You can tell the quality difference pretty much immediately.
modemac over at Cast Iron Chaos has some additional details also.) This is the start of the Wagner cast iron dynasty as we are familiar with it.
Two other brothers, William and Louis, were added to the mix in 1891 which triggered the beginning of Wagner Ware cast iron cookware.
The use of cast iron for cookware is centuries old and many of the vintage pieces can still be used today.
For example, cast iron Dutch ovens were used by the settlers of the United States as they traveled westward.
Without their wood burning stoves, the camp Dutch oven provided a way for the travelers to cook their meals over an open fire.
Wagner Hollow Ware Company (Pre Wagner Manufacturing Company)The official start of the Wagner Manufacturing Company was in 1891 and you can see the centennial commemoration of this in the 1991 version of the cast iron frying pan.
However, the Wagner brothers, Bernard and Milton, actually started making metal castings of light hardware for general stores back in 1881.
In addition, the brothers manufactured tin hollowware for government contracts.
Tin hollowware is describes general tableware like sugar bowls, tea or coffee pots, soup containers, hot food covers, water pitchers, platters, butter plates and other metal items that went with the dishware on a table. Bernard and Milton Wagner are credited as the first to cast iron for cookware in Sidney, Ohio.
Wagner Ware was born.(A short footnote about the Centennial Commemoration of the 1991 version of the skillet, The Wagner’s 1891 Original Cast Iron Skillet – though it stated “Original,” along with a date, this line of cookware was manufactured in 1991 through the late 1990s.
Wagner Manufacturing was able to produce world class cookware, rivaling and later surpassing the other powerhouse in the cast iron cookware arena, Griswold.
Wagner Ware Cookware was awarded in several nationwide as well as some international expositions, including but not limited to expositions in Chicago, Nashville, Paris, Buffalo, and St. In some circles, this is stated as “Wagner acquiring Griswold” but it is not that simple.
The real story is slightly more complicated and is quite common when small family operated business grow into large corporations.