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The Wapak Hollow Ware Company, Wapakoneta, Ohio

The Wapak Hollow Ware Company, Wapakoneta, Ohio

The Wapak Hollow Ware Company was formed in 1903 by a group of five men in Wapakoneta, Ohio. The Company was in business until 1926, when it declared bankruptcy.

House Furnishing Review, March 1916 (public domain).

Wapak is best-known for their highly collectable line of “Indian Head” skillets and waffle irons. The “Indian Head” pieces have a distinctive trademark – a Native American in full headdress and the words “Wapak High Grade Hollow Ware.” Pieces that have clear and distinct markings – even showing the definition of feathers on the headdress – are particularly sought-after. These pieces are finely cast and polished and rival the quality of Griswold and Wagner pieces of that era. They are so popular that reproductions of the “Indian Head” pieces have been found. The reproductions are poorly cast, and do not have the same distinctive handle as authentic Wapak pieces.

wapak native american indian head cast iron skillet old antique vintage hollow ware
The distinctive handle of the Wapak “Indian Head” skillet. Reproductions I have seen do not have this same handle.
wapak indian head native american cast iron skillet pan value rare heat ring 9 old antique vintage
“Indian Head” trademark on the Wapak skillet. The finer the detail, the higher the collectible value. I have seen skillets with such fine detail that the feathers in the headdress are clear. Here you can see some of the feathers in the headdress.
wapak indian head native american head dress skillet value price detail cast iron old antique vintage
Wapak “Indian Head” trademark with poor detail
wapak indian head native american head dress skillet value price detail cast iron old antique vintage
Wapak “Indian Head” cast iron skillet with poor detail and pitting.
wapak cast iron skillet indian head native american pan skillet heat ring old antique vintage
Bottom of Wapak “Indian Head” cast iron skillet. Circa 1903 – 1926.

Aside from their line of “Indian Head” pieces, however, Wapak is not known for its fine quality. Many – if not most – of the products produced by Wapak were made using pieces manufactured by other companies, i.e. Griswold. Because they were cast using other products as the “pattern” from which the Wapak piece was made, the casting is often rough with sand shifts; not nearly as fine of a casting as the product from which it was cast. It also is not uncommon to see skillets cast by Wapak that carry the Wapak name that have “ghost marks” of other manufactures (particularly ERIE and Griswold) names or pattern numbers on them. A “ghost mark” is a term used to describe faint markings left on a cast piece that was made by a different company – remnants of the other company’s mark are left on the newly-cast piece.

Wapak “Early Logo” skillet. Circa 1903 – 1913.

wapak cast iron skillet pan old antique vintage 7 heat smoke fire ring

 

wapak indian head native american head dress skillet value price detail cast iron old antique vintage
Wapak “Tapered” trademark on cast iron Yankee Bowl, circa 1912 – 1926. You can clearly see the pattern number of the Griswold no. 3 Yankee Bowl at the top of the photo – 785. You can also see a circular indentation where it is obvious that the molder was covering up the original trademark – here, Griswold.
Wapak “Z Mark” cast iron skillet. Circa 1903 – 1926.

There is also a Wapak pan that has a marking known as the “chicken foot.” That is where the “P” in “WAPAK” has a split at the bottom, with the two ends pointing in opposite directions – like a split end on a strand of hair.

They also manufactured a lower-priced cookware line carrying the name “Oneta.” The “Oneta” skillets were considered “grade 3” in Wapak’s schememata.

wapak oneta cast iron skillet old antique vintage logo trademark heat smoke fire ring marking
The “ONETA” marking on the bottom of one of Wapak’s lower-priced line of skillets.

An article from The Metal Worker, Plumber, and Steam Fitter, p. 63 – 64 (Oct. 15, 1904) describes the different levels of classification used by Wapak.

The Metal Worker, Plumber, and Steam Fitter, p. 63 – 64 (Oct. 15, 1904) (public domain).

In addition to skillets and waffle irons, Wapak also manufactured sad irons, sugar kettles, teakettles, griddles, roasters, waffle irons, and Dutch ovens. They also made ventilator grates, anchors, weights, feed boxes, “farm cookers,” bake ware, urns, manhole covers, and accessories for stove and furnaces of the day, as well as other esoteric pieces.




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