In 1967, three oval casseroles in solid shades of orange and yellow were sold individually as Town and Country companion items. Boxes were branded as Town and Country but these items lack the Town and Country hex pattern and were only sold in larger volume stores.
Items available included the divided dish (063) in light yellow, the 1 1/2 Qt. oval casserole (043) in yellow, and the 2 1/2 Qt. oval casserole (045) in orange.
Both the divided dish (063) and 2 1/2 Qt. oval casserole (045) are similar in color to many other opal Pyrex items in the same size. This makes it difficult to find a genuine Town and Country solid-color casserole unless you find one in the box.
However, the 1 1/2 Qt. oval casserole (043) in yellow is an exception. This was the only 043 manufactured in solid yellow throughout all years of opal Pyrex production. If you happen to find a yellow 043 casserole, rest assured it's a great find and a genuine Town and Country solid-colored casserole.
Corning’s distinctive solid-colored opal Pyrex mugs (1610) were produced from 1979-1985 in a wide variety of colors. The back stamp may be branded “Corning,” “Pyrex,” or "Corelle." Mugs were available in Corelle Dimension IV dinnerware sets in the following patterns:
Mug Shots Collection
Interestingly, the solid black mug, released as “Onyx” in Corelle sets in 1984, was available several years earlier to commercial customers. The dark brown mug, officially called “Java,” and the dark green mug were unique to the commercial line and are therefore much harder to find. Curiously, the back stamp for the Java and Dark Green mugs is branded “Corelle” rather than “Corning” or “Pyrex” when, in fact, these were the only two mugs that were not offered with Corelle sets.
Two butter dishes are particularly hard to find. Corning tested the Sandalwood pattern on a butter dish, but only a few prototypes were produced. The other elusive butter dish is plain opal. The opal butter dish is not listed in Pyrex catalogs and appears to have been offered exclusively through a promotion with Kraft Parkay margarine in 1980. An advertisement for the opal butter dish, marketed as “Winter Frost White,” appears in the April 1, 1980 edition of Woman’s Day magazine (pg. 131).
In mid-1983, Corning introduced the butter dish in amber glass to match its Fireside product line followed by the clear butter dish from mid-1986 through 1989.
Original Post: 9/23/2015
Pyrex Passion II: Vintage Opal Dinnerware, Beverage Items, and Storage Containers documents over 60 customized opal Pyrex dinnerware patterns released in the 1950s-early 1980s. Throughout the years, Corning created custom dinnerware designs for restaurants, cafeterias, government agencies, hotels, and a variety of other institutions. Recently a new customized pattern has emerged, but the institution that ordered the pattern is a mystery.
The pattern features an elaborate crest emblem that seems to depict the sun (or possibly a star) above an image of a lion or tiger. This rediscovered pattern appears in two variations. The first variation is printed in gold on a light green solid border background. The light green border is banded in 22-carat gold. In the second variation, the pattern is white printed atop a greenish-blue border with no gold band.
Most items do not contain back stamp information that would help to date the pattern. Plates include “Pyrex, Made in USA” along with the mold number, while the vegetable bowl contains the Corning Glassblower back stamp. The only clue to a possible production date is the gold band with solid border design that was used extensively on many color variations of consumer dinnerware from 1953-1963.
Although items in this rediscovered pattern are still emerging, the following items have been documented in each pattern.
Light Green Solid Border with Gold Bands
Tea Cup (does not include the insignia)
Saucer (does not include the insignia)
9 ¼-inch Dinner Plate
5 ½-inch Bread Plate
9-inch Vegetable Bowl
Greenish-Blue Solid Border
9 ¼-inch Dinner Plate
5 ½-inch Bread Plate
Sandalwood was produced for a short time in the early 1960s on a limited number of items. The pattern was available on the 4 Pc. Cinderella Bowl Set and 3 Pc. Bake, Serve, & Store Set. In the first edition of Pyrex Passion, the dates of production are listed as 1961-1962, the years in which the pattern is prominently featured in dealer catalogs.
While researching information in early Corning Glass Works employee newsletters, new information was discovered that reveals the Sandalwood 4 Pc. Cinderella Bowl Set was released in late 1960 in time for the holiday season. The release was announced in the December 1960 edition of the employee newsletter, Gaffer News, stating, “Two of the bowls are sandalwood with white ivy decoration; the other two are white with sandalwood ivy. Each set is packaged in a gift carton with integral handle. Available about Nov. 21.”
A Refrigerator Set and Butter Dish were also available in Sandalwood, but were likely offered as test items to a limited number of customers, explaining their relative scarcity.
The origins of opal Pyrex date from the early 1940s when Corning received contracts from the U.S. military to develop a replacement to china used in military mess halls. Corning scientists perfected a formula creating a white opal glass with extraordinary strength, durability, and thermal shock resistance.
A 1943 Corning advertisement in Time magazine states:
“Months ago the armed services asked Corning to develop a glass out of which messware could be made on a fast production basis. Naturally the product had to be tough and strong because the average K.P. or galley detail isn’t noted for gentleness in dishwashing.
Many early commercial dinnerware patterns were available for direct-order through contracts with the General Services Administration (GSA). A popular pattern for the Army was Emerald Band, referred to as Munsell Green on order forms. The U.S. Navy and Air Force preferred patterns in blue, such as Turquoise Bands and Bluegrass.
Often, military customers customized Corning’s standard commercial patterns by including their insignia on the crest of plates. Customized military patterns, such as those shown below, are a favorite for many collectors. PYREX Passion II: Vintage Opal Dinnerware, Beverage Items, and Storage Containers contains over 50 customized opal dinnerware patterns produced for restaurants, institutions, and the U.S. military.
Military Customized Dinnerware Patterns
As many collectors know, Corning produced two patterns named Verdé during the late 1960s - early 1970s. The first Verdé pattern, available in shades of avocado with opal lids containing an olive pattern, appears in dealer catalogs and advertisements. But the second version is completely absent from all marketing, advertising, and dealer catalogs raising many questions: Why was a second version of Verdé created? Why wasn't it marketed or advertised in annual Corning dealer catalogs? Was it only available at certain retailers? How was it distributed? We now know the answer!
Verdé Version 1: Verdé (Olives)
The first version of Verdé contained solid-colored bowls in progressive shades of green. When launched in 1967, only the divided dish (063) and oval casseroles (043 and 045) contained opal lids as shown in the 1970 Dealer Catalog below.
By 1972, the 470 Small Round Casserole Set (471, 472 and 473) and 480 Large Round Casserole Set (473, 474 and 475) also contained opal lids with the olive design. Boxes stated the pattern name as "Verdé... The New Avocado Colors." The product suffix code was "-16" as shown in the catalog.
Verdé Version 2: Verdé (Square Flowers)
The second version of Verdé, produced during the same time period, contained a square flower design on most items. Mixing Bowls (401, 402, 403 and 404) and Cinderella Bowls (441, 442, 443 and 444) alternated with solid avocado bowls and the square flowers design. Plain, undecorated boxes, stated the pattern name simply as "Verdé" with the product suffix code "SP-16" attached to the item number. This alternate Verdé pattern was widely distributed based on the ease in which collectors can find the pattern in thrift shops and antique stores.
We now know that the second Verdé pattern was distributed through stamp programs popular in the 1960s and early 1970s. Drugstores, grocery stores, and gas stations distributed stamps to customers as part of their loyalty program. In exchange for stamps, customers could purchase items at redemption centers located throughout the country.
Top Value stamps - a major competitor to S&H green stamps - were distributed at many merchants, such as Kroger grocery stores. The second Verdé pattern was available in exchange for Top Value stamps. For example, the 480 Set (473, 474, 475) with clear lids was available in 1970 by redeeming 2 1/2 stamp booklets.
Butterprint was a popular Pyrex pattern offered from 1957-1968. Typically, the pattern appeared in white or turquoise on a contrasting white or turquoise background. However, the cinderella bowl set consisting of a 441, 442, 443, and 444 was also available in orange on a white (opal) background. The orange variation does not appear in Corning catalogs and had remained somewhat of a mystery in terms of when it was produced and how it was distributed.
The set is somewhat hard to find indicating it was likely produced for a short amount of time. In PYREX Passion: The Comprehensive Guide to Decorated Vintage PYREX, the date estimate was given as the mid-1960s based on the orange color scheme which was available on other patterns, such as Town and Country, during the same time period. As it turns out, the date estimate was accurate. However, Flickr.com member, AquaOwl, helped solve the mystery.
Orange Butterprint, officially named Pumpkin Butterprint, was offered as an item in the 1965 S&H Green Stamp catalog. For 1 1/2 completed green stamp booklets, essentially 1800 green stamps, customers could purchase the set. Sets were boxed in plain boxes with the item number 440-SP. The 440 references the set number, while the "SP" may indicate "special" or "stamp program." The set was available throughout 1965 and until the catalog expired on April 30, 1966.
This small ½-cup (4 oz.) measuring cup was certainly borrowed from Corning’s laboratory ware product line. The measuring cup includes red measuring marks and a single red snowflake, matching the snowflake design used on Pyrex bake ware produced during the same time period. The PYREX Measurette first appears in dealer catalogs in 1961 retailing for 39 cents.
Although the PYREX Measurette no longer appears in catalogs after 1962, it was available through the mid-1960s as a promotional item. The Steve Owens store in Wellington, Texas, offered the Measurette as a free giveaway with the purchase of a 9-inch mixing bowl in 1963. In 1965, the Farm and Home Bargain Center in Cooperstown, New York, advertised a “FREE valuable gift to the first 500 lady shoppers: PYREX Measurette measuring cup, reg. 39c value.”
This 2 1/2 Qt Oval Casserole (045) has received many nicknames throughout the years, including "Navajo" and "Aztec" based on the geometric lid design. The official name and date of production were previously unknown. The previous date estimate, included Pyrex Passion was late the 1960s based on other items that included a wicker basket produced in 1969-1970.
However, an eBay seller recently found the casserole with its original box, solving the Pyrex mystery! The official name of the casserole is simply "2 1/2 Qt Oval Casserole with Serving Basket." The date of production can be gleaned from the item number as 1971. Another Pyrex Mystery Solved!
The Comprehensive Guide to Decorated Vintage PYREX