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!

About Mary

Holding my much-used ERIE no. 11 skillet. It has a crack but still cooks like a dream.

My interest in vintage cast iron started some years back with the purchase of a pretty Griswold gem pan. It was beautiful, and I was impressed by the fine casting and care that had obviously gone into its creation. I wanted to learn more about it.

maltese dog puppy maisie cast iron pan skillet waffle iron wood handles heart old antique vintage pans pot
Maisie standing watch over some pans we picked up in Fargo, North Dakota.

I began looking for and buying more iron cookware, cleaning and restoring the pieces, and started selling pieces on eBay and Craigslist. I also began cooking almost exclusively in cast iron – I liked that it was “green” and non-toxic, and I appreciated that many of the pieces had been on this earth longer than me. I enjoyed working with the old pieces, appreciated their history, and was proud to put the old pieces – many sorely neglected – back into homes where they would be used and enjoyed.

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!

I found that there was an active market for vintage and antique cast iron cookware. I created a business (The Pan Handler LLC) and began blogging and selling pans globally on the internet.

The business grew and became successful. In 2015 I retired from my regular full-time job and devoted all of my time – and then some – to the business. I traveled across the country – usually with Linda Lamb, a great friend who worked alongside me – in search of iron to restore and put back into homes. The business and I were fortunate enough to garner some media attention. I had the opportunity to do some writing for Southern Cast Iron magazine, which I really enjoyed. Sales were brisk and I found that I was pretty much spending all of my waking hours working on cast iron in one form or another.

Linda, Mary & Maisie at a cast iron convention in Fargo, ND.

One beautiful summer weekend in 2016 I went sailing with friends. I was away from the computer and phone, and relished the peace and quiet. I realized that I wanted to stop and smell the roses more than I was able to do while running the business. And so, I sold the business effective January 1, 2017. It continued under different leadership until a few years ago, when the business stopped and the website was acquired by an operation in China. I have nothing whatsoever to do with the operation that is using the url and it hurts my heart that the name (and some of my old content) is being used by them.

After selling the business, I continued to blog and write about cast iron. Life intervened and I took significant breaks.

Mary with pans
First photo shoot. 🙂 Photo by Kelly Peterson.

I have recently endeavored to bring back some of the content about vintage cast iron cookware that I had earlier written. Some is lost to the ages, and all that I wrote for the e-commerce business is apparently gone. On this site you’ll see some current writings, along with some of my older content. Bringing the content back online has been an expensive technical adventure! I’m still in the process of bringing some of the posts back online.

I am glad to be back writing. I love thinking about these old pieces and where they have been and what they might have been used for. I am happy that others share this same interest and I’m glad to be able to share some information. I love visiting with collectors and seeing and learning about their collections, and sharing their enthusiasm about these old 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. It is fun to meet and share with others who have the same interest and enthusiasm about these old pieces.

I hope you enjoy the site!

Mary with her beloved Iron Mountain chicken pan back in around 2015.
Linda cleaning pans. She liked getting down and dirty with the pans; her favorite cleaning tool was chopsticks.
Mary and Maisie the Maltese on a cast iron road trip to Missouri.
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.
Linda and Mary at the 25th annual GCICA convention. Photo by the talented
Sarah Lamb of S.Lamb Photography.

Doris Mosier

Long-time collector Doris Mosier provided information about vintage cast iron cookware at for some 20 years before she invited me to take over the url. I am honored that she has entrusted me with the legacy of the site. I have preserved some of her writings, and you’ll find them under 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.