If you are a fan of vintage cookware, the name of Wagner and Griswold should not be new to you. When it comes to cast iron cooking utensils, these two brands used to be the king. Sadly, their day is long behind us.
But still, there are a lot of collectors out there who are constantly on the lookout for these appliances. Despite their age, a lot of their cookware is still in circulation.
Sometimes they pop up here and there and collectors snatch them up any chance they get. This is quite understandable though because when it comes to cooking performance, they still manage to hold up quite well.
But if one were to put them up against each other, would one come out above the other?
Well, that is a matter of some debate. These two brands are like choosing between Coke and Pepsi.
They have their own fanbase, and it mostly depends on the personal preference of the user. In this article, we will take a walk down history lane and look at the two brands.
Maybe after looking at the brands, you will have an easier time choosing between Wagner vs. Griswold cast iron if you ever get the chance. So, hop on, and let us get started.
Are Antique Cast Iron Kitchenware Better?
The appeal for vintage cast iron cookware is shared by many. And to be fair, it is not hard to understand why. There is a certain subtle aesthetic element about antique cast iron pots and pans by older brands like Wagner and Griswold.
If for nothing else, its cosmetic design holds a lot of value. But apart from the looks, some people even claim that these units offer better performance when cooking.
Ask any cast iron aficionados and they will choose vintage cast iron pans over modern ones. Is there really any validity to these claims or is it just a myth?
The one thing that seems different with older cast iron pans is that they are quite lightweight compared to newer utensils. This can make it much easier to lift. So, if it is a Dutch oven or a skillet, an antique cast iron utensil will often feel better to handle than a modern one.
In addition, antique cookware seems to handle heat better with even dispersion. They are also more durable and can withstand any abuse you throw at them.
The main reason behind it is that pan manufacturers before 1950 never polished their pans. As a result, the cooking surface is extremely smooth and durable.
Griswold vs Wagner : Look at The Both Brand in Details
Both Griswold and Wagner have a rich history behind them. As we have said, there is really no difference in performance when going with either brand.
It is more about which one looks better, and which brand resonates more with you.
That is why it is worth knowing a bit about both of these brands before you choose between Griswold and Wagner cast iron.
About Griswold Manufacturing Company
The initial conception of the Griswold Manufacturing Company was in Erie, Pennsylvania. It was originally a joint venture between Matthew Griswold and two of his cousins, Samuel and J.C Seldon.
At the start, they mostly dealt with hardware, However, the company shifted to cast iron cookware by expanding their operations in the year 1870.
Even at that time, it was not called Griswold Manufacturing Company. Rather they carried out their operations under the name Seldon-Griswold Manufacturing Company.
Around the later part of the 1880s, Matthew Griswold officially changed the name to Griswold Manufacturing Company. This became possible because he bought a stake in the firm from his cousins in the year 1884.
After that, Griswold became a family-run business, with Matthew’s son taking over the ownership in 1905. 9 years later in 1914, the business passed over to Marvin Griswold.
He was the one who is responsible for turning the local brand into an international brand by selling products all over the world.
Around 1940 however, the quality of their products started to see a steep decline. Unable to maintain the same level of quality, the Griswold family decided to sell the company. In 1946, they finally managed to sell it to Wagner Manufacturing Company.
During its lifespan, the company produced many excellent cookware and had gathered mass popularity. The Erie Factory where it all began finally closed down in 1957.
About Wagner Manufacturing Company
The journey of Wagner Manufacturing Company started in the year 1891 with the hands of two brothers, Milton M. Wagner, and Bernard P. Wagner. Based in Sidney, Ohio, this company dealt almost exclusively in producing cast iron cookware.
However, later on, they expanded towards nickel-plated and aluminum products also. In the year 1897, the company further expanded their business by buying another company named Sidney Hollow Ware.
William H. Wagner, another brother of the two founders hopped on to manage the expanding business. However, after six years, they resold Hollow Ware to Philip Smith, the original owner.
The company started selling to the global market by the year 1913. In in 1934, they brough Mangalide cast aluminum cookware, the first of its kind, to the market.
However, during the great depression, the company started struggling financially. Around 1946, they started to consider selling it.
Finally in the year 1953, Wagner Manufacturing Company was finally sold to Randall Company.
Advantages Of Using Wagner And Griswold Cast Iron Cookware
As antique cookware, these two brands are extremely popular. They have a rich history behind them, and as soon as they pop up, people tend to snatch them up. Using antique cookware is not only about aesthetics.
It can also greatly enhance your cooking experience. Here are some of the advantages of using Wagner or Griswold cast iron cookware.
Even Heat Distribution
If you cook from time to time, you already know that cast iron cookware can distribute and maintain high temperatures efficiently.
But with antique cast iron from Wagner or Griswold, the heat distribution capacity is even greater. Because of this, you get many advantages while cooking.
For instance, you will be able to cook over an open fire with Wagner or Griswold cast iron cookware.
The food will remain warm for a longer period when you cook it with these utensils. Since the cookware heats easily and stays heated for a longer period, it is a great choice for barbeques or outside cooking.
This one might be a bit controversial. Some love it, some may hate it. But it is still worth noting when you are using any cast iron cookware, whether it is an antique piece from Wagner and Griswold or otherwise. When using cast iron cookware, you get extra iron content in your food.
Iron as you know is an important part of your diet. It strengthens your bones and ensures you remain healthy.
The downside to this is that it can sometimes leave a metallic after-taste in your food. To some, this different flavor does not feel too good.
Both Wagner and Griswold cookware were made with extreme care and precision. Because of this, they are built stronger and sturdier than most other cast iron utensils that you can find these days. If durability is important to you, this is as good as it gets.
Think of it this way, every piece of cookware you buy from these brands was made a long time ago. Even to this day, they work flawlessly.
If you season your cast iron from Griswold or Wagner, they will get better day by day. Just make sure you take the time to maintain them now and then.
Despite the antique value of these products, the cookware by Griswold and Wagner is quite affordable even to today’s standards.
Nowadays, cast iron utensils are made with newer technologies that can increase their production cost. But the fact is, it rarely makes a difference in terms of performance and functions.
In the days of Wagner and Griswold, they used melted iron to manufacture these pieces of cookware. The manufacturing process was pretty simple and straightforward.
Despite its cheaper price, the quality of this cookware is comparable to many high-end cast iron cookware that are available now in the market.
Cast iron cookware is quite versatile on its own. But the antique pieces from these two brands might be even more so.
Because of the design, durability, and construction of this cookware, they can handle almost any type of cooking you can think of without any issue.
So, whether you are planning to do an open fire barbeque or cook just a simple homemade deal, Wagner or Griswold cast iron is a perfect choice.
The fact that the cookware is also lightweight, makes it even easier and more efficient to flip foods with it.
Disadvantages Of Using Griswold and Wagner Cast Iron Cookware
Now that you have taken a look at the advantages using cast iron from two most popular brands on the market, let us take a look at some of the potential drawbacks.
Cast iron cookware by Griswold and Wagner requires constant maintenance. The major downside of these utensils is that they can rust easily.
So, you need to season them every now and then. If it does get rusty though, you should try boiling water with it as it will eliminate the rust right away.
Can be hard to find
Since these cookware’s are regarded as collectibles, they can be pretty hard to find on the market. You need to always be on the hunt for them before someone else comes and snatch it up.
So, if you want to buy a complete set of cookware by Wagner or Griswold, you will have quite a challenging time.
Compared to the minor inconveniences that come from cooking in antique cast iron by Griswold or Wagner, the advantages you get are hard to ignore.
If you are a dedicated chef who likes to cook for your family, or as a profession, you should never overlook the quality of these cookware’s.
How to Season Wagner and Griswold Cast Iron?
As we have said earlier, both company's cast iron cookware require seasoning regularly to prevent rust.
The major issue with these utensils is that they do not retain their seasoning for too long. And cooking with an unseasoned piece of cookware means your food will stick to it when you cook.
The steps to season Griswold and Wagner Cast Iron are pretty simple thankfully. It does not take too long, and if you set apart some time from your busy schedule, you can ensure your cookware is seasoned every time you want to cook a meal.
- Take your cookware and wash it with soap thoroughly
- Take your food-grade oil and apply just a little bit of it on the surface. You want to make sure that the oil covers the entire surface.
- Use a kitchen cloth to rub off any excess oil
- Place the utensil in an oven upside down
- Turn the oven on with the heat at 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Leave the cookware inside for around 30 minutes.
- Turn the oven off and let the cookware cool down
- Turn on the heat again at the same temperature
- You want to repeat these steps until you are satisfied with the seasoning of your cookware.
When it comes to quality, performance, or durability, the quality of both Wagner and Griswold cast iron are quite similar. So, if you are someone who likes to collect and dabble with antique cookware, both of these brands can be a great choice.
Putting Wagner Vs. Griswold up against each other is like asking someone to choose between Ford or Chevy. They cost similar, and also deliver similar performance, but have a widely varied fanbase.
We hope our article could help you understand these two excellent vintage brands. Now you should have no trouble choosing between Wagner vs Griswold cast iron.
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About the Author
Tamara J. Sims
As a seasoned kitchen and food writer, Tamara has a remarkable ability to weave words together, transporting readers to the heart of the culinary world. Tamara’s articles are written with an engaging blend of insightful commentary, honesty, and real-world examples based on personal experiences. She has the ability to captivate seasoned food enthusiasts and novice cooks alike.
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