Originally Posted by The Cyclops
Can you tell any difference between the one we have in common and the Griswold? I have been thinking about trying to procure one of those.
I'm glad you brought that up, but I don't know how much help I can be.
First: What we have in that picture are two size-5 Griswolds, neither with a heat ring, and then our classic ol' #5 with a heat ring.
Info on the small-logo and large-logo:
1865-1883 Selden & Griswold
1865-1909 ERIE or "ERIE"
1874-1905 Spider and Web
1884-1912 GRISWOLD'S ERIE
1884-1909 Diamond (with ERIE inside the diamond)
1897-1920 Griswold Manufacturing Company (italic lettering, large cross logo)
1919-1940 Griswold Manufacturing Company (block lettering, large cross logo)
1937-1957 Griswold (block lettering, small cross logo)
Weighed with a scale that I zeroed by eye, but not sure of the true reading, we have:
Small Logo Griswold:
(on the left, there, you'll see my mason jar of Wright-bacon bacon grease that I use just like lard. Sure, it isn't pure white lard, but it's fine for me and my pans... with the possibility of not really ever being the best seasoning oil since it has inherent sugars and additives from Wright Bourbon BBQ flavored bacon)
Larger Logo, and thus older based on what I know now*
* for some reason I was always thinking that this larger logo was the newest Griswold I owned, but either I messed up understanding that list, above, of dates and logos, or they changed the list to read the way it does now.
Unnamed #5 with heat ring:
So now you'll have to be the judge on if the addition of that heat ring, and differences in handle castings, account for the weights. The unnamed number 5's handle seems 1/8 of an inch narrower than the oldest small-logo Griswold, but that oldest Griswold has a scalloped handle from end to end, so ... I'm thinking that the weights of all three handles are probably pretty close to each other - I'd suggest we ignore them and use the differences in weights as respective of the actual cooking-area of the pans themselves.
(on the top non-Griswold note the 'broken' heat ring ... it's broken in three places, and the dot on the underside of the flat surface that is lined up with the handle. I've can only find one other CI pan with the broken ring, a dot and no logo - this number 3 with three dots http://www.ebay.com/itm/Cast-Iron-Pa...item3a78aa1492
. Still no clue who made them.)
So by the feel in my hand, I'm saying/guessing/feeling-like the actual cooking-pan part of the Unnamed pan is overall thicker.
Unfortunately, I received my pans with varying degrees of cooking surfaces. The Small-logo was easily the best, most mirror-like. The Large-logo had circular scratches in it from the seller's mother who used to cook corn pone in it (amongst other thing I'd guess). The Unnamed 5's condition had everyone who saw it voting that it was beyond saving - deep rust and such. It was being thrown out after a friend passed away. We're not talking surface rust here... we're talking questions of if the thing was rusted through (upon initially seeing it... after clean-up and reconditioning its surface was just frickin' fine ... though perhaps I should use some oven cleaner and truly clean all three to see what their surfaces were really like some day?).
I don't think I have any way to convincingly photograph the somewhat-seasoned surfaces (mottled - just re-doing them again after messing them up) that would show the true surface quality of them, but I'd say that based on what I see and feel now, the Unnamed 5, save for what I'm guessing are very few pits from being rusted (far fewer than I'd have ever guessed it would be having pulled the pan out of the garbage pile), has a pretty damned flat surface. We're certainly way ahead of the game, here, with our old 5's than any modern Lodge pan would give us, but I'll also say that from all the studying I've done on cast iron pans since choosing to get one, the surface flatness doesn't matter at all when newer and older pans are expertly seasoned; both become as non-stick as the other. The only difference is the starting point and amount of time to develop an enjoyable-to-cook-with polymerized surface.
I would say that the small-logo Griswold seemed to show the extra-lengths they went to back then to really machine the surface flat compared to modern Lodge cookware.
So... what's my verdict based on the only information I have? It would be that our Unnamed #5's are better for cooking on the stove-top for a family since it takes the most energy to heat up, but has the most mass to keep that heat. Maybe if you were searing steaks at super-high temps it would be better, too, but I really don't think it would matter much. If you're cooking for just yourself, like one or two eggs and then you're done, if you owned one then the Griswold will heat up quicker. Though maybe there's some extra efficiency in catching the heat from a gas-stove's flame with that heat-ring?
And, beyond that the Griswolds have larger/better(?) pour-spouts on either side of them, that's all I can tell ya about them.
I think I'd suggest that if you have a pan that is happily non-stick for most things due to the seasoning it has, then to not go out and buy another number 5 unless you want one to cook something else in while the first is busy, or unless you want a second as a lid for biscuits or breads (instead of buying a cast iron Dutch Oven).
Re: flap-disiking a CI pan
I read or listened to someone tell a story of trying to do that, and what they finally found was that it would have taken far too long to make the surface of a Lodge anywhere equal to the surface of a machined-flat Griswold. If I ever did it, I would take the modern piece of CI cookware to a machine shop and get a quote from them, if they could do it, to get a it machined flat. Maybe you had different or satisfactory results, but it probably still isn't the same as an actual machined -after-casting surface.
I'd suggest not taking a flap-disk to classic CI cookware if they are in any way usable.