“It may have “Sidney, Ohio” on the bottom or just “Sidney O.” This indicates that the piece was made by Wagner Ware before 1922. Many early pieces are labeled as “Wagner” with the name in quotation marks. The company used this early marking prior to 1922, sometimes in combination with the Sidney name. This indicates that the piece is an authentic Wagner.
Wagner made molded cast iron with a polished exterior and interior, and the best production was from 1920 to 1940. An article in “The Kansan” reports that manufacturers of cast iron during that period polished it in a drum or turned it on a lathe to make cooking surfaces smooth.”
From Greg the BlackIronDude on Blogspot:
- If the Wagner Ware logo is in the center of the bottom then it was made approximately 1920 -1930. If the WW logo is near the 12 o’clock position (the handle being at 6 o’clock) it is more like 1925 to 1935.
- If the is no heat ring and a stylized Wagner Ware logo then it was made between 1935 and 1959.
- He avoids Griswolds with the small logo and Wagner Wares that describe the pan by size — e.g. 10 inch skillet– rather than use numbers.
- If there is no heat ring on the bottom it was probably made between 1935-1959. If there is a heat ring it could be another 10 years older. In another response he said: “With a heat ring approx 1924 -1935 without 1935 to 1959.”
- In response to a question about a griddle he said: “If it says Wagner rather than Wagner Ware it is quite old.”
Griswold time line extracted from Greg’s page here.
- 1868 – Griswold cast iron’s story began in Erie PA. Matthew Griswold and John Selden produced hardware items.
- 1873 – The company was formally named Selden & Griswold Manufacturing Co.
- 1880 – Production of cast iron cookware began around this time under the ERIE brand.
- 1885 – A fire destroyed the foundry and a reorganization took place. The company was renamed to Griswold Manufacturing Co. and the Griswold family retained ownership
- 1905 – the brand name was changed to Griswold’s ERIE and in
- 1906 – the famous Griswold cross logo appeared.
- 1906 to 1912 – The logo design is known as the Slant/ERIE
- 1909-1929 – The logo design is known as the Slant/Erie PA U.S.A. (or EPU for short)
- 1930-1939 – The logo is known as the Block/Erie PA U.S.A. Notice the lack of a heat ring that was seen on the older pieces.
- 1947 – the firm was sold to an investment group.
- 1957 – the Griswold Mfg. Co. was sold twice resulting in Griswold’s main competitor, Wagner Manufacturing, taking ownership of the name and trademarks.
For a good Griswold time line with how the company was passed down see http://www.castironcollector.com/griswold.php
At some point, around the 1950s, manufacturers began to use dimensional descriptions on the pieces, such as “10 5/8 IN.” or “6-1/2 Inch Skillet” spelled out. These would either be in addition to or, in some cases, instead of the traditional size numbers.”
“There is another instance in which you’ll find a number incised in a piece, and it can be most puzzling. On some smaller pans, you may see a tiny numeral on the bottom of the handle. In my experience, these seem to be limited to the numbers 1 through 4. For efficiency, small pieces would be sometimes be cast in groups simultaneously in the same sand mold. Multiple identical patterns were arranged so that a single pour of molten metal filled all the cavities in a process known as a gang mold. Just as with pattern letters, the small but unique number let quality control know if there was a problem pattern. Some makers appear to have used a dot or multiple dots in similar fashion.”