Griswold Cookware

Collectors and collections, History and Stories

Griswold, Lodge, Wagner, Favorite, Wapak, and More!

Griswold Cookware

Collectors and Collections,
History and Stories

Griswold, Lodge, Wagner, Favorite, Wapak, and More!

Home » About Mary

About Mary

Mary holding cracked GriswolERIE number 11 skillet
Holding my much-loved ERIE no. 11 skillet. It has a crack but cooks like a dream

My journey with vintage cast iron cookware began with a single purchase: a beautiful Griswold gem pan. As I held it in my hands, I couldn’t help but marvel at its craftsmanship and history. This pan sparked a curiosity, and a desire to learn more about its origins, uses, and how to care for it. 

With rock star cast iron collectors Marg and Larry O’Neil at the 2024 Griswold & Cast Iron Association’s annual convention in Erie, Pennsylvania.

This small purchase led me to acquire and restore more iron cookware, which I enjoyed. I began selling these pieces on eBay and Craigslist, and soon, I found myself cooking almost exclusively in cast iron. The environmentally friendly and non-toxic nature of cast iron appealed to me, but what truly resonated was the opportunity to revive these neglected pieces and place them in homes where they would be cherished and used. 

The Business

Sarah Lamb of S.Lamb Photography taking photos for the business website. Sarah took the photo of one of our pans that ended up in Playboy magazine!
Linda, Mary & pup Maisie at a cast iron convention in Fargo, ND.

I discovered an active market for vintage and antique cast iron cookware. In 2011, I founded a business called The Pan Handler LLC, and shortly after, I created a website, started blogging, and began selling pans globally on the internet.

The business had a successful growth, and in 2015, I retired from my full-time job to focus entirely on it. I traveled across the country, often with my friend Linda Lamb, who worked with me as the Pan Apprentice, searching for iron to restore and re-home. Sales were excellent, and I spent all my waking hours working on cast iron in one way or another.

Sale of the Business

During a lovely summer weekend in 2016, I went sailing with friends and experienced the peace of being away from the computer and phone. It made me realize I wanted to slow down and enjoy life more, which was challenging while running the business.

After much contemplation, I made the difficult decision to sell the business, effective January 1, 2017. The decision was driven by a desire to focus on personal growth and explore other aspects of my life that I had neglected while running the business.

Acquisition of the Business URL by an operation in China

Under new leadership, the business continued to operate until around 2019, when its operations suddenly ceased. Subsequently, an operation in China somehow acquired the website URL from its then-owner. As a result, all of the previous content on the business website disappeared. I have no involvement with the China operation, which currently uses the URL of my old business. It is disheartening, to say the least, that they are using the business name and some old content without consent.

…And Now?

With Maisie the Maltese on a cast iron road trip to Missouri.

After selling the business, I continued to share my knowledge and experiences about cast iron through various platforms. While life and family have intervened – as it does – my passion for these old pieces remains.

With my beloved Iron Mountain chicken pan back in around 2015.

On, I am recreating and updating the content about vintage cast iron cookware I had previously written and creating new content when my curiosity is stirred. This endeavor involves extensive research, sorting through thousands of photos, fact-checking, and writing. While some of my earlier content is lost, I am committed to providing accurate and engaging information about these timeless pieces. I suspect I’ll be in the process of recreating content for some time. 

It’s been joyful to return to writing. I enjoy delving into these old pieces’ history and stories, imagining their past uses and owners. Knowing that others share this same interest brings me great happiness, and I’m grateful for the chance to share my knowledge. I love engaging with collectors, admiring their collections, and sharing their enthusiasm for these cherished pieces of American history.

There are so many folks out there now who are excited about using and collecting vintage and antique iron—far more than when I began my cast iron adventure. I love meeting others who share my interest and enthusiasm about these old pieces!

Mary with pans
First photo shoot. 🙂 Photo by Kelly Peterson.
Linda cleaning pans. She likes to get down and dirty with the pans; her favorite cleaning tool is chopsticks.
Flea marking iron hunting. The pipe insulation was used for packaging pans before shipping.

linda neil barn museum
Linda checking out iron at the O’Neil cast iron museum.

Doris Mosier

Long-time collector Doris Mosier provided information about vintage cast iron cookware at for 20 years before she sold me her site and the URL. I am honored that she has entrusted me with the site’s legacy. I have preserved some of her writings; you’ll find them by searching for the author, “Doris.”

Doris Mosier
Doris Mosier holding one of her Griswold pups at the 2017 GCICA Convention in Springfield, MO. Photo by Sarah Lamb of S.Lamb Photography.