Dating wagner cast iron skillet
Of course, even the "Wagner's 1891 Original" is a cast iron pan.
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.
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.
Several aspects of this "Wagner's 1891 Original" pan provide evidence that this is of modern-day manufacture as opposed to the antique design.
The Chow Hound discussion board includes a discussion of modern Wagner cast iron pans, in which people state that they have been unable to obtain any "modern" Wagner cast iron pans from American Culinary: Despite the manufacturer's statement that this is an "1891 original," the pan bears very little similarity to actual cast iron pans made by Wagner in the 1890s – other than being round and made for cooking food.
Cast-iron cookware was especially popular among homemakers during the first half of the 20th century. Most American households had at least one cast-iron cooking pan, and brands such as Griswold, which began manufacturing in 1865, Wagner Ware, which began manufacturing in 1881, and Lodge Manufacturing, which entered the marketplace in 1896 as Blacklock Foundry, all competed for market share.
The 20th century also saw the introduction and popularization of enamel-coated cast-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.
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If you've had any experience with cooking in cast iron, you'll know there's a difference between the modern-day cast iron pans and the classic antique iron cookware.