List of cast-iron cookware manufacturers
Most of the major manufacturers of cast-iron cookware began production in the late 1800s or early 1900s. Cast-iron cookware and stoves were especially popular among homemakers and housekeepers during the first half of the 20th century. Most American households had at least one cast-iron stove and cooking pan, and such brands as Griswold and Wagner Ware were especially popular; though several other manufacturers also produced kitchen utensils and cooking pots and pans at that time. With the exception of Lodge Manufacturing, most American manufacturers of cast iron from this era such as Atlanta Stove Works, have been acquired by other corporations and no longer produce cast-iron cookware in the United States; however, cast-iron pots and pans from the early 20th century continue to see daily use among many households in the present day. They are also highly sought after by antique collectors and dealers. Among the rarest products were those produced in 1920. Exporting and trade flourished creating a shortage for U.S. consumers. The Atlanta 32 box became one of the rarest items in 1920 production. Exporting overseas created an increase in industry output for the following years. Manufacturing and industry contributed to the prosperity and growth of an era that would be known as the "Roaring 20's" marking a post-war national lifestyle change.
- 1 Griswold
- 2 Vollrath
- 3 Wagner Ware
- 4 Favorite
- 5 Atlanta Stove Works
- 6 Lodge
- 7 Wapak
- 8 Le Creuset
- 9 Krampouz
- 10 Borough Furnace
- 11 FINEX Cast Iron Cookware Company
- 12 TAKU Ironware Company
- 13 Stargazer Cast Iron
- 14 Marquette Castings
- 15 Smithey Ironworks
- 16 Modern-day importers
- 17 References
- 18 External links
- Founded: 1865
Founded as the Seldon and Griswold Manufacturing Company, the Griswold company became known as the premier manufacturer of high-quality cast-iron kitchen items in the United States. The Griswold cast iron foundry was based in Erie, Pennsylvania; and until the early 1900s cast-iron items from this company were marked with an "ERIE" logo. In the early 1900s this was changed to a "GRISWOLD" logo, and it is this logo that is most commonly associated with Griswold cast-iron cookware.
Griswold filed for bankruptcy in 1957, and the company was acquired by Randall Corporation, who had also acquired Griswold's rival Wagner Ware in 1952. 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. These brands were acquired by the American Culinary Corporation of Willoughby, Ohio in 2000 when WagnerWare Corp. ceased operations in Sidney, Ohio.
- See also: The Vollrath Company
- Founded: 1874
The Vollrath Company was started in 1874 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin by Jacob J. Vollrath. The company manufactured porcelain enameled pots, pans, plates, cups and other kitchenware by coating cast iron with ceramic glaze, and Vollrath received a patent on "speckled" enameled glaze for household utensils in 1889. By the 1920s the Vollrath Company was producing a catalog of more than 800 products; however, its production facilities were affected by the Great Depression, and during World War II the company had moved exclusively into military defense manufacturing. Its production of cast-iron products for household use ceased during this era. Vollrath devoted its production facilities to military products during the wars and produced a Polio-Pak during the polio epidemic. It was among the first manufacturing companies in America to integrate computer technology.
- Founded: 1881
Founded in Sidney, Ohio, as the Wagner Manufacturing Company, manufactured metal castings of light hardware for general stores and tin hollowware for government contract work. In 1891 their cast iron foundry went into operation, and it continued producing cast-iron cookware for over a century before closing in 1999. Wagner was acquired by the Randall Corporation in 1952, five years before the same company also purchased Griswold.
After Wagner and Griswold were brought under the Randall Company, the Erie cast iron foundry was closed, and all cast-iron items produced by the company were manufactured in Wagner's Ohio location. Wagner Ware cooking items continued to be produced through the 1960s through the 1990s.
In 2000, both the Griswold and Wagner brands were acquired by the American Culinary Corporation of Willoughby, Ohio. The company continues to promote and produce Wagner products, under the Wagner and Griswold brands; however, new Wagner cast iron has not been produced since the Sidney foundry was closed in 1999.
- See also: Favorite Stove
- Founded: 1887
In 1887 the Favorite Stove & Range Company moved to Piqua, Ohio from Cincinnati, Ohio. The firm became Piqua's largest manufacturer. The company focused primarily on the manufacture of stoves and stove parts throughout its history, though it also produced several lines of mid-priced cast-iron pans from the 1910s through the 1930s. The death of owner Stanhope Boal in 1933 and the devastation of the Great Depression led to the company's liquidation in 1935.
Atlanta Stove Works
- Founded: 1889
The Atlanta Stove Works company was founded in 1889 (originally named Georgia Stove Company) to produce cast-iron stoves. Initially, their business boomed to the point where in 1902, a separate foundry was built in Birmingham, Alabama especially for the production of hollow ware and cast-iron cookware to supplement their stoves. This separate foundry was named Birmingham Stove & Range. From the early 1900s through the 1970s, Birmingham Stove & Range foundry produced a line of cast-iron pans that are described as "unmarked:" they had no manufacturer logo or other identifying mark. These "unmarked" cast-iron skillets and pans from Birmingham Stove & Range are widely available and used on a daily basis, even in the present day. Birmingham Stove & Range filed for bankruptcy in 1989, and their holdings were acquired by Lodge Manufacturing.
- See also: Lodge (company)
- Founded: 1896
Founded in 1896 by Joseph Lodge, Lodge Manufacturing is one of America's oldest cookware companies in continuous operation. It is still owned and managed by the descendants of the Lodge family. Most cast iron sold by Lodge is produced in its foundry in South Pittsburg, Tennessee, which has been in operation since the company was founded.
- Founded: 1903
The Wapak Hollow Ware company was named after its hometown of Wapakoneta, Ohio, where it produced several lines of "thin wall" (lightweight manufacture) cast-iron skillets. Information about this company is scarce but bankruptcy in 1926 is the reason listed in the Auglaize County records for Wapak's disappearance.
The company utilized several different logos on its wares while in business. One of the companies more famous logos is the "Indian Head" logo which reads: "WAPAK HIGH GRADE HOLLOW WARE". The words are placed inside a circle with a bust of an American Indian chief in full headgear. Pieces bearing this "Indian logo" are the most prized by collectors of Wapak Hollow Ware today.
- See also: Le Creuset
- Founded: 1925
- See also: Krampouz
- Founded: 1949
Krampouz is a French cooking equipment manufacturer, renowned since its founding, for its cast-iron crepe makers. The company later developed additional ranges of products, based on its cast-iron expertise and including waffle irons and panini grills.
- Founded: 2011
Borough Furnace is based in Syracuse, NY. All of their products are designed by John Truex and produced in their sustainable facility, powered by renewables. Borough Furnace was also the first cookware company to season their products with flax seed oil and to advertise their usage of recycled materials.
FINEX Cast Iron Cookware Company
- Founded: 2012
FINEX is based in Portland, Oregon and manufactures cast-iron cookware in the US. FINEX Cast Iron Cookware Company is a small team dedicated to making heirloom quality cast-iron cookware in the US.
TAKU Ironware Company
- Founded: 2014
TAKU manufactures cast-iron cookware (pan, pots, teapots...) in Taichung, Taiwan. TAKU also uses local artists to create unique cast-iron cookware.
Stargazer Cast Iron
- Founded: 2015
Stargazer Cast Iron is based in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and produces cookware in the US. They are an e-commerce retailer, and their products can only be purchased direct via the company's website. Stargazer Cast Iron's cookware is available bare or seasoned.
- Founded: 2016
Marquette Castings designs investment cast-iron cookware in Royal Oak, Michigan, and manufactures in the US and China.
- Founded: 2015
Smithey Ironworks manufactures cast-iron skillets (10-inch and 12-inch) in Charleston, South Carolina. The cooking surface of the skillets are smooth, emulating older-style cast-iron cookware. Most retail outlets carrying Smithey skillets are specialty shops in the Southeast, though products may also be purchased online.
Several companies import cast-iron cookware of Chinese manufacture and market these products in America. Known American marketers of Chinese cast-iron cooking equipment include Bayou Classic, Camp Chef, Coleman, Old Mountain and Texsport.
- Wagner and Griswold Society: association of hobbyists and antique collectors specializing in cast-iron cookware
- Birmingham Stove & Range: Information on cast iron from Atlanta Stove Works, still used and sold (by antique dealers) across the country today
- The Wagner's 1891 Original Cast Iron Skillet: a page with information on the last line of cast-iron pans produced by Wagner in the 1990s (often mistaken by dealers and collectors as vintage 19th-century cast iron)