Dating old cast iron

Before purchasing an expensive piece with thick grease buildup, consider consulting a professional about cleaning the cookware so you can more accurately read the markings.Ann Salter began writing professionally in 2010 and has worked extensively in the fields of art, architecture and design since 2004.Produced to fit in the circular openings in the tops of wood stoves, cast-iron cookware uses a sizing system with numbers corresponding not to the actual dimensions of the piece, but to the opening size in which they fit.

Today's stuff is thick and the cooking surfaces are pebbly.Renowned for their durability, cast-iron skillets, pots, and baking pans last for generations and are commonly sought out at antique malls, estate auctions and yard sales.Each piece often provides only a few inconspicuous, cryptic markings to help decipher its quality, history and value.Make note of all markings on the bottom of the pan and their location. Also look for a size designation, usually a number, such as 8. Very old pans have a raised ring around the bottom.At various times the Wagner Manufacturing Company used curved and straight logos, with or without the "Sidney, O" designation underneath. This kept the cookware from direct contact with the top of a wood stove. Note if there is a sharp ridge or a hollowed-out section where handles connect to the bodies of skillets.

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