In 1970, Corning launched an assortment of new 3 Pc. Bake Ware Sets in a variety of patterns. The sets included a loaf pan (913), square pan (922), and oblong pan (933). One of the new sets was called "Earth Tones" in dealer announcements. Although the announcement photo shows pans with rounded corners, the new bake ware sets actually had sharply angled corners.
Although called Earth Tones in the dealer announcement, the set was actually shown with the Early American pattern in the 1970 Dealer Catalog, with no reference to the name, "Earth Tones." Adding to the confusion, boxes for the set were labeled "Brown" rather than Earth Tones or Early American. The reference to “Brown” is somewhat misleading since the 3 Pc. Bake Ware Set contains a loaf pan in solid beige, square pan in solid burnt orange, and oblong pan in solid rust.
Adding to the mystery is the 4 Pc. Mixing Bowl Set in similar colors. The mixing bowls are hard to find, indicating they were likely produced as a test item, special promotion, or limited edition set. Their exact date of production is unknown. The Mixing Bowls did not appear in dealer catalogs and were likely produced a few years later based on their back stamps.
Curiously, the three smaller bowls (401, 402, 403) have the newer, square PYREX micro-wave stamp on the bottom whereas the large 4 Qt bowl has the older, round stamp. The mixing bowls alternate solid rust (401, 403) and burnt orange (402, 404).
The box for the mixing bowl set was unlabeled and unmarked, with the exception of a stamp that read “400 CRS.” The "400" was in reference to the 400-Series Set (401, 402, 403, 404), but the significance of "CRS" is unclear. A recently found new-in-box set also had a price tag which read, "Corning Glass Center $5.00" indicating this particular set was sold directly in the Corning Glass Center Shop.
Every February 14, across North America, candy, flowers and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. This Valentine’s Day, we’ll look at a few love-inspired PYREX items with a heart design. Throughout the years, Corning only offered two designs that included hearts. 1958-1959 Golden Hearts Casserole
Golden Hearts Casserole 1959 Lucky in Love Design
The first heart design was on the Deluxe Cinderella Casserole. This 2 ½ Qt oval casserole (045) was offered as a promotional item in late 1958 and early 1959. The casserole is referred to as “Golden Hearts,” due to the gold design printed on a cream background. The casserole included a brass cradle with dual candle-warmer.
Fall 1958 advertisements grouped this promotional casserole with six other “beautiful Christmas ideas with today’s look for today’s cook.” The casserole was described as the “New PYREX Deluxe Cinderella Casserole. Its attractive brass-plated cradle holds two candle warmers – to keep food hot in 2 ½ Qt Decorator Casserole.” The original retail price was $5.95.
Lucky in Love Casserole
The second PYREX design that included a heart design is the ever-elusive “Lucky in Love” casserole. This hard-to-find 1 Qt round casserole (473) was produced in 1959(PYREX by Corning, Rogrove & Steinhauer, pg. 54). Relatively few of these casseroles have been found, leading some to believe that the piece was either a test design or produced in very limited quantities for a special event. Only 3-4 of the “Lucky in Love” casseroles are known to exist.
From Humble Beginnings
The origins of opal Pyrex began in the 1940s as Corning developed a replacement to the vitrified china used in military mess halls. Throughout World War II, Corning made more than 25 million pieces of messware for the U.S. Army and Navy using a new manufacturing process, resulting in items that would become known as opal PYREX.
The heart of opal Pyrex production was the plant located in Charleroi, PA, located 30 miles south of Pittsburgh. The Charleroi plant had produced glassware since 1893 as Macbeth-Evans and then as Corning Glass Works since 1936. Prior to merging with Corning Glass Works, Macbeth-Evans had already pioneered the development of opal-type glasses.
A Time of Prosperity
With the successful consumer launch of opal Pyrex in 1945, the Charleroi plant was thriving. Throughout the 1940s-1960s, opal Pyrex was in high demand. But starting in the 1970s, the demand for opal Pyrex began to decline.
The End of an Era
By 1985, Corning decided to end production of all opal Pyrex ware. Opal Pyrex was no longer sold after mid-1986 and production was phased out over the next two years. Since the Charleroi plant infrastructure and equipment were designed for opal Pyrex production, the future of the plant was in jeopardy. However, Charleroi plant management and the local community rallied executives in New York to keep the plant open. Their efforts paid off when the Suprema operation was moved to Charleroi in 1989. The plant continues to operate today, producing clear Pyrex items for World Kitchen.
1987 Charleroi Commemorative Opal Mug Set. Photo courtesy of Flickr member, xeryp.
Holiday Promos Offered in 1960-1961 Golden Leaf, Holiday Casserole, Green, and Red
Throughout the years, Corning produced several holiday-themed items. The first items were offered in 1960. The Golden Leaf Casserole was a 404 mixing bowl with knob lid (626) and brass mounter, ideal for punch, salads, or hot dishes (far left in photo). The other item offered in 1960 was the Holiday Casserole, a 2 Qt round (024) casserole with knob lid (top right in photo). Two other 2 Qt round casseroles are ideal for the holidays: Bright Green and Bright Red. The exact production dates for these two casseroles is unknown, but likely in the 1970s. Golden Poinsettia with matching carafe
The Deluxe Buffet, with a Golden Poinsettia design, was the only other holiday item specifically produced for the consumer market. The 2 1/2 Qt oval casserole (045) with dual candle warmer was available in late 1961. A matching carafe was sold separately.
The Golden Pine (not shown) 2 Qt Square Space Saver Casserole (575) was also available in 1961. Although perfect for a holiday table, the Golden Pine design, which included gold pine cones on a white background, had broader appeal throughout the year.
Corning Employee Holiday Gift Items
Corning Employee Holiday Gift Items
If you were lucky enough to work for Corning Glass Works in the 1960s-1980s, you likely received some wonderful holiday gift items, only available to Corning employees. Currently, these items are in great demand with collectors. Dozens of employee holiday gifts were distributed through the years, including those above.
Prior to the mid-1970s, Corning typically did not name promotional patterns. Box descriptions were usually simple: "Decorator Casserole with Cradle." However, the box was designed to included the pattern so consumers could identify the item inside. Even popular standard patterns, such as Butterprint, were often referred to only by color (e.g., Turquoise) rather than the official name. This was often the case in both dealer catalogs and advertisements. The lack of official pattern names has given rise to many popular nicknames to help identify items.
Photo courtesy of Pyrex Passion Facebook member, Kim Riffey.
Recently, Pyrex Passion Facebook member, Kim Riffey found the promotional "Green Bramble" with the box, revealing the official name: Gold Scroll on Green - unimaginative, but descriptive.
The Gold Scroll on Green was a 1 1/2 Qt oval casserole (model 043) that was released in 1966. It included a brass cradle with round walnut handles. This was the same cradle style used on many other promotional items during 1964-1968. The gold scroll design was also produced on the larger 2 1/2 Qt oval casserole (model 045) but the casserole is beige instead of green. Perhaps we will soon find a "Beige Bramble" box to determine if its official name was Gold Scroll on Beige. Thanks to Kim Riffey for sharing her find - and photos - with us.
If you would like to update your copy of the PYREX Passion collector's guide with this new information, see page 150.
Photo courtesy of Pyrex Passion Facebook member, Kim Riffey.
1949 Ladies Home Journal Advertisement
Corning produced opal Pyrex Hostess Sets from 1949-1953 to support the growing trend of entertaining guests and having dinner parties. Hostess Sets were described in 1949 advertisements as “autumn-red” and “harvest-yellow.” Sets were sold as:
Hostess Oven-and-Table Set (Large Hostess Set)
025 2 ½ Qt Serving Bowl (no lid) and four 12 oz. (410) Ramekins.
Hostess Set (Small Hostess Set)
015 1 ½ Qt Serving Bowl (with lid) and four 7 oz. (407) Ramekins.
The launch of the Hostess Oven-and-Table Set was advertised in the September 1949 edition of Ladies Home Journal, while the smaller Hostess Set was out in time for Christmas 1950. The ramekins and serving bowls were also sold separately. When purchased individually, a lid was included with both sizes of serving bowls.
Hostess Dishes Reappear in 1959 1959 Cinderella Snack and Dip Set
Although yellow and red hostess bowls were discontinued in 1953, the shape would sporadically reappear throughout the 1950s, most notably in the 1959 promotional Snack and Dip Set in turquoise.
This set remains extremely popular with collectors, typically commanding over $100 at online auction sites.
Hostess Dish Variations or Test Patterns
Other Hostess Bowls in unique colors have also turned up. Although their exact dates of production are unknown, most are presumed to be from the 1950s. These variations are quite hard to find. Variations for the large 2 1/2 Qt hostess dish include: Dove Gray, Pink Desert Dawn, pastel Pink, and Charcoal (made in Delphite Blue, rather than opal).
025 2 1/2 Qt Variations in Dove Gray and Pink Desert Dawn
Variations of the smaller 1 1/2 Qt hostess dish have been found in bright turquoise, a different shade than the turquoise from the Snack and Dip Set, and forest green. The forest green is unique in design, with a clear lid.
015 1 1/2 Qt Variations in Bright Turquoise and Forest Green
Photo courtesy of eBay seller seahoney1
On September 17, 2013, Pyrex collectors around the world watched in anticipation
as the holy grail of Pyrex, the Lucky in Love 473 1 Qt Round Casserole, went up
for auction. Not since Sotheby's sold Picasso's Le Reve for $155M has an item garnered this much attention. Ok, perhaps that's a slight exaggeration.
Nonetheless, online social sites like the Pyrex Passion facebook group lit up as the final minutes of the auction counted down. Collectors across North America and as far as England watched... and waited.
Let the Auction Begin
The auction was listed on September 10 with a flirtatious starting price of $.99. Within three hours the flurry of bidding had landed at $550. Two days later, the price was up to $1,125. For those considering a bid, it was time to seriously consider skipping this month’s mortgage payment.
As the top bid stayed put at $1,125 for two days, questions started to circulate in the online social networking sites: Who was the seller? Why was she selling? Who was the highest
bidder? What if they didn't pay? How much would insurance cost? What would be the winning bid? Scandal and speculation ensued.
The day before the auction ended, bidding had inched up to $1,275.54. Looks like that $.54 was a winning strategy, but it didn’t last long. As the “15-minutes left on your watched item” alarms went off around the world, collectors hushed their families, grabbed multiple mobile devices to keep an eye on the auction and chat simultaneously and watched the drama unfold. And then, it happened…
History of the Lucky in Love Casserole
The Lucky in Love casserole was produced as a test pattern in late 1959 at the Corning plant in Charleroi, PA. It contains green grass around the base with two four leaf clovers in the middle. Pink hearts of various sizes are printed around the center of the casserole. An innovative part of the design was the inclusion of an opal lid, which would not reappear on any consumer products until opal lids became standard on many patterns in 1972.
In 1958 and 1959, Corning started releasing seasonal promotional items. In 1959, Corning released the first 470 set consisting of 471, 472 and 473 round casseroles in the Pink Butterprint design. The round casserole shape was new and proved so successful that the casseroles were quickly offered on all standard patterns of the time: Turquoise Butterprint and Pink Gooseberry.
Unfortunately, the Lucky in Love design was not produced for mass market sales. As shown in the photo above, the green color of the grass bleeds through the pink heart design. This would likely not pass the quality standards at Corning for Consumer Products. The few samples of the casseroles that remain were likely discarded and taken home by employees. The Corning Museum of Glass has the original bowl used to test the green pattern in their collection in Corning, NY.
"Blue Tulip" 043 Oval Casserole
Thanks to a recent discussion with a PYREX collector, the date of the Blue Tulip 043 1 1/2 Qt Oval Casserole is now known to be 1964. The collector recently
acquired a new-in-box (NIB) casserole which included the orginal brochure showing Corning's consumer product line frmo the time: Golden Honeysuckle, Early American and Town and Country items. The model number, 5164, indicates the casserole was produced in 1964.
At this time, Corning did not typically name promotional casseroles. "Blue Tulip" is the unofficial name of the casserole popularized by collectors. The official name was simply "1 1/2 Qt Casserole with Cradle."
The same design was also offered in gold on brown on a 043 1/2 Qt Oval Casserole and the larger 045 2 1/2 Qt Oval Casserole. The gold on brown casseroles are quite hard to find, leading some collectors to speculate that this version was produced as a test pattern and not available for purchase. The exact date of production for the gold on brown version is unknown, but presumed to be during the same time period.
Many opal PYREX collectors are familiar with the model numbering system used on kitchenware and bakeware. Mixing bowls, Cinderella bowls and many casserole sets used the 400-series numbering system. These sets were actively marketed to the public through Corning Glass Works’ Consumer Products Division, so a lot of information is available to collectors both online and in print. Emerald Band (Green) Restaurantware (1953-1978)
However, opal PYREX Restaur-antware/Tableware is a bit more of a mystery. Advertising for these items was limited to foodservice establishments and not much documentation remains. Recently, Jeffery Tevyaw, an avid restaur- antware collector, graciously shared some research compiled from original documentation at the The Corning Archives.
Model numbers for restaurantware typically utilized the 700-series numbering system:
100 – Stacking Cup, 7 oz
101 – Stacking Saucer, 5 ½”
700 –Individual Casserole, 10 oz
701 – Cup, 7 oz.
702 – Saucer, 5 7/8”
703 – Dinner Plate, 9”
704 – Bread & Butter Plate, 6 ¾”
705 – Bowl, 15 oz, 5 ¾”
706 – Saucedish, 5 oz, 4 ¾”
707 – Fruit/Cereal Bowl, 8 oz, 6 ½”
708 – Bowl, 10 oz, 4 7/8”
709 – Mug, 7 oz
711 – Salad/Dessert Plate, 7 ¼”
712 – Dinner Plate, 9 3/8”
713 – Bread & Butter Plate, 5 ½”
714 – Sugar/Bouillon/Egg Cup, 7 oz
715 – Rim Soup Bowl, 14 oz, 9”
350 – 10” Plate
352 – 8 oz Cup
353 – 6 ¼” Saucer
354 – 6 ¾” Plate
356 – 5 ½” Saucedish, 7 oz
716 – Salad Bowl, 32 oz, 8 ¾”
718 – Can Cup, 7 oz
719 – Luncheon Plate, 8”
720 – Bread & Butter Plate, 6 ¾”
721 – Tall Cup, 7 oz
722 – Creamer, 6 oz
723 – Tall Drinking Cup, 10 oz
770 – Small Footed Bowl
790 – Salad Bowl, 16 oz, 7 ½”
791 – 3-Compartment Plate, 9 ½”
793 – Oval Platter, 11 ½”
794 – Platter, 9 ½”
795 – Dinner Plate, 10 ½”
796 – Saucer (stacking), 5 7/8”
797 – Narrow Rim Dinner Plate, 9”
798 – Narrow Rim Dinner Plate, 9 3/8”
799 – Narrow Rim Oval Platter, 12 ½”
362 – 9 3/8” Plate
363 – 7 ¼” Plate
364 – 5 ½” Plate
365 – 9” Plate
In the early 1970s, the United States ramped up to celebrate its bicentennial, commemorating 200 years since the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Events were staged throughout the United States culminating in street fairs, parades and fireworks on July 4, 1976. For those who experienced the excitement, you may remember streets clad in red, white and blue banners, huge parades featuring Uncle Sam and many other commemorative events. In the depressed economy of the mid-70s, it was a great escape and a time of celebration for all. Many collectors enjoy searching for bicentennial memorabilia, especially stamps, coins and the two dollar bill that were issued for the occasion.
Unfortunately, Corning Glass Works didn’t create any specific bicentennial-themed PYREX for the consumer market. However, the plant in Charleroi, PA did manufacture many custom items – mainly coffee mugs (model 1410) – with various bicentennial tributes for the Corning, NY and Charleroi, PA areas.
Happy July 4th USA!
1976 American Bicentennial Commemorative PYREX