Understanding corn stick pans
This is a very quick and dirty tutorial on the identification of unmarked corn stick pans and while the key to ID is easy enough to understand – it’s a rule of thumb, not a hard and fast rule. That’s because while the majority of corn stick pans were made by Griswold, Wagner, Lodge, BSR (Birmingham Stove and Range) and Martin Stove and Range, there are reproductions (especially of the more valuable Griswolds and Wagners’), and copies made by other foundries that aren’t as easily identifiable, or identifiable at all.
That is a subject for another day. For now let’s concentrate on the big five manufacturers – and the easiest way to identify them when they are unmarked. And that is to take the time to look at the handles. (Note I use marked pans in many of the photos to illustrate the article)
Here are some pictures to help you ID the corn stick pans. Notice that each have different handles with different shapes.
The handle is a vaguely D shaped one, which is typical of Griswold corn stick pans. The pan here you see is a marked Griswold. The following traits help identify it as well: 1) there are 4, one inch long feet located on the outermost sticks, 2) there is a single handle hole for hanging, and 3) the sticks are all aligned in the same direction.
The other pan that has the sticks aligned in the same direction, are the Lodge pans. Here are three variations of the lodge pan, the five stick, the seven stick and the nine stick (an almost identical version of the seven stick is still in the Lodge catalog today although the finish is significantly rougher). Note several differences, first the shape of the handle – a slightly rounded elongated handle that runs the width of the corn stick pan. These handles are typically marked with numbers and or letter (Often 0 2, or 2, plus a mold letter). Next, notice that each handle has a hole so the pan can be hung. Lastly note the the lack of “feet” on the bottom of the pan, instead there are two raised circles ~7/16” wide on the smaller end of the corn cob. These circles act as feet to balance the pan, as the Lodge pan rests directly on the surface it lays on, and the smaller edge of the pan is higher than the lower end.
BSR corn stick pans are often marked with numbers that read something like “27B” or “27S”. The handles are loop handles with an elongated hole on each side and a vaguely “M” like shape. Note that the BSR (as well as the Wagner and Martin) has no foot, or circle to balance it. It’s well balanced without it. Part of the reason it’s balanced is that the corn sticks alternate in direction.
Next is the Martin, which is very similar to the BSR in all respects, except for the handles which are rectangular (and about 2” long), and each of which have a hole for hanging.
The next pan we will look at is Wagner. There a three different Wagner corn stick plans pictured here – a marked pan, one marked as a Junior pan (but which is the same size) and an aluminum one. The handles are rounded which is typical of Wagner pans, and each handle has a hole for hanging. Please note that there may be footed Wagners’ – with feet that look much like the Griswold (but I’ve yet to see one that wasn’t a reproduction).
Next let’s look at the aluminum one a very interesting one. This one is a fake (well sort of). Superficially it looks like a Wagner – but it almost certainly isn’t. While it appears to have been made from a Wagner mold there are several subtle differences. The obvious one is the fact that it’s cast aluminum – not iron. The second is that only one of the handles has a hanging hole -which is atypical of Wagner, the last is the size. It’s smaller than the other two Junior sized pans and bigger than the teas size Wagner pans (which are the smallest Wagner corn stick pans at 7”1/8 in length). That’s pretty much a giveaway that it’s a recast. And while this one is a very nice recast, many recasts and copies aren’t, and that can be a giveaway that the piece you are looking at is a fake
The very last corn stick pan isn’t metal at all but a baking dish made of glass. Several companies including Wagner made dishes like this. The one pictured below however is a Miracle Maize dish believed to be from the 30s (It differs from the Wagner in terms of shape design). This was the next evolutionary step of the corn stick design which while it started in iron, turned later to oven safe baking glass similar to Pyrex, and of course aluminum gem pans.