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Norma McLemore
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Help with identifying turk's head pan?
Jan 6th, 2019 at 5:30pm
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I have two identical unmarked 6-slot turk's head pans. They are obviously old, but I don't have any idea how old. Pre-1960s anyway, given the lack of a "Made in ______" inscription. And the casting is quite nice.

The design is solid (no cut-outs) with a slightly slanted rim around it and flat-loop relaxed trapezoidal handles. ("Relaxed" because there is a slight dip to the outermost part of the handle.) But the aspect that is most striking to me is the knob feet on the four baking cups flanking the handles. I can see no size difference in the inner cups, and let's face it, there's not a lot of difference in the orientation of turk's head cups, so the knob feet do not have the same reason for existence as on the corncob-mold pans that alternated the direction of the cobs.

So actually, I'm interested in two things: the identification of the maker and the rationale behind putting knob feet on something that looks as though it would sit flat with no knob feet at all.

Thanks very much,
Norma
  
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Russell Ware
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Re: Help with identifying turk's head pan?
Reply #1 - Jan 7th, 2019 at 10:11am
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In order to give you any helpful information, please try to post some photos of your pans. Otherwise, we can only guess at what you have. Cast iron cookware is easy to describe, but in order to identify or comment, it must be seen.
  
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Norma McLemore
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Re: Help with identifying turk's head pan?
Reply #2 - Jan 8th, 2019 at 7:20pm
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I don't have a digital camera (or even a regular camera anymore). I will see friends late in the week, though, and I will try to persuade them to make photos.

However, answering the second part of my question should not require a photo: What was the rationale behind putting feet on the outermost cups of the pan? Was this, say, the pre-Waterman, pre-cutout custom to increase air flow under the pan for more even cooking? These pans would not have needed leveling in the way Griswold and Lodge corn-stick pans needed it, with the alternating presentation of the corncob. But as a matter of fact, the knob feet on these turk's heads look like a slightly taller version of the raised circles on the bottom of the Lodge corn-stick molds.

Any help with that?
  
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Norma McLemore
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Re: Help with identifying turk's head pan?
Reply #3 - Jan 8th, 2019 at 9:08pm
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Oh, and I just saw photographs of two turk's head pans, one 6-cup and the other a 12-cup, that had the same kind of feet but again only on the bottom of the outermost cups. The photos were posted on the Cast Iron Collector website forum. But those pans also bore clear signs of their age: one of them had a gate mark, and the other had a sprue mark. Mine has neither.

I'm really less interested in maker than I am in the likely era it was made. And why it was made with the feet. I have never had a wood cookstove, so maybe there's something about baking in wood cookstoves that I'm not getting?

Sorry to inundate you, but when it comes to old cast iron pieces that puzzle me, I'm as obsessive as a dog with a bone.
  
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Russell Ware
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Re: Help with identifying turk's head pan?
Reply #4 - Jan 8th, 2019 at 10:28pm
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If you have trouble taking and posting photos, you can always link to auctions of similar items as the one you need identified. As far as the feet, they were probably added for sitting the pan on something flat, like a shelf, counter, or stove top. It donít see them being of value in the oven; since, most had some kind of perforated rack or platform for the pan to sit. I am talking about small knob shaped feet here, not long, camp oven style feet used with live coals. But that, again, is why photos are important to give effective answers. Just to make a point with regard to Lodge corn ear shaped pans, they have all of the corn ears pointing in the same direction, unlike most other foundries. Lodge put only 2 knob shaped feet on the shallow end of the pan, so the pan would sit level when pouring batter into it. On early bottom gate marked items, feet appeared occasionally in an effort to compensate for the lack of level sitting due to the height of the bottom gate marks. Keep in mind that the lack of ďMade In USAĒ is not indicative of the age in an item. Lodge was still making unmarked muffin pans into the 1990's. The use of gate marks also extended well into the 20th century (1920's and even later in some cases, depending on the item). Iím not sure what you mean by pre-Waterman. Before the 1859 Waterman patent, most people were probably cooking with open fires outdoors or in fireplace kitchen buildings.
  
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Norma McLemore
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Re: Help with identifying turk's head pan?
Reply #5 - Jan 10th, 2019 at 3:36pm
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Russell, the pieces are clearly quite old; that is clear from the casting. I refinish mostly antique cast iron and some pre-1950 vintage, and sell it at an antiques shop in the historic district of a nearby city.

I think I may have answered my own question.

I have good friends (former back-to-the-land hippies who lived without electricity when they were young) who own a 1930 Majestic wood cookstove that they still use. I had asked them about the oven of their Majestic, and the woman got back to me via email.

Their Majestic came with only one rack, but it is adequate because the bottom of the oven is a solid sheet of metal. It was intended to be used as cooking/baking space so that an extra rack was unnecessary. But here's the clincher: They have some Majestic pans from the same era that they use. All of them are bread or muffin pans, and all have what she called "little wires" at the bottom that elevate the pans. So the idea apparently was that the cook/baker could have things baking on the bottom of the wood stove while other dishes were baking on the oven rack.
†This couple own a lot of very old cast iron pieces they inherited, but they aren't really into cast iron the way I am. I'm curious to see the "little wires" she is talking about, and I will see them the next time I visit. But I think it's worth our knowing that some of the old cookstoves had solid bottoms that were intended to be used for baking--with the proper bakeware, anyway.

This doesn't identify my turk's heads as Majestic, but as I said, I'm really more interested in determining the era of manufacture, and apparently the little feet were designed for use in some of the wood cookstoves available at the time.

Thanks for your help.
  
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