Almost every garage sale has it. Our mother’s mother used it. And you rarely have to replace it unless Aunt Betty took yours home after the reunion picnic. Since the introduction of Pyrex in 1915, the glassware has baked, served, transported and stored its way into an estimated 80-percent of U.S. homes.
The Pyrex legacy began with a gift. A researcher at Corning Glass, Dr. Jesse T. Littleton, gave his wife a custom-cut casserole. The casserole was made from Nonex, a low-expansion glass intended to reduce breakage. Though a sturdy glass, Nonex contained lead, which made it unsuitable for cooking. Corning revised the formula to make a product from a lead-free tempered soda lime glass composite. The circular 9-inch pie plate was the first Pyrex piece to hit the market.
The clear, heat-resistant glass ovenware was an instant success, simplifying mealtime preparation and cleanup. The ability of Pyrex to withstand sudden changes in temperature put an end to the laborious process of using multiple pieces to bake, serve and store food. The American public embraced the product that promised to do more and do it better. Four years after introducing Pyrex, Corning sold over 4.5 million pieces.
Pyrex remains a staple in American kitchens, continually adapting to the consumer’s evolving needs. In 1930, Corning manufactured its Range Top Ware from Pyrex. Four years later, the company introduced a line of clear Flameware¬¬–stovetop pressed-glass cookware that included saucepans and skillets. By 1938, double boilers, teakettles and coffee percolators were added to the line, which Corning produced until 1979.
In 1948, the company began redesigning its Pyrex Ovenware and Flameware to create pieces in new sizes and colors. This effort launched the Pyroceram line¬–a white, ceramic-like material that could withstand even greater changes in temperature. The line also featured a decoration that became the product’s trademark: a small, blue cornflower.
From 1965 to 1970, Corning released a number of Pyrex pieces enhancing the product’s form and function. The up-scale Terra line looked dignified on dinning tables, and the Store ‘N’ See ware resolved the “what’s-in-there?” mystery of previously opaque containers. The company also designed the first smooth glass surface electric range made from Pyroceram and the wildly popular break-resistant dinnerware, Corelle Livingware.
As far as collecting goes, vintage Pyrex stays in fashion because it’s durable and affordable. Regardless of its age, a piece should withstand regular kitchen wear and tear as long as it is not chipped, cracked or scratched. Collectors favor pink and primary colors, but there aren’t any hard and fast rules to determine the worth of Pyrex. Collectors do tend to prize complete sets (original package is an added bonus), but a majority of individual pieces can be purchased for under $20.
Caring for Pyrex:
Pyrex is a durable glass suitable for use in the oven, microwave, freezer and dishwasher. But there are a few steps to follow to ensure the lifespan of your piece:
My Recipe Box | Log in to view
Inspired by her early days of selling lunches as The Bag Lady, Paula Deen will host a Box Lunch to End Hunger, presented by The Bag Lady Foundation, Springer Mountain Farms, and Hoffman Media. This grab-and-go lunch event will be held at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens on Tuesday, September 16 from 11:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. For a $15 donation at the door (no advanced tickets), guests will receive a box lunch prepared by Edgar’s Bakery featuring Springer Mountain Farms chicken and Golden Flake potato chips, and have the opportunity to meet Paula Deen. Grab these delicious boxed lunches and take them back to your office or share with a friend or neighbor. One hundred percent of proceeds will be donated to the Community Food Bank of Central Alabama, which serves 12 counties in our area. For the price of one lunch, 135 meals or 65 pounds of food can be distributed to the food insecure in our area.
“Since September is Hunger Action Month, the timing of this event couldn’t be more perfect,” says Brian Hart Hoffman, Chief Creative Officer at Hoffman Media. “Paula Deen’s dedication to helping those in need and positively impacting people’s lives every day makes this event ideal for getting our community involved in the fight to end hunger in Central Alabama.”
Each guest will be entered into a raffle to win front-row seats to the Paula Deen Live! show at the Alabama Theatre the same evening.
Sponsors for Paula Deen’s Box Lunch to End Hunger include Golden Flake and Edgar’s Bakery.
The Birmingham Botanical Gardens are located at 2612 Lane Park Road Birmingham, AL 35223.
Come see Paula’s live show at the Times Union Center for Performing Arts in Jacksonville, FL and get a heaping helping of Paula’s recipes, and some good old-fashioned fun and laughter!
Tickets available from Ticketmaster here!
Sponsored by Springer Mountain Farms.
Join Paula at DuBois Furniture in Waco, TX for a book signing and meet and greet from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm.