Implements (object genre)
From The New England Economical Housekeeper by Esther Allen Howland (1845): Spider pans, today often called simply frying pans, have undergone a few changes since they were originally created and named. According to Alice Ross in her article "There's History in Your Frying Pan," the spider originally was made of cast iron, had a rounded bottom and three long legs. The long legs and round "body" gave the pan its arachnid-like look resulting in it being named a "spider". These pans used in fireplaces. The legs on the pan were designed to allow the cook to place the pan directly above the coals. Later versions of the spider continued to change. The bottom of the pan was flattened and the legs were shortened. The sides of the pan remained slanted, as in this exampple. The invention and growing popularity of the cook stove influenced new changes to the design. The spider's legs were eliminated to accommodate cooking on a stovetop. Even though the heavy frying pans available today are created without legs, these skillets are still sometimes called spiders and are used in making recipes such as "spider cornbread". Alice Ross believes that, like today, the use of the term "spider" for this type of pan was not universal. She instead suggests that it may have been regional. Many early cookbooks refer to frying pans rather than spiders. The use of the term "spider" is scattered and not confined to one time period. Ross has noted it in 19th century Boston and New England cookbooks as well as in a late 1800's Texas cookbook.
Kitchen utensilsCookingUnited StatesHistory
No linguistic content
Michigan State University. Museum
The American economical housekeeper, and family receipt book, available at: https://n2t.net/ark:/85335/m59w93