History, manufacturers, identification, stories, use & care, collectors and collections.

Ask Mary: Was this pan made by a Blacksmith?

Ask Mary: Was this pan made by a Blacksmith?

Rebecca P. of Brentwood Tennessee wrote in via the contact form and asked:

I found this pan in my grandmother’s collection in Bluefield VA. She is 94 and we think she has had this for a very long time. We cannot find any manufacturer markings. We had some blacksmiths in our family so we are curious if there is any chance it was made by one of them. It has an unusual surface on the outside and is smooth as silk inside. Thanks!

Rebecca sent along these photos.

old antique vintage cast iron pan ugly hammered hammer finish unusual marking unknown maker skillet fry frying fryer
old antique vintage cast iron pan ugly hammered hammer finish unusual marking unknown maker skillet fry frying fryer
old antique vintage cast iron pan ugly hammered hammer finish unusual marking unknown maker skillet fry frying fryer

Rebecca, your pan is a “hammered” pan. That “hammered” pattern is shown in the indented markings on the outside of the skillet.

The markings would be more visible if you were to give the pan a good cleaning to remove all of the carbon build-up. Try the “Easy Off” method to clean the pan.

The maker of your pan is unknown. The pan does not have a gate mark. I presume it was made in the 1900s. It is not particularly uncommon or hard-to-find.

In an unfortunate phrasing, the hammered pattern on your skillet results in its being known as an “ugly hammered” skillet in some cast iron collecting circles. This is to differentiate the pattern on your pan from the smaller and more tightly-focused hammered markings that you see on other hammered pieces.

Both Griswold and Wagner made hammered cast iron cookware. The pattern of your pan, however, is different from that of pans made by Griswold or Wagner.

I am sorry that I cannot give you a more definitive answer as to the manufacturer of your grandmother’s pan. If you do a google search for “ugly hammered” “cast iron”, though, I bet you’ll find a lot more photos and information to help you in your search!

Good luck, and I hope you enjoy putting your grandmother’s pan to work in your own kitchen!


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