A few weeks ago I was doing some mindless scrolling on a Facebook cast iron page. I came across a post that was receiving several comments. Every second you could hear the clicks from the comments that were being made. I went back to the post to see what the uproar was about, and surprisingly it wasn't about soap used on cast iron. Instead, the topic had to do about a very rare piece of cast iron that I've never seen before.
A member of the group found a cast iron piece with a spider logo on the back. This particular piece had many members of the group bombarding the other member with several requests and some were speculating if this member actually had spider skillet at all.
I went back to do a little research of my own, and I was astonished at how much one goes for on auction sites. Depending on the market, the rare Erie spider skillet from Griswold goes for $3,000-$10,000. Possibly a little more than $10,000.
A little history about this unique piece from Griswold. From 1890-1891, Griswold created a skillet with a spider web in the center and the body of a spider with a skillet logo that says ERIE. The raised part was oftentimes damaged because of the constant contact with the stove. Most often, it's hard to find a piece with a perfectly mint center condition. Most collectors will raise red flags when they find one on E-bay or Facebook in perfect condition. It's not uncommon for people to copy and paste a picture and place the iconic skillet on Facebook Market Place or E-Bay. Admins will post to other sites and send a warning to other collectors about a piece that could possibly be fraudulent.
Spider skillets can be found possibly on number 7 and 8 skillets and teapots.
Griswold management used the spider trademark on their letterhead for several years, before retiring the logo in the early 1900s.
After researching many materials about the spider skillet design, Roy G. Meadows explained that the skillet logo originates from the Scottish king, Robert the Bruce (July 11, 1274 - June 7, 1329). The king spent years trying to free his country from the English enemy. During the lowest point of his life, he hid in a cave. While he stayed in the cave, he watched a spider trying to build his web at the entrance of the cave. Time and time again, the spider fell to the bottom of the rocky cave floor. The spider continued to build his web until his job was complete. The king was amazed at how hard the spider worked to complete his web. Without giving up, the spider completed it's work until all the corners were securely fastened to the cave's exteriors rock formation.
King Bruce was encouraged by the spider's success. He went back and gathered his men and fought a very brave battle. The king's soldier's won their battle, and King Bruce's kingdom was won.
As stated from Meadow's, a 1904 bulletin includes the spider trademark and quote, "As the little spider brought success to Robert Bruce, so cooking utensils bearing this trademark brings success to all who use them."
Roy G. Meadows Copyright Wagner and Griswold Society 2009