Originally, this skillet was completely black and very thick with burnt on food and grease. This is what it looks like after much effort with oven cleaner and an electric drill with a stiff wire brush. Was not able to get all of the carbon build up off and is typical for a piece more than 90 years old. This is an indication it is very old and probably made before the 1930's.
This is what it looked like after 5 seasoning passes in the oven. Not quite black, but getting very close. The cooking surface; in spite of the numerous cavities, is very smooth and glassy. Passes the "Fried Egg Test" by the ability to fry an egg without any sticking using only a half tablespoon of butter.
The bare cooking surface reveal deep cavities that would not be a good candidate for a collector; however, the marks do not affect its cooking ability. Initially, it was thought that these defects were casting errors, but they are actually rust spots. Seems to be consistent with other cast iron cookware from the turn of the 20th century.
When buying a vintage skillet it is best to avoid ones with severe rust in the cooking area. It will take some serious effort to fill in the rust spots with polymerized oil and carbon. In the end, the skillet will never be perfect, but it is very light, easy to handle and a pleasure to cook with. How odd for a piece that is a knock off, second or fake.
Sand cast molds are made under high pressure to produce a more consistent and precise product. This would be difficult for an indiviual to accomplish. Notice the cooking surface is recessed around the edges and shows that this particular piece was probably not made by an individual but rather a foundry with sophisticated equipment that could produce subtle differences in the cooking area. Too bad the whole skillet isn't done this well.
The sides are glassy smooth also. The spouts are a little rougher.
This skillet is also smooth on the outside. There are faint milling marks around the spouts that indicate side gate molding or flashing was ground off by the foundrymen. There wouldn't be gate marks on the bottom and the sides too. This makes it look like it was a copy of an original, but no guarantee.
The milling marks on the bottom side of the handle are inconsistent with Griswold manufacturing. Their products are smooth because of their casting methods not because of the grinding. Foundrymen have little time to make their pour and as a result the handle does not look as good as other parts of the skillet since it was the last to receive molten iron during the pouring process. It probably started to solidify before the cast near the handle filled in completely.
This is what the bottom side of the handle looks like after seasoning. Looks a lot like inexpensive Asian cast iron, but because of the smooth cooking surface this skillet was more than likely made in the U.S.A.
The angled line you see across the bottom is a gate mark which is what is left over after the skillet was poured from the bottom of the cast and then ground off. This style of casting became out of vogue around the beginning of the 20th century and ended completely in the early 1930's. Griswold and Wagner never used bottom gating as a method to cast skillets.
The heat ring is very irregular and looks like a serious casting defect probably due to a worn out mold or inferior one. Indicative of a "first try" attempt by an individual to make a copy or a worn out mold at the end of its lifecycle. Most certainly this skillet would have been thrown into a pile of bad skillets to be remelted if it were made by a reputable manufacturer.
The corrosion seen near the gate mark is caused by a sulphuric acid byproduct of coal burning and early natural gas used in stoves of the time period. This is consistent with a turn of the century skillet and is called acid errosion. The word "ERIE" is fainter than it should be for a product made by Griswold, but is consistent with a recast piece. Have also seen other skillets of this type and the corrosion has a different shape on each of them. This would indicate that the skillet was made long ago before the corrosion set in and that the corrosion was not part of the casting process.
This photograph is of the skillet after 15 passes in the oven. This was an effort to fill in the cavities in the cooking surface. The spots on the interior left are not from filling the cavities, but rather polymerized oil that hasn't quite carbonized yet. The skillet is very black.
A little tricky filling in the cavities. Each cavity was filled with oil and then baked in the oven. It would take a couple of passes in the oven just for one filling of the cavities to be polymerized.
Very little oil was rubbed on the outside while filling the cavities on the inside.
Closeup of the interior shows all of the cavities have been filled in. As you can see the cavities have filled in nicely and show no sign they were ever there.
Have taken photographs at different angles to show that the surface is nothing like it was after four seasoning trips to the oven.
Have used this skillet a few times and it performs perfectly. The filled in cavities don't cause any sticking and cannot be seen. What a fine 100 year old skillet this is ... too bad its a fake.
1907 ERIE Recast Size 8
Weight : 3 lbs. 13.8 oz.
A collection of images from an antique cast iron skillet made somewhere around 1907 or possibly made in the early 1930's. There is much speculation on what this piece is and common theory is that it was not made by Griswold, a well known cast iron manufacturer from the late 19th to the mid 20th century, but rather a small failing foundry or an individual using outdated bottom gated casting technology from the same time period looking to make quick knock offs that could be sold as originals. By making a cast of the original skillet a reproduction or recast can be made. In theory, it should be slightly smaller and lighter since cast iron shrinks a little out of the cast. In reality it will be somewhat heavier. How is that so? This particular skillet looks like a series 5 Griswold.
The flash from the camera makes the skillet look brighter than it normally does. You can zoom in on the images if you mouse over them. During autoplay zoom is disabled. Shrinking the browser window will shrink its contents possibly making it easier to view the gallery.
Valued in the range of $25 - $35.