Did You Know?

Vintage Cookware Enthusiast & Avid Collector turns Hobby into Business

Tyler Higgins started collecting cast iron when he moved into a new apartment and the previous tenant had left a cast iron skillet behind. He started cooking with it and fell in love with it. He added another piece and then another and soon he had a large collection. He became aware of the different brands and quality of them and has been dealing in cast iron for more than a decade. Higgins now has a large collection of cast iron pans for sale at Jesse James Antique Mall…everything from Griswold and Wagner, to the newer brands.

tyler higgins

Griswold Manufacturing was an American manufacturer that started in 1865 and produced cast iron works and started with light hardware, such as butt hinges, stove dampers, and other stove accessories. The most collectable items made at this time were waffle irons, mailbox flaps, and spittoons bearing the company logo: “Seldon-Griswold.” They expanded into the best cast iron cookware in the 1870s. The facility was built in Erie, Pennsylvania, and the earliest pots have Erie stamped on the bottom. In 1946 they sold the company to an investment group which in turn sold it to the Wagner Manufacturing company. In 1957, the original Erie plant was finally closed.

The quality of the cast iron produced by Wagner had diminished greatly with the introduction of new modern materials such as aluminum the company faced a lot of competition from manufacturers using these products. Wagner was forced to change the cast iron ingredients to compete with this introduction of other products. These changes affected not only the quality but the desire for the consumer to continue using the cast iron.

There are collectors of all cast iron from all manufactures, but the most desired is the original Griswold. You can find lots of books and articles on the internet of how to care for and use them. Come out and see Tyler’s collection and hold them in your hand to see what works best for you and start your own collection!

The Jesse James Antique Mall boasts one of the area’s largest collections of antiques under one roof with over 130 dealers. The Mall is conveniently located at the corner of Business Hwy. 71 and I-29 Hwy. at Exit 53. Open 7 days a week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.