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Vintage Pyrex bakeware by Corning Glass Works

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Vintage Pyrex bakeware by Corning Glass Works
Corning Glass Works, the producer of Pyrex, has been producing glass and tableware since the mid-1800s. In 1915, a new glass ovenware product line called Pyrex was introduced. The clear glass bakeware was a great success, as food cooked faster at lower temperatures, and one could cook and serve in the same dish. In 1936, Corning took a step further and began producing Pyrex Flameware for cooking on top of the stove.

Over the years Pyrex has been available in three types: the original Clear Pyrex Ovenware, Pyrex Flameware (1936 to 1979), and the commonly-seen Pyrex Colors known as tempered opal glass (introduced in 1947). Pyrex Colors is not only the most common, but it is also the most widely recognizable of the three types. Most people who collect vintage Pyrex collect Pyrex Colors. Among the most popular pieces of colorware are the Cinderella mixing bowl sets, refrigerator sets, and casseroles.

The wide variety of colours and shapes available, many with screen-printed designs, makes Pyrex one of the most popular kitchen collectibles today. The first patterned design was Cornflower Blue (1958 through 1971). A Cornflower Blue casserole was, and still is, a common visitor to carry-in suppers, tailgate cookouts, weekend dinners and many other kinds of casual meals.

The milky white pieces in shapes like casseroles, bowls, and coffee pots are made in Corning Ware, a material made from heating glass to exceptionally high temperatures. The colors added to produce motifs and backgrounds are applied so that the patterns appear in color on white, or in reverse print white on color. The clear glass tops are made in Pyrex glass, which pre-dates Corning Ware by about 40 years.

Identify your Pyrex

Corning is generally very good about marking their pieces. It will be marked on the bottom of any bowls or pans, and there will be a small marking at the edge of clear glass lids. If you don't see any mark at all, it is probably not Pyrex.

Other brands may or may not be marked. Common brands include Fire King, Anchor Hocking, Glasbake, Hazel Atlas, Federal, and McKee. Glasbake and related are Sunbeam glassware.

Vintage Pyrex patterns

There is a huge amount of named Pyrex patterns, with more being discovered all the time as vintage advertisements surface at estate sales and similar locales.

Named patterns at the time of writing include:

pyrex autumn harvest
Autumn Harvest
 
pyrex brittany blue
Brittany Blue
 
pyrex butterfly gold
Butterfly Gold
 
pyrex butterprint
Butterprint
 
pyrex colonial mist
Colonial Mist
pyrex copper filigree
Copper Filigree
 
pyrex crazy daisy
Crazy Daisy
 
pyrex daisy
Daisy
 
pyrex desert dawn
Desert Dawn
 
pyrex designs
Designs
pyrex early american
Early American
 
pyrex federal eagle
Federal Eagle
 
pyrex forest fancies
Forest Fancies
 
pyrex foulard
Foulard
 
pyrex friendship
Friendship
pyrex gold acorn
Gold Acorn
 
pyrex golden honeysuckle
Golden Honeysuckle
 
pyrex gooseberry
Gooseberry
 
pyrex harvest home
Harvest Home
 
pyrex holly days
Holly Days
pyrex homestead
Homestead
 
pyrex horizon blue
Horizon Blue
 
pyrex new dots
New Dots
 
pyrex old orchard
Old Orchard
 
pyrex old town
Old Town
pyrex pink daisy
Pink Daisy
 
pyrex rainbow stripes
Rainbow Stripes
 
pyrex ribbon bouquet
Ribbon Bouquet
 
pyrex snowflake
Snowflake
 
pyrex spring blossom green
Spring Blossom Green
pyrex square flowers
Square Flowers
 
pyrex summer impressions
Summer Impressions
 
pyrex terra
Terra
 
pyrex town & country
Town & Country
 
pyrex trailing flowers
Trailing Flowers
pyrex verde
Verde
 
pyrex woodland
Woodland

Solid colour sets, particularly the refrigerator dishes and nested mixing bowl sets, are also quite popular with collectors.

pyrex black
Black
 
pyrex blue
Blue
 
pyrex burnt orange
Burnt orange
 
pyrex citrus
Citrus
 
pyrex clear
Clear
pyrex delphite bluebelle
Delphite Bluebelle
 
pyrex flamingo pink
Flamingo Pink
 
pyrex green
Lime Green
 
pyrex opal white
Opal White
 
pyrex pink
Pink
pyrex red
Red
 
pyrex steel blue
Steel Blue
 
pyrex turquoise
Turquoise
 
pyrex verde
Verde
 
pyrex yellow
Yellow

Restaurant ware

Restaurant ware is used in both actual restaurants and in institutions such as schools. It is typically more functional than decorative. Pyrex restaurant ware is marked as such.

Standard Weight

Light Weight

Using vintage Pyrex

Pyrex is designed to be oven-safe. Certain lines are also supposed to be safe for use on the stovetop. Pieces which are not safe for the stove are typically marked "not for stovetop".

Do not use vintage Pyrex in the microwave if there is any metal trim the design. (No metal in the microwave, ever.)

Care of vintage Pyrex

Pyrex is handwash-only. While vintage Corning Ware may be able to handle the heat, it will suffer if you put it in the dishwasher. The microscopic particles in any dishwashing product including liquids will abrade the surface and dull the finish over time. This will cause the colours to fade.

Do not use any hard cleaners on vintage Pyrex with coloured patterns. Soap and warm (not hot) water only. Use a wooden toothpick to remove anything stuck in crevices.

Exploding Pyrex

Yes, Pyrex does explode even if you are careful with it. I personally have exploded two pieces of Pyrex (nothing rare fortunately, nor was I injured). I am told it has to do with the temperature difference when dishes are removed from a hot oven and set onto a cold surface, but that wasn't the case for my incidents. Both times involved something taken from the refrigerator and set carefully on the counter (no heat involved).

While it is intended for cooking, I no longer use vintage Pyrex near any heat source just in case. If you don't mind the knobs on some of the lid tops, Pyrex is excellent for food storage. The pieces make also great planters and organizers!

Where to find vintage Pyrex

When buying and selling vintage collectibles, bear in mind these two factors:

As to where to go, try any of the following:


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