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Cast Iron Skillet ID

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I have an old (I think) cast iron skillet that my mother gave me a few years ago and it has just been sitting around. Now that I'm into cooking my food instead of going out for it, I dug it out and would like to use it. It's 8 or so inches and it has a number 5 stamped on the bottom of it. It doesnt say Lodge or Erie or Griswold just a number 5. Any idea who could have manufactured this? I'm looking forward to getting it cleaned up and re-seasoned. Any help would be appreciated.
post #2 of 17
Hey, I am not sure who made it but Alton Brown from "Good Eats" on the food network did a show where he taught about cast iron pans and how to season them. it might be a good start.
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Robert Forti A.K.A. GourmetAmor
Gourmet and Compay

"Good Food And Good Wine never tastes as good without good Friends And Family" Visit my myspace page. www.myspace.com/gourmetandcoDont forget to add me as a friend.
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post #3 of 17
Cast ironware, through the years, has been produced by numerous makers. Back in the day, in fact, every blacksmith produced cookware as part of his general workload.

Commercial (that is to say, factory-made) was produced by numerous foundries, most of whom did not put on a makers mark. The "5" on yours could have been a maker's code, but doesn't refer to much else. One of my 8" skillets, for instance, says "made in U.S.A" and has an "02" code. No other markings.

So, first off, I wouldn't worry about who made it. It obviously did the job for your Mom, so is worth keeping and using.

Question: Does it really have to be reseasoned? Providing there is nothing burned-on or crusted on, why would you want to remove the cure your Mom spent years building?

All I would do, initially, is run straight hot water and use a scrub brush. That will remove any dust etc. that's built up through the years, and any loose or scaly debris. Then examine the piece. If the black finish is smooth, and there's no obvious rust, then dry the skillet, wipe on a thin coating of shortning, and you're ready to use it.

After each use, clean it the same way. That is, hot water only (never, ever, use soap on cast iron!!!), a brush if needed, dry it, and reapply a thin layer of shortening.

If the piece actually needs recuring, that's something else. Let us know, and I'll direct you to some sites that explain how to do that in detail.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
KYHeirloomer,

There are rust spots on the skillet and there are grayish metal spots throughout (not all black patina color). Thank you for your help!
post #5 of 17
The #5 is probably just the mold # is was cast from. They differ
at times depending where and when it was made. If it is truly a
well seasoned pan then you shouldn't have to worry to much about
using soap. I use soap on my old ones when I cook fish. I would
suggest putting it back on the stove after washing it. It will open the
pores and dry it out, reducing the rust. If you use the pan only once in
a while, then don't rub down with grease or oil. It will get sticky and
rancid. If you use on a weekly basis, pull it off the heat when its dry and
rub inside of pan with a little veg oil and salt. To clean an old pan, just
superheat it(real hot) and rub down with oil and a lot of salt. If its crusty
looking and rough around the sides of the pan, just leave it, once you start
to try and get that it will likely mess up the seasoned part of the pan. I
have pans from a year old to 70 or 80 years old. Some are better than
Teflon or non stick. Cast iron is king for me. I don't however use it for
soups, stews and sauces. My wife thinks it imparts an irony taste.
My biggest pan is about 3 ft wide, can you say fried chicken. My smallest
pan it 5 or 6 inches, great for fried eggs. Good Luck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
post #6 of 17
MissouriCook, go to MotherEarthNews.com and click on the archives button. Then search for an article called "The Care & Feeding of Cast Iron."

That will walk you through the steps needed to strip your skillet down to bare metal (which, incidentally, is what those gray spots are) and recure it properly.

It's one of the best articles on the subject, if I say so myself. Of course, I wrote it, so maybe there's just a wee bit of bias involved. :)
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #7 of 17
In that case, run it through the self-cleaning cycle of your oven and, then, scrub the heck out of it with soap and steel wool. [NOTE: As KYHeirloomer said, never again use soap!] Rinse thoroughly in very hot water. Towel dry.

Place in a 250 deg oven for 20 or so minutes to dry thoroughly.

Rub the thinnest possible layer of Crisco onto every surface, inside and out. Place upside down in your oven and bake at 425 or so for 1 to 1/2 hours. Turn off oven and allow to cool slowly.

Repeat the above paragraph's procedure two more times.

You will have a nicely seasoned hard, black surface that will be virtually non-stick.

To keep it that way after use, wash in hot water (NO SOAP) and use a sponge, brush or plastic "scrubbie" (NO METAL SCOURING PADS) to release anything stuck on. (If there's something horribly stuck on, put in an inch or two of water, cover and boil for a couple of minutes. That'll loosen it.)

Rinse in hot water and dry immediately.

Heat and rub in some oil or shortening and put on the burner until the oil begins to smoke. (That will sanitize and will help add to the seasoning.)

Properly cared for cast iron lasts many, many lifetimes and just keeps getting better, both in physical reality and in the metaphysical world. After all, your mother's good cooking karma will shine through to your grandkids some day!

-CastIronChef
post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks to all who replied!

I did most of what y'all suggested. I got all the rust spots off with some steel wool and then dried it on the stove. While it was still warm I lightly coated it with Crisco shortening. I then placed it (as well as a Wagner cast iron griddle/grill I found at a yard sale [$2.00]) in a 350 degree oven for 2 hours. The skillet came out nice and shiny! I used it tonight to make fried potatoes. They turned out great. I scrubbed out the skillet and recoated it. It's back in service!

The griddle/grill needs some work.
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
I'm very happy with my new old skillet! I fried eggs in it today and they didnt stick!
post #10 of 17

i would never put a cast iron piece thru the oven cycle. not one that was old and will never be made again, anyway. there are many stories of cast iron pieces breaking in the oven cycle. if you must try it, do it with a new piece that can be replaced, please? don't risk history!

post #11 of 17

Most, if not all, of those stories are apocraphal, Jackie. I don't know of one documented case.

 

The only way to crack or break a piece of cast iron cookware is through thermal shock. For instance, heating it read hot, then plunging into cold water.

 

Used to be a recommendation that to clean a piece you heat it up and then pour cold water into it, so the steam would lift any crud. That certainly did the job---the times that it didn't crack or warp the piece. And the recommendation usually came from folks who weren't truly familiar with cast iron, because you have to really try hard to get anything to burn onto badly enough to need that sort of treatment.  

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #12 of 17

okay, you go first! put an irreplaceable Erie in your stove!

lol.

i am taking the words of both panman and the black iron dude blog that this is not safe to do.

panmans comments are here:
 
black iron dude blog comments on this technique are here:
 
the black iron dude comments pertinent to this are way at the bottom, just above Sunday, Dec. 2008.
sorry, i tried to copy and paste this but could not.

 

post #13 of 17

I'm looking for information re:an antique cast iron cornbread mold that I just came across.  It has a capitol V on the body and handle...do you know who may have made it and how old it may be??

post #14 of 17

I know this is an old post but I wanted to know from "Yerma" if a response was ever received regarding the marking of an old cast iron piece??  I just scored a $10 thrift store skillet that I'm guessing to be at least 11in. (as my 10.5 Lodge Logic skillet can fit inside).  It's in decent shape with some definite rust/aging spots that I'll have to cure.  Other than that, it's got a heat-ring that is very close to the perimeter of the pan and a distinctive "8V" on the bottom, just above the beveled handle.  As far as the research I've seen so far, those few markings indicate that it's a very old piece; possibly made before 1905.  I'd really love to know who the manufacturer is so that I can restore it; use it lovingly but sparingly and pass it on to my baby girl as an heirloom one day!  Any help would be greatly appreciated!  I can be emailed directly to devonarmstrongdavis@hotmail.com.

 

Thanks!

post #15 of 17

try

http://castironcollector.com/

 

pretty good source from what I've heard

post #16 of 17

Missouri- I have the exact same one- passed down from my mom- and I'm in my 60's! It's an especially heavy one- more so than Griswolds and Wagners, and has a polished interior, making a well seasoned one even more stick free. Your skillet was manufactured by Birmingham Stove and Range. Click this link for more about this company:
http://www.modemac.com/cgi-bin/wiki.pl/Birmingham_Stove_and_Range

post #17 of 17

While it is nice to know where your vintage or antique cast iron cookware was made, it ready doesn't matter in the end unless you're going to sell it. My philosophy toward cast iron is this: If it is in good condition and seasonable, it's going to be put to work. Otherwise, I'll sell it or give the piece away. I don't want any iron in my collection that cannot be put to work. I don't collect museum pieces. This philosophy helps limit the size of my collection.

 

All of my Dutch ovens have been purchased in the last 20 years, primarily Lodge (with a smattering of Camp Chef). Skillets include recently manufactured Lodge and Wagner, along with several older Griswold's, Lodges and no-name iron. The prize of my collection are two massive Lodge skillets, a 17" and 20". They go with me to my camp job each summer.

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