Posted by Jenn Thorson at 5:44 AM Labels: butterfly gold, corning, history, pink daisy, pink gooseberry, pyrex, spring blossom
Pyrexia. It's the irresistible need to purchase cheerful bowls, casserole dishes and refrigerator containers made by the Corning company. It affects one in ten.
Then you realize how good it looks in your kitchen. How durable it is. How versatile. And when you spot that refrigerator container that matches it, well, you rather like that, too. And that comes home.
Three years later you have 20 different pieces in five different patterns and you're looking around wondering exactly how it came to pass.
According to the company web site, Pyrex was invented in the early 1900s by Corning Glass Works, originally as a shatterproof, weather-resistant glass for railroad lanterns. But in 1913, when Bessie Littleton's casserole dish was unable to withstand the high temperatures and broke in the oven, she asked her husband-- a Corning scientist-- to bring home a replacement dish made of the same durable glass he worked with every day. And Pyrex ovenware was born. By 1915, Pyrex bakeware was in the Boston-area Jordan Marsh department stores.
It is estimated that nearly 75 percent of all U.S. households own Pyrex products.
Because of Pyrex's great durability, it's easy to find vintage pieces in good condition second-hand, in a wide variety of patterns. And the more I pay attention to it, the more it seems there's something to suit just about everyone's style. From florals, country and early American themes, to pop art and streamlined looks, the choice is amazing.
Me, I tend to stick to the few patterns of pink Pyrex-- called Gooseberry and Pink Daisy-- but I recently got sucked in with these bright green and butter yellow bowls. The patterns are Spring Blossom and Butterfly Gold respectively.
Prices for Pyrex vary greatly, so it's good to check around. I've seen antique malls selling large Pyrex vintage mixing bowls for as high as $30. But I've seen the same bowls as low as $5 or $10. Smaller pieces, like refrigerator containers and casserole dishes might run from $1-$5. (I recently got my lidded Daisy patterned dish with lid for $3.) So if there's a particular piece you like, it's not a bad idea to get a sense of the going price before shelling out the dough.
If you visit TheThriftshopper.com forum, you'll see whole threads dedicated to collecting Pyrex:
And the PyrexLove web site is entirely devoted to the line of products, with an excellent page identifying popular patterns. So if you were curious what the name of that old Pyrex bowl you have is, this is a great way to find out.
Pyrexia. Currently, there is no known cure. But then again, you'd also have to WANT to be cured. And no one I know is really seeking out help for this kitchenalia addiction. Are YOU Pyrexic? Feel free to discuss your mania. :)