Skillets are a must-have in every kitchen. With tons of recipes that can be cooked using a skillet, they are often regarded as a workhorse in the culinary world. It is for this reason that a great quality skillet is a worthwhile investment.
There is a multitude of brands that offer good quality cookware, but there is always one that stands out from the rest. Wagner has been a reliable brand that has developed cookware with impressive quality. One of which is the Wagner polished cast iron skillet.
Founded by Bernard P. Wagner and Milton M. Wagner, Wagner Manufacturing dates back to the 1890s. With all those years in the manufacturing industry, Wagner has become one of the largest cast iron products manufacturers in America.
Wagner’s product line includes skillets, dutch ovens, bean pots, kettles, broilers, roasters, griddles, fruit presses, scoops, waffle irons, cornbread pans, and muffin pans. In addition, they have also developed a line of aluminum cookware.
However, like many good things, Wagner had to stop production a little after the company was sold to Textron in 1951. At present, their products, especially the Wagner polished cast iron skillet have become a collectible.
Reasons For Becoming a Collectible
Since it has been years since Wagner cookware has been produced, existing products have become collectible. Here are several reasons why.
1. Smooth cooking surface – One of the reasons why Wagner has become a sought-after collectible is its smooth cooking surface.
Many cast iron skillets have casting flaws but that was not the case with Wagner cookware. As a result, their products have a very smooth interior and exterior surfaces.
2. Excellent overall quality – Great attention to detail and focusing on producing excellent-quality products have always been Wagner’s main focus. With each product, Wagner workers see to it that there are no casting flaws or bubbles.
3. Wide range of cast iron cookware – Another aspect that Wagner manufacturing got right was to produce a wide range of cast iron cookware. The company made sure to offer various types of cookware during their active years in manufacturing.
4. Selection of logos and markings – With a company that garnered such prestige and recognition within the manufacturing industry, branding and logos are important. This is another reason why many people collect Wagner cookware. Their vintage products carry sixteen different logos and trademarks or markings that you can all collect.
From the year 1890s-1915, their products carry a straight Wagner logo. During 1891-1910, it was changed to the Wagner arc logo. In 1895-1915, the logo became the Double Arc Wagner Sidney O.
Meanwhile, during 1897-1903, the company sported a Sidney Arc logo. In 1910-1915, it was changed to a centered and straight Wagner Sidney O logo. During the 1915-the 1920s, the Wagner Sidney O. was slightly arced while the Sidney lettering remained straight.
In the 1920s, the company created the first Wagner Ware Sidney O. with arc Wagner and straight Ware and Sidney logo. During 1920-1924, regular skillets have the stylized Wagner Ware Sidney O logo with a heat ring and single-digit size number.
Meanwhile, in 1924-1935, skillets with heat rings displayed a four-digit pattern number then it was changed to a centered stylized Wagner Sidney O logo.
Factors to Consider When Buying a Vintage Wagner Cookware
Like many other collectibles, Wagner cookware does not come cheap. Additionally, you need to be cautious to avoid getting a counterfeit product. To help you with this, here are a few pointers to look into when buying a Wagner cookware collectible.
1. There is no shortage of Wagner cookware – Although the company has seized production of its products, there is still plenty of Wagner cookware out there. Moreover, these products are surprisingly in very good condition even after many years.
2. Consider the size of the cookware that would best suit you – This is one of the important aspects to consider when buying an antique cast iron skillet. When it comes to size, the most common of which is the 8-inch cast-iron skillet.
3. Do a thorough inspection of Wagner products and be on the lookout for nickel-plated ones – During their early years, Wagner adopted nickel plating which is why there could be products out there that are nickel-plated.
Nickel plating results in patchy areas once they wear off. It is best to inspect the cookware carefully before buying.
4. Going for a smooth bottom or one with a heat ring – This is another aspect to look into. Older versions of the Wagner cast iron skillet comes with a heat ring. Meanwhile, recent versions of this cookware have a smooth and flat base instead.
Depending on your personal preference, you can either go with a skillet with a heat ring or the one with a flat bottom.