I have an old Wagner Ware cast iron skillet (marked as model 1056T; measures about 7 inches inside bottom). This was given to me by my grandmother.

Where the handle meets the pan, you can see a marked difference in material. It looks like the pan used to have some sort of coating that has now come off.

I have another one (bought at a thrift shop) that has no markings except "No. 10 12 7/16" on the bottom. It also looks like it had a black coating and a more silver color is showing through on the round ridge on the bottom outside and on the rim edge of the pan.

I keep these seasoned, but neither behaves as well as the Lodge pan I bought new a few years ago.

So I'm wondering if they originally would have had some sort of coating. I thought not, but they just look so odd.

Front of Pan

Back of Pan, under handle

2 Answers 2


It depends. Traditionally cast-iron did not come pre-seasoned.

Lodge, as you know, specializes in pre-seasoned and enameled cast-iron pans. Lodge pans work great, but there isn't anything exceedingly special about their seasoning; it's simply vegetable oil (soy) baked onto the pan. You should be able to achieve a similar seasoning quality at home using the methods described here:

What's the best way to season a cast iron skillet?

Wagner skillets do not come pre-seasoned from the manufacturer. However, they did typically come with some coating in place to prevent rusting. This coating, while safe, is not intended to be a "seasoning". It wears off over time, and it's role is subsequently filled by proper seasoning.


Based on your photos, that looks to be the coating I described above.


Some Wagner pans were coated with nickel and later with chrome.

In the early days, the Wagners installed nickel baths in their foundry to make cash registers and calculators they had patented. Before many of these were produced, they sold these patents to the Osgood Cash Register Company, a front for that National Cash Register Company (NCR).

In 1892, they still had the nickel baths, so they put them to use by This can be found on pg 7 of David Smith & Chuck Wafford's "The Book of Wagner & Griswald" (cast Iron collectors know this as `the Red book'). There are color pictures of a brass Wagner Calculator on pg 114.

I'm sure the pans looked pretty when new, but the coating wears off (especially where the pans are handled). There was a later line of Chrome plated pans called Silverlite.

  • This is a really interesting answer, can you add a source to make it even better?
    – Allison C
    Mar 11, 2020 at 18:36
  • 1
    Done! Thanks for the suggestion. I was going to do it early, but my books were in the other room. Mar 17, 2020 at 0:49

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