these early pans is - for what ever reason - very different in structure from the ore available today. It is almost too hard to file which is saying something. The earlier pans were made as light as possible but reinforced in the areas that often fail if dropped ,like the handle ,and the lip. This 100 plus year old cast iron is hard ,brittle, tight grained, takes to seasoning much quicker than todays pans and is also smoother as some have noted. The pans were marked with model and the maker's mark. Here are some things I have learned the hard way:Getting the best pans cheap takes some work. You have to know what you are doing. The factors that drive up the value are rarity, vintage, type, makers mark, condition, seasoning and the quality of the ebay ad (ie notes and photography). Rare pans cost a lot - several hundred dollars more often. Some series and Companies draw a bigger price from collectors but are not better for cooking in any way. For example a really nice third series Erie will tend to be more than a second series Erie but there is really no functional difference. Erie's tend to be a lot more than Wagner's but are not superior in quality except in subjective ways. Some important saving tips: When looking for pans search "cast iron skillet" and a number and that will pull up the most pans usually. The number tells you the size. 5-12 being the most used sizes and 8 being the most produced/popular and usually cheapest size. The pans get bigger as the numbers go up and yes there are pans smaller than 5's and bigger than 12's and all sorts of other vintage cast iron wear. There are a lot of great makers with less name recognition that will often go for less and are slightly different in their characteristics. If you are looking for a number 5 for example (the perfect 1 or 2 person pan and everyone should have a 5 or 6) You might try looking for these maker's: National,Sidney, Pique, Favorite, Marion, Wapak, and Martin to name most of the ones I know and have seen. Nationals look just like early Erie's but tend to have shorter sidewalls. Favorites on the other hand tend to have the tallest sides for a given size (so less splatter) but are a bit heavier than Erie's. Sidney and Wagners are usually the same style and were related companies. Another tip: there are three defects that are really helpful: 1.Pitting in the bottom will bring the price way down but not effect the function because collectors don't want pitting.2. A pan that does not sit flat and has a slight wobble may be a good pan if the cooking surface is just slightly concave but that is the kiss of death for collectors. When a pan is heated and the metal expands most cast iron pans rise up a bit in the middle so if they start out concave they become closer to flat when hot. If the surface starts out dead flat, when heated they become convex (which I don't prefer because the oil (used to brown or saute) drifts off to the edges of the pan. Sizes 7-10 seem to be the most effected in my limited experience. A pan that is concave or just a little concave cooks best for my taste. I usually ask people to put a half cup of water in the pan cold and tell me where the water runs to. I would recommend that you avoid pans that have a convex cooking surface when cold. Last nickel plating! Some pans were nickel plated to sell to wealthier clients and cost twice the price of a non-plated pan. The best pans were taken from those cast, and then plated. After 100 years the plating is usually worn badly and the pans look bad, so the price is low, but underneath, the pan is usually sweet! To remove the nickel you just need to find someone who does plating - say chrome plating - who will work with you . They will have vats of chemicals that will remove the nickel. Applying nickel is often the first step in chrome plating and what you can plate you can also un-plate. and I found a guy who did this for 10 bucks a pan while I waited!
Obviously, I could go on and on but my last few points: Many pans need a good deal of clean up when you get them and pans that are photographed poorly can often be a bad surprise. I find the pans photograph best in natural sun light so look for ads photographed that way to get the best detail. Cleaning the pans is messy at the least and dangerous at the worst. Two methods I find work: Spray pan with oven cleaner and put in a plastic bag overnight to give the cleaner more time to work. Then remove and scrub and do wear gloves and an apron. This works for pans that are merely dirty. For more stubborn pans, baking a pan in the oven at 500 degrees for an hour or so will cook off a lot of stuck on stuff and just turn that residue into a black powder that can be wire brushed or wet sanded or carefully filed off. Caution this could be smokey and do not take the pan out until it cools. Regular oven mitts are not good enough to grab a pan this hot. Or you can look for sellers who have their pans cleaned before the sell. And buyer beware. Avoid pans with cracks, bad photos, or one photo. There are lots of fake pans and knockoffs and some of those are also 100 years old. You have to read up to avoid things like sprue marks on the bottom of a pan (a sure sign of a bad counterfeit). One more thing... a good article on seasoning a pan:http://sherylcanter.com/wordpress/2010/01/a-science-based-technique-for-seasoning-cast-iron/. Did you know that Flaxseed oil (bought at healthfood stores) and Linseed oil (bought at the hardware store) are the same thing? Except that the later may have driers added to it that will kill you if you eat it or season your pan with it. Cheers and sorry for the long post. I am new so be gentle.

larrybard
08-21-2014, 01:29 AM
. . . . flaxseed "cures" relatively thick. you can sometimes see veins of thick sections.

Pretty sure that if the seasoning appears thick or you see veins when you're seasoning, you're applying much too thick of a coating of oil. Season multiple times, each time with an extremely thin layer of oil -- i.e., thoroughly applying a coat, then almost wiping it off before applying heat.

rami_m
08-21-2014, 01:37 AM
Any idea where to find any of these things in oz?

CutFingers
08-21-2014, 07:07 AM
Offer 20 Don...tell em it needs to be sterlized in an autoclave and re-seasoned to be food legal in a professional kitchen :)

HHH Knives
11-07-2014, 10:12 AM
Cast is king in the kitchen!

I recently scored one of these Griswold #8 Anyone know from the markings approx age of these?

DDPslice
11-18-2014, 02:54 AM
Cast is king in the kitchen!

I recently scored one of these Griswold #8 Anyone know from the markings approx age of these?

1930-50's, I just cleaned a #6 I bought ages ago. I finally seasoned it this afternoon and I'm cooking on something besides lodge for the first time tomorrow for breakfast. It's like Christmas I'm so excited I might pee myself.

johnstoc
11-27-2014, 04:52 PM
I really want to start using more cast iron in my kitchen. So far I have had terrible luck getting a reasonable seasoning on my new Lodge skillet (using Sheryl Canter's approach with several thin coats of flaxseed oil and baking at high temp.) May have to pick up a vintage piece to see if I have better luck. Most recently I fully stripped the pan and sanded down the high/rough spots and re-seasoned, still not happy with it.

Anyone here looked at Finex skillets? Look to be exceptionally well made, machined flat after casting. Made in Portland, OR. Expensive. http://store.finexusa.com/finex-12-cast-iron-skillet/