There, if you are lucky, you will find identifying information about your pan.Caveat: I have learned that sometimes people “guess” about the origin or manufacturer of a pan, or are sometimes careless in identification.
Sad irons, also called flat irons or smoothing irons, are shaped pieces of metal that are flat and polished on one side and have a handle attached to the other, created for the purpose of de-wrinkling fabric.
“Sad” is an Old English word for “solid,” and the term “sad iron” is often used to distinguish the largest and heaviest of flat irons, usually 5 to 9 pounds.
My “go-to” reference materials for dating and identifying pieces for which I know the manufacturer are two much-used reference books: Smith & Wafford, The Book of Griswold & Wagner, Favorite, Wapak, Sidney Hollow Ware (5 ©2001 (commonly called the “Red Book”).
There are also very knowledgeable and passionate long-time collectors out there who have a vast amount of information about vintage and antique cast iron cookware.
Most are happy to share their knowledge with beginning cast iron enthusiasts.
Two clubs that have been very helpful to me, and of which I am a proud member, are: The Wagner & Griswold Society, and The Griswold & Cast Iron Cookware Association.
Gate marked pans are the oldest of the old cast iron cookware; almost certainly antique.
The gate mark is a remnant of the casting process that was used in the 1800’s.
In around 1890, this casting process was mostly discontinued.
Absent markings on the pan, it is often impossible to identify the maker of a gate marked piece.
TIPS TO IDENTIFY THE MANUFACTURER OF VINTAGE CAST IRON SKILLETS Some of the unmarked pans you may come across in your cast iron travels were made by Griswold, Lodge, Birmingham Stove & Range (“BSR”), Vollrath, Wagner, Favorite Stove & Range, and Chicago Hardware Foundry.