Dating Findlay pieces is similar to herding cats, just when you think they are all corralled… Findlay is likely going to end up being one of the largest producers of cast iron in Canada.
At the moment, there is very little that can be written in stone – and most other is evidence, but not proven at the moment.
In 1960, Smart’s sold the patterns and tools to their hollow ware line to Findlay’s Ltd and Findlay jobbed for Smart’s until Smart’s closed in 1965. After that, Findlay actually owned the patterns and were free to use them. Hence the reason we see ghost marks from Smart’s. If you’re not sure what a ghost mark is, look at the following picture of a Smart’s skillet – and you’ll see remnants of Smart’s in the marked Findlay pieces. They generally have an upside down number. These marked Findlay pieces will date from 1965 to about 1972 – when Findlay was closed. Findlay reopened a couple of years later, but no evidence to show they made much hollow ware, but they did make dutch ovens.
Another ghost mark is GSW – General Steel Wares. GSW did job out their hollow ware starting some time in the 1940’s – evidence is showing that it was Findlay that jobbed, but it’s unproven at the moment. You will see fully marked Findlay skillets for example showing “Made in Canada”. To my knowledge, Findlay never put Made in Canada on any hollow ware they made. You may also see the slight ghost mark of the GSW shield as well.
Another one is LISSER, to date we’ve only seen skillets. But there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that a foundry for Lisser ever existed. The font style on these skillets bears a striking resemblance to Findlay’s Ltd – or Findlay Brothers, depending on when they were made. We’re really not sure when Lisser pieces were made.
As for name changes, here is the list and it has been verified.
1885: Company renamed to David Findlay & Sons.
1889: Two sons bought out their father David, and changed the company name to Findlay Bros.
1890: David Sr. died.
1901: Findlay Bros. built a new larger foundry at a new location on the Mississippi River.
1906: Company name changed to Findlay Bros. Co., Limited
1932: Company name changed to Findlay’s Limited
1965: late in 1965, Belanger buys Findlay’s Limited
1972: Closed due to financial difficulties – end of February 1972. News ad mentions spring of 1972 closure.
Reopened by 1974 as Findlay Foundry.