Did you know that cast iron skillets are so long-lasting that they may be used for centuries? Some have even become family treasures, handed down through generations.
With this consideration, determining the age of an antique cast iron skillet may be intriguing. Many individuals are unsure how to determine the age of a cast iron skillet.
With this consideration, the following are some points to consider, especially if you wish to assess the age of your cast iron pan.
The Cast Iron Pan Tells the Time
Many people attempt to guess the age of a pan based on its look.
Nevertheless, this is not a reliable indication. Poorly maintained cast iron skillets might seem older than they are, but well-maintained pans can appear younger.
But, if you want to know the real age of your pan, you need consider the following factors:
The surface of older pans is smoother and less pebbled than that of contemporary pans. Cast iron skillets with a thick and pebbled surface are more likely to be newer.
It is also more likely to have been made in the United States. Also, contemporary pans have thicker walls than older ones.
Besides from texture, the weight of the pans varies depending on their age. Modern cast iron skillets are heavier.
This characteristic is highlighted in a comparison of two common varieties. A Number 8 Lodge cast iron skillet between the 1960s and 1983 weighed 4.65 pounds, whereas a Griswold number 8 ERIE spider cast iron skillet from 1906 weighed 3.85 pounds.
Texture and weight are two of the most basic methods to evaluate the age of a pan.
Unfortunately, many people find this procedure challenging, especially since it requires two separate pans to compare well.
Fortunately, this is not the only technique to determine the age of a cast iron skillet.
Using Markings to Determine Age
Another useful method is to search for marks on the pan. Certain cast-iron skillet pans include marks that may be seen online.
In fact, it is how most people learn about the history of their pan. You may learn who created the pan, when it was produced, and other details based on the marks.
You should be aware of the following typical marks on cast iron skillets:
The starting point
A gate mark is another sort of mark that may be seen on cast iron skillets. This is a raised cut or scar on the pan’s bottom.
The fundamental difference between gate-marked skillets and others is that they lack any additional markings, such as a manufacturer’s name. It’s really simple to confuse them for cheap pans.
Cast iron skillets with gate markings, on the other hand, qualify as antique pans. They’re centuries old since the gate markings are caused by an antique casting process from the 1800s.
Since this casting procedure was abolished in 1890, cast iron skillets with gate markings are very uncommon.
Although you will know that your pan is really ancient, determining who made it will be more difficult. Cast iron foundries avoided placing brands or more on their items throughout the 1800s.
Please keep in mind that if your skillet has a gate mark, it is highly uncommon and precious.
You may see an example of a gate mark on a cast iron skillet here.
Manufactured in the United States
The Made in USA mark, which may be found on the bottom of the pan, is another simple way to establish the age of your pan.
This was employed in the 1960s when trade regulations were highly stringent and makers were required to state the nation of origin of all items made.
This is a trademark for a huge number of cast iron skillets manufactured in the 1960s and beyond.
Logo of the Manufacturer
If the pan has a manufacturer logo, it is visible at the bottom. It’s generally simply a little emblem with the firm name on it that you may use as a reference.
It is a good idea to cross-reference the logo using the following resources:
- Smith & Wafford – Blue Book – The Book of Griswold & Wagner, Favorite, Wapak, Sidney Hollow Ware (5th ed. 2013)
- Smith & Wafford – Red Book – The Book of Wagner & Griswold, Martin, Lodge, Vollrath, Excelsior, ©2001
You may find the manufacturers online in addition to these books, but these are the most complete collections to utilize.
While checking for company logos, you may more readily determine the age of your pan, but use caution.
It’s easy to ignore the pan if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Moreover, even unmarked pans carry minor manufacturing identifiers that may be used to determine their age.
We have included some typical manufacturing logos and what they signify based on this factor:
These are some of the Griswold Manufacturing Company’s very first pans. Early versions of their pans lacked the complete name.
If your pan just has the name ERIE on it, it was most likely created by the Griswold Manufacturing Company in the late 1800s or early 1900s.
ERIE alludes to the company’s location, since Griswold Manufacturing Company was founded in Erie, Pennsylvania. The following categories may be determined based on the logos:
Skillet ERIE Spider
This skillet is incredibly uncommon, precious, and in high demand. The Griswold Manufacturing Company also makes it.
The pan has a spider web pattern with a spider in it and the words ERIE carved into the spider’s body.
This is one of the company’s very first pans, going back to 1906.
If it is in outstanding shape, it might have a market worth of thousands of dollars, and buyers and collectors will be lining up to take it off your hands.
Skillets from Iron Mountain
Iron Mountain skillets are another kind of cast iron skillet pan made by the Griswold Manufacturing Company.
They are popular because they are useful in the kitchen, and many are prized items of cookware.
The Iron Mountain skillets, which were made in the 1940s, feature a highly unique handle that makes them simple to distinguish.
They also feature a pan number, a heat ring, and a four-digit product number on the bottom.
Skillets from VICTOR
The Griswold Manufacturing Company also created these pans, however they were made between 1890 and 1915.
Because of the production processes of the period, many VICTOR skillets do not have the firm name. Nonetheless, the Griswold brand appears on pans manufactured in 1915.
They also have a heat ring, a pan number, and a product number with four digits on the bottom of the pan.
If your skillet has no markings and merely a heat ring with notches, it is a Lodge skillet.
These Lodge Manufacturing Company skillets are regarded authentically old. They were first produced in the 1930s.
If the pan has notches in the heat ring and the words Manufactured in USA, it is a Lodge skillet from the 1960s.
If, on the other hand, the unmarked pan has raised letters at the bottom and a handle with a number on it, it was created between the late 1800s and the early 1900s.
It was the Blacklock Foundry that laid the groundwork for the Lodge Manufacturing Corporation.
These skillets are made by the Vollrath Manufacturing Company and may be personalized or left blank.
Yet, one distinguishing feature is the emphasized number inscribed on the center, bottom of the pan. In this situation, it indicates that you have a Vollrath pan from the 1930s to the 1940s.
Birmingham, Stove, and Range Company produced these skillets (BSR). They produced pans from 1957 until 1993.
As a result, many of their pans are unmarked. Looking at the underside of the pan’s handle is one of the most telling clues.
BSR pans feature a ridge beneath the handle as well as a number. Based on this, the BSR skillets may be classified into the following subcategories:
The Red Mountain
This was produced throughout the 1930s and 1940s. The bottom of these skillets is frequently marked with a letter.
They also have a number that corresponds to the pan, but no other distinguishing features.
They were produced in the 1950s and are more common than the Red Mountain variant. They also feature narrower pouring spouts than other skillets.
The Made in America inscription is also etched onto the bottom of the 1960s Century pans.
These are some of the most frequent methods for determining the age of a cast iron pan. For many, this is an excellent method to determine the age of their beloved cast iron pan.
Additional cooking pan articles you may be interested in:
- Why Do Cast Iron Pans Crack and How to Fix It?
- Is Black Residue On Cast Iron Skillets Harmful?
- Can You Use Cast Iron Pan on an Electric Stove?
- Can You Season a Cast-Iron Pan with Olive Oil?
- How to Polish Cast Iron Pan? Easy Step-by-Step
- Is It Safe To Cook in a Rusty Cast Iron Pan?
- How to Season Cast Iron Without an Oven?
- How to Remove Rust From Cast Iron Pans?