Wagner Cast Iron: The Fore Frontier of Cast Iron

Wagner Cast Iron History

Although the Wagner Manufacturing Company started officially in 1891, before the production of Wagner Cast Iron, the Wagner Brothers, Bernard and Milton, who were the founders started making casting of light hardware for stores far back in 1881, they also manufactured tin holloware for Government contracts. Holloware consist of coffee pots, teapots, water jug, platters and other metal items that goes with dishware on the table. The Wagner brothers were credited to be the first to cast iron for cookwares in Sidney Ohio. When the Wagner Manufacturing Company started officially in 1891, two other brothers were added officially to the business, their names were William and Louis. This initiated the start of the WagnerWare cast iron cookwares, this was very successful as they soon surpassed Griswold which was a powerhouse in cast iron cookware also. Soon they became popular nationwide and internationally. The Randall Corporation bought Wagner Manufacturing in 1952, then Wagner and Griswold became united when Randall Corporation also purchased Griswold from McGraw Edison Inc. In December 1957, everything started going downhill from there as the high quality cookware both companies were known for started declining. Experts agreed to the fact that the product quality has greatly reduced. In 1959 Randell Corporation sold off Wagner and Griswold to Textron. Although production continued, product quality could not be compared to the quality of the cookwares before 1960.

General Housewares Corporation bought Textron Inc. In 1969, This included the Wagner Cast Iron cookware line. Quality of these cookware reduced as the year went by, one could not compare the cookware made after 1990 to a 1920 Wagner Cast Iron Skillet.

In 1996, a group of investors in which a former employee of Wagner Manufacturing Company was a part of purchased the Griswold and Wagner Cast Iron cookware line, they produced for about three years before they closed down in 1999. In 2000 the American Culinary Corporation purchased the rights and remaining facilities of the Wagner and Griswold cookware line. The President of this Corporation, named Peter Pike was the former employee of Wagner Manufacturing Company stated earlier.

Wagner Cast Iron

Advantages and Disadvantages of Wagner Cast Iron

Advantages

Even Heat Distribution

Wagner Cast Iron has the ability to distribute heat irrespective of the cooking surface used, this is usually very advantageous when cooking over an open fire. It also has the ability to retain heat for a long period of time, thus helping your food remain warm  for a long period of time even after source of heat has been removed.

Dietary Benefits

Wagner Cast Iron when used in cooking release part of it iron content into the food thus helping in meeting the daily iron need of the body.

Long Lasting

Wagner Cast Iron can last you a life time if properly maintained. The more you cook with it, the better and more seasoned it gets.

Less Expensive

Wagner Cast Iron are made out of melted iron, because they are pretty simple to make, they are quite cheaper than handcrafted cookwares and others.

Versatile

You can use the Wagner Cast Iron Cookware for almost any cooking task depending on the instant need.

Disadvantages

Heavy

A Wagner Cast Iron would be heavy to carry due to the density of the material used in making it.

Prone to Rust

Boiling water in a Wagner Cast Iron should seem simple, but because of the nature of the material used, boiling water with a Cast Iron will cause rusting.

More Maintenance

While other cookwares may be easy to take care of, A Wagner Cast Iron requires much more maintenance.

Require Constant Seasoning

A well seasoned Wagner Cast Iron Skillet won’t retain it seasoning for long, making it a huge responsibility to regularly season it. This also requires skill and experience.

How to Season a Wagner Cast Iron Cookware

Seasoning a Wagner Cast Iron Cookware makes it non stick, this is because layers of oil particles will cover the pores of the metal. Below are the basic processes involved in seasoning a Cast Iron Skillet.

  • Wash the Cast Iron with soap till it is completely clean
  • Rub the cookware with very little quantity of food grade oil (Check the best oil to season cast iron)
  • Rub off the oil with a dry kitchen cloth
  • Heat your oven to about 500 degree Fahrenheit
  • Place the Cast Iron in the oven upside down, let it heat for about 30 minutes
  • Turn off the oven and let the Cast Iron cool to room temperature inside the oven with the door still closed
  • Repeat the process to have an extremely well seasoned cookware

Wagner Cast Iron Product, Price and Customer Reviews

Products

Wagner Cast Iron specialized in various products which includes:

Pans, Dutch Ovens, Kettles, Melting Pots, Griddle, e.t.c

Pricing

As at 2014, Wagner Cast Iron are no longer in production, they are considered a highly collectible antique, so price varies with age and the condition of the item. Buying guides are available online on sites like eBay. Vintage Wagner item can vary from about $40 to $800. Although a lot of fake product which are of no value are also been sold, a buyers guide should be taken seriously to avoid purchase of the wrong product.

Customer Reviews

Below are some customer reviews on a certain Wagner 1255 Cast Iron 8-Inch Round Skillet on Amazon

~ By JJon February 15, 2014

This is the perfect size pan for the packaged cornbread mix that I use. In my l0 inch pan I always had to use 2 packages which is too much for two people. The instructions for seasoning come with it. I didn’t have any vegetable oil but I had a very good quality coconut oil so I used that to season it. It didn’t smoke up the kitchen as some people described. I’m going to let it cool completely then make myself some cornbread. Can hardly wait. Someone had asked me the size of this pan on the inside. The bottom of the cooking surface is 7 inches. It is 8 inches from rim to rim of this skillet. LATER: I couldn’t wait to make cornbread in it and it worked perfectly. So much easier and lighter to use than my l0 inch.

By Charles V. Coogan

I love cooking in iron, but the quality has deteriorated dramatically over the 60+ years of my cooking experience. This pan would be a great design, though small (as it is supposed to be), but the casting was too rough to be practical. Cooking an egg without breaking the yolk would simply be impossible on the rough surface. The “pre-seasoning” on all current brands of iron pans is garbage; this one is no exception. That could be fixed easily if the cooking surface was ground smooth, even if slightly. The pan is small enough that a hand orbital sander with the right grits of emory paper, and an afternoon’s time, made it useable after normal re-seasoning. An afternoon sounds like a lot of time to invest, but a good iron pan, well cared for, can last forever. Sad that current production is so poor. Even the “eye” in the handle was poorly formed and had to be re-ground.

Below is a customer review on a Wagner Cast Iron Pan Skillet

By Jimmy Barkley. December 2016

I never really do take cognizance of the Pans I use in frying until my friend introduced me to a 10 inch Fryer Skillet, it was quite heavy to say the least, but i got to overlook that when I started enjoying the many benefits that comes with frying with it, once I got the seasoning right, the constant problem I do encounter with fried food sticking at the base of my other pan became a thing of the past. I’ve been using my fryer for about two years now and it still looked as new as I got it.Although I’m having difficulties in getting another Wagner product, I would go a long length to get a cookware of this same brand.

If you don’t like vintage cast iron, you can try some modern cast iron cookware. We have compared Staub VS Le Creuset. Hope it’s helpful.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *