Is Griswold and Wagner the Same Company? A Historical Exploration

Griswold and Wagner, two iconic names in the world of cast-iron cookware, share a fascinating history intertwined by acquisition, innovation, and enduring legacy. While they operated as separate entities for much of their existence, their paths eventually converged, leaving many to wonder if they are one and the same.

Early Beginnings and Independent Paths

Griswold Manufacturing Company, founded in 1865 by Matthew Griswold, established itself as a leading producer of high-quality cast-iron cookware. Their products, known for their durability and performance, gained widespread recognition and became cherished heirlooms passed down through generations.

Wagner Manufacturing Company, founded in 1891 by George Wagner, also carved its niche in the cast-iron market. Their cookware, while similar in function to Griswold’s, often differed in design and branding. Both companies thrived through the early 20th century, each contributing to the popularity and evolution of cast-iron cookware.

Mergers and Acquisitions: A Shared Fate

The mid-20th century witnessed a shift in the landscape of the cast-iron industry. In 1957, Griswold Manufacturing was acquired by McGraw-Edison, a large conglomerate. Just a few months later, McGraw-Edison sold Griswold to Randall Corporation, which also owned Wagner Manufacturing.

This acquisition brought Griswold and Wagner under the same umbrella, marking a turning point in their individual histories. While both brands continued to produce cast-iron cookware, their operations became increasingly intertwined.

Dual Branding and Legacy

In the years that followed, Griswold and Wagner cookware began to appear with dual branding, featuring both logos on the same pieces. This reflected the merging of the two companies’ production and distribution networks.

However, the Griswold brand was eventually phased out in the late 1960s, with Wagner becoming the sole focus of the company. Despite this, Griswold’s legacy as a pioneer in cast-iron cookware continues to resonate with collectors and enthusiasts.

Similarities and Differences

Despite their shared history under Randall Corporation, Griswold and Wagner cookware still exhibit distinct characteristics. These differences can be seen in the design of their logos, the size and shape of their cookware, and the overall aesthetic of their products.

Collectors often distinguish between Griswold and Wagner pieces based on these subtle variations. Griswold cookware is generally known for its heavier weight, more ornate designs, and the iconic “Griswold cross” logo. Wagner cookware, on the other hand, tends to be lighter in weight, features simpler designs, and often displays the “Wagner Ware” logo.

While Griswold and Wagner eventually came under the same ownership, they each hold a unique place in the history of cast-iron cookware. Their individual legacies, marked by innovation, quality, and enduring popularity, continue to inspire generations of cooks and collectors alike.

About Wagner Manufacturing Company

The journey of Wagner Manufacturing Company started in the year 1891 with the hands of two brothers, Milton M. Wagner, and Bernard P. Wagner. Based in Sidney, Ohio, this company dealt almost exclusively in producing cast iron cookware.

Later on though, they began to include aluminum and nickel-plated goods as well. In 1897, the company acquired Sidney Hollow Ware, a different business, to further grow their operations.

William H. Another brother of the two founders, Wagner, joined to oversee the growing company. But six years later, they sold Hollow Ware again to Philip Smith, the original proprietor.

By 1913, the business was selling to customers all over the world. The first of its kind, Mangalide cast aluminum cookware, was introduced to the market in 1934.

However, during the great depression, the company started struggling financially. Around 1946, they started to consider selling it.

Wagner Manufacturing Company was ultimately sold to Randall Company in 1953.

About Griswold Manufacturing Company

The Griswold Manufacturing Company was first conceived in Erie, Pennsylvania. At first, Matthew Griswold and two of his cousins, Samuel and J, worked together on the project. C Seldon.

Initially, the company primarily dealt with hardware, but in 1870, as they expanded, they began to specialize in cast iron cookware.

Even at that time, it was not called Griswold Manufacturing Company. Rather they carried out their operations under the name Seldon-Griswold Manufacturing Company.

Matthew Griswold formally changed the name to Griswold Manufacturing Company in the latter half of the 1880s. This was made possible in 1884 when he acquired a share in the company from his cousins.

Following that, the Griswold company was taken over by Matthew’s son, who became the company’s owner in 1905. Nine years later, in 1914, Marvin Griswold took over the company.

He was the one in charge of expanding the local brand’s global reach by selling goods all over the world.

But about 1940, their products’ quality began to sharply deteriorate. Because they could no longer produce the same caliber of work, the Griswold family chose to sell the business. They eventually succeeded in selling it to Wagner Manufacturing Company in 1946.

Over the course of its existence, the company created a great deal of cookware and gained widespread recognition. In 1957, the Erie Factory, the starting point, finally closed.

Collecting 101: Cast Iron Cookware! Griswold Wagner History Popularity & Value! Episode 3


Who owns Wagner cast iron?

In 2000, both the Griswold and Wagner brands were acquired by the American Culinary Corporation of Willoughby, Ohio. The company continues to promote and produce Wagner products, under the Wagner and Griswold brands; however, new Wagner cast iron has not been produced since the Sidney foundry was closed in 1999.

Who bought Wagner?

ChVK «Vagner») is a Russian state-funded private military company (PMC) controlled until 2023 by Yevgeny Prigozhin, a former close ally of Russia’s president Vladimir Putin. The Wagner Group has used infrastructure of the Russian Armed Forces.

When did Wagner go out of business?

Both companies were resold to Textron in 1959. Finally, in 1969, General Housewares Corporation bought both Wagner and Griswold and officially stopped production in 1994. In 2005, the American Culinary Corporation bought both Wagner and Griswold. Wagner cast iron cookware was one of the finest in its days.

Is Wagner cast iron valuable?

The long lifespan of cast iron along with the growing demand for second-hand instead of new makes vintage cast iron a common find in the antique market. The value of antique cast iron skillets can start at similar to new prices, but a super rare Wagner or Griswold can fetch up to $1,500 apiece.

Are Wagner & Griswold a good brand?

If you are a fan of vintage cookware, the name of Wagner and Griswold should not be new to you. When it comes to cast iron cooking utensils, these two brands used to be the king. Sadly, their day is long behind us. But still, there are a lot of collectors out there who are constantly on the lookout for these appliances.

Is Griswold cast iron better than Wagner?

When it comes to quality, performance, or durability, the quality of both Wagner and Griswold cast iron are quite similar. So, if you are someone who likes to collect and dabble with antique cookware, both of these brands can be a great choice. Putting Wagner Vs.

Who bought Griswold Manufacturing?

1957, Griswold Manufacturing was sold to the McGraw Edison Company in Illinois. The company quickly off-loaded Griswold to the Wagner Manufacturing Company. Textron Inc. of Rhode Island buys Wagner Manufacturing.

Are Wagner and Griswold cookware good?

Both Wagner and Griswold cookware were made with extreme care and precision. Because of this, they are built stronger and sturdier than most other cast iron utensils that you can find these days. If durability is important to you, this is as good as it gets.

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