JULIE BOTNICK (this article was first published in October 2012)
Each week, we rummage through the dark corners of our kitchen drawers to bring you an enigmatic item. We ask you to guess what it is in our weekly From the From the Back of the Drawer puzzle. To enter this week’s puzzle, visit this page. To read more descriptions of past items, visit this page. And, don’t forget to donate your odd items to the Southern Food and Beverage Museum.
This week, we found A WAFFLE IRON!
This is the second “press” we’ve featured in From the Back of the Drawer. The first one was the 1940s era Toas-Tite Sandwich Grill. However, this antique waffle iron dates all the way back to the 1890s. This model pictured was patented July 25, 1893 by David Shields of Erie, Pennsylvania, assignor to Matthew Griswold, a member of the Connecticut House of Representatives before moving to Erie to enter the manufacturing field and, later, Congress. The Griswold Manufacturing Company even went on to win five awards for its cast iron cookware at the 1893 World’s Fair. His invention, again, did not represent the first waffle iron, but it was definitely an improvement on previous ones. He designed it to fit on a gas-fired range, and was cast in such a way that the “male” and “female” parts of the iron fit together without the use of bolts and screws, so it could be taken apart to clean, but would stay together while cooking.
Unfortunately, due to a century and a half of use and disuse, our staff could not safely try this one out. But it’s definitely an item worth trying to get your hands on!