Any information on these pages – while not copyrightable – is the culmination of hours/weeks/months of research. Please do not duplicate without permission. Although the majority of this information is proven correct, do not take it as gospel. There are a couple of anomalies yet to solve and it’s getting clearer.
Can James smart cast iron be dated? I believe it can be… There is more research to be done, and questions to be answered and it will take time. It rather seems like the Diamond G logo started off front and center, then circa 1940 became smaller then seemed to disappeared altogether – then be made by Findlay. The following article will explain. Look at each logo carefully before attempting to place a date on your Smart piece.
First of all, I’ve added a bunch of images to the gallery with dates stamped on them. Feel free to browse and see if you can match anything up – James Smart HW gallery
James Smart Manufacturing bought part of Gardner Tool at auction (not Gardiner) in 1899 so the “Diamond G” cannot be associated with the Gardner purchase. I have an 1885 digital format catalog from James Smart that does not contain the logo – then a newer one from 1891 that does carry the diamond G. Another catalog surfaced for 1899 clearly showing the “Diamond G” in use. In 1886, the Gill brothers assumed majority control of James Smart Manufacturing and squeeze “James Smart” the man out of the company. If you haven’t noticed – anything labelled “James Smart Manufacturing Co Ltd” will have a Diamond G. Any piece labelled the “James Smart Manufacturing Co” without the “LTD” is 1885 and prior and was made while James Smart the man was running the company.
Here is a news article from 1899 showing the Gardner purchase. James Smart purchase of Gardner Tool Works
The G on the left is the original “Diamond G” logo after the Gill Brothers assumed control of the company. The logo on the right was taken from the handle of skillet around the Chown and Cunningham acquisition in 1893. This brings up further questions on Chown and Cunningham, but you can read their page.
In 1912, James Smart Manufacturing Co LTD joined up with Canada Foundries and Forgings – and any piece with the original “diamond G” pictured above will date somewhere between 1886 and 1912.
In 1912, ads started appearing in different trade journals showing a slightly different G logos – and these were put out as different series. Skillets from these different series may have been sold as size 5 to 10 or size 7 to 10 and did contain different pieces from straight pots to dutch ovens etc. At the moment, it’s not so important to date by exact year but at some point, i’ll collect the series images and post.
As for dating these different logo’s – if it’s not the original “Diamond G” and not the rounded Diamond G as shown below – then your piece will date between 1912 and 1922. These are simply different variations of the original Diamond G logo and cannot be confused with the later round G. This includes skillets with heat rings – date the logo, not the skillet.
As this would suggest, looks similar. It’s not the rounded diamond G that appears after 1920 and still trying to find proof of years of manufacture.
And this from 1917 Hardware journal.
Remember, in 1912, James Smart Mfg became part of Canada Foundries and Forgings Ltd.
In 1917, we begin seeing ads in trade journals for James Smart Manufacturing under the Banner of Canada Foundries and Forgings Ltd.
In 1921 advertisements, we see a completely different rounded letter G appear as evidenced by:
There seems to be a few variations of the rounded Diamond G logo, but I suspect they are all related to Canada Foundries and Forgings Ltd, and in saying that – any James Smart cast iron cookware with a rounded G in the logo is probably post 1920. I have to do some more research and will update as I find out.
I was sent a picture of a “Smart’s Brockville” skillet that just didn’t fit the bill, passed it off as an anomaly for 1945ish, but the teardrop handle just didn’t fit the year. The handle on Smart’s Brockville with the small diamond G are hollow (not sure how to describe it). Found a advertisement reference to a “Smart’s Brockville” pan from 1922, it didn’t have the diamond G logo on it so there’s not much to go on. On the left is the skillet, teardrop handle and on the right, the advertisement itself. begs the question, was there a skillet in 1922 with “Smart’s” in the logo, or was it just a reference to self. So yes indeed, they produced “SMART’S” early on as well.
This 1920 ad shows the James smart high base waffle iron, note the rounded G in the logo – and the real thing.
Further evidence of rounded G logos after the merger is the Christmas tree stand with the patent date of 1931. It’s another different logo but rounded nonetheless.
Toronto public library carries 3 catalogs from 1938 showing “Smart’s” catalogs.
Catalog 52 from 1942 shows the small G logo and the funky font of Smart’s Brockville. Note that the G is still rounded and much less apparent. And also note that Findlay was selling cast iron hollow ware that was ghost marked with these pans – in 1960, Findlay purchased the patterns and tools from the Smart’s plant in Brockville, Ontario. They continued, it seems, to make Smart’s products out of Carleton Place until Smart’s closed in 1965. If you have “Smart’s” ghosted Findlay pieces, then it’s safe to assume they can be dated between 1965 and 1974 when the plant was shut down by Belanger.
There are however a couple of anomalies that I’m pretty sure are explainable. I almost suspect they dropped the Diamond G logo from their products somewhere between 1942 and 1965 when the plant closed. Smart products carried the large diamond G logo, then it was changed smaller, then disappeared. There is no proof of this, just speculation.
This pan is a good example, the diamond G is absent on the bottom. Does this mean it was made previously to the Gill brothers takeover in and around 1886? The font doesn’t suggest it would. Also the absence of a gate mark would suggest it doesn’t. James Smart seemed to be proud of the “Diamond G” logo, and put it on near everything.
The Smart Endurance pan is another. The Griswold 666 was made circa 1940 (I believe), and it is currently believed that the Smart endurance was probably a copy made sometime after that. Unfortunately, James Smart manufacturing indeed trademarked the “ENDURANCE” in 1919 so the court is still out on when this skillet was made – or if it is indeed an actual copy of Griswold.
So there you have it, circa dating James Smart cookware and many other tools and such. The evidence is there, do you agree with it?
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