How to Identify the Company of a Cast-Iron Dutch Oven
Cast-iron cookware retains its heat so well that some owners pass the piece down to younger family members. Whether your grandmother gave you a piece or you find a used piece at a thrift store or yard sale, you need to identify it correctly. Some dutch ovens are worth a significant amount of money, including those from Griswold and Wagner.
Turn the dutch oven over and look at the bottom. The piece should have some identifying mark on the bottom, such as the city where it was made, a logo or the name of the manufacturer. Popular manufacturers include Griswold, Wagner, Piqua, Columbus, Favorite and Dixie.
Compare the markings on your dutch oven to the ones listed in a cast-iron cookware identification guide. Look at the placement of the logos and markings, as found on the original pieces. Reproductions sometimes have an odd placement, such as the logo being off-center, instead of in the middle.
Look through the cast iron guide book, if your dutch oven lacks any company name. The books also list other identifying marks about the oven. For example, a company may have used only the name of its city or manufacturing plant in the early years, rather than the company name.
Check the cast-iron dutch oven for any numbers, symbols or letters on the bottom. These markings were used to identify the size of the piece and the pattern of the piece. Some companies also used these markings in lieu of a company name and you'll find those markings listed in the guide.
Measure the dutch oven with your measuring tape, getting both the width of the oven and the depth or height and compare that to the measurements listed in the guide. Reproductions are slightly off because they're made using molds of the original molds.
- Just because a dutch oven is rusty or shows signs of age, it doesn't mean the cast iron is old. Sellers and reproducers leave the pieces sitting in saltwater or outside, to make modern pieces look older.
Jennifer Eblin has been a full-time freelance writer since 2006. Her work has appeared on several websites, including Tool Box Tales and Zonder. Eblin received a master's degree in historic preservation from the Savannah College of Art and Design.
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