Corning Museum of Glass celebrates 100 years of Pyrex — we sneak peek 60 terrific photos!

Exhibit starts tomorrow June 6
at the Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York

Vintage pyrex

Pyrex Two-Quart Covered Casserole, “Starburst”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1960. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

Right after we wrote about Pyrex’ 100th anniversary, we heard from the quick-on-their-feet PR team at The Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, New York. They wanted us to know about their newest exhibit, “America’s Favorite Dish: Celebrating a Century of Pyrex,” which opens tomorrow June 6, and runs through March 17, 2016. This is the first exhibition devoted to the iconic cookware. And all the better, the Museum had some 60 historical photos of Pyrex — organized by decade over the past century — all queued up to promote the exhibit. Lots of pretty pretty Pyrex here — let’s take a look at how this brand evolved — so that we can prepare for our visit!

Tip to view photos:

On a desktop computer — once the page fully loads [this is a BIG story FULL of big photos, it may take a few more seconds] — you should be able to click on any photo and it will double in size on screen. If the plugin is working, you also may be able to cycle thru the photos like a slide show. To get back to the story, click somewhere outside the photos or hit the Escape key.

vintage pyrex advertisement

How to get off to a good start in your new life!, Corning Glass Works, published in Saturday Evening Post, 1946. Dianne Williams collection on Pyrex. CMGL 139853. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

Pyrex in 1915:

vintage pyrex baking dish

From the collection of the Corning Museum of Glass: Pyrex Utility Baking Dish, made by Corning Glass Works, 1915-1925. Gift of Brent and Susan Wedding in memory of Burnett C. and Lee Viger. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pyrex advertisement

Bake in glass!, Corning Glass Works, published in Good Housekeeping, New York, 1915. Dianne Williams collection on Pyrex. CMGL 140302. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

1915 pyrex

Eight of the first twelve pieces of Pyrex-brand ovenware; 2 Covered Casseroles (#101 and #103); Loaf Pan (#212); Pie Plate (#202); Shirred Egg Dish (#301); Au Gratin Dish (#322); Baking Dish (#400); and Custard Cup (#423); Corning Glass Works, USA, 1915-1919. Gift of Jerry E. Wright. 96.4.167-175. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

Here’s the news release on the exhibit — we’ve woven the photos into the text:

THE CORNING MUSEUM OF GLASS PRESENTS EXHIBITION ON TRANSFORMATIVE IMPACT OF PYREX ON AMERICAN HOUSEHOLDS

Exhibition organized in celebration of 100th anniversary of Pyrex will feature rare pieces and patterns, historic advertisements, cookbooks, and other Pyrex ephemera

Corning, NY—In June 2015, The Corning Museum of Glass will present America’s Favorite Dish: Celebrating a Century of Pyrex, the first exhibition devoted to the iconic cookware. Organized in honor of the 100th anniversary of the 1915 invention of Pyrex, the exhibition will feature a wide range of objects and materials—from the first pie dish to the famed stackable measuring cup redesigned in 1983, as well as advertisements and ephemera, like product cookbooks and catalogs. The exhibition shows how this common household product, born out of scientific discoveries in glass, was shaped not only by designers and engineers but also by women consumers around the country.

Pyrex in the 1920s

vintage pyrex

Pyrex Liquid Measuring Cup, made by Corning Glass Works, Corning, New York, 1926. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

The news release continues:

“The history of Pyrex reflects the history of the United States in the 20th century,” said Kelley Elliott, co-curator of the exhibition and assistant curator of modern and contemporary glass at The Corning Museum of Glass. “As the country changed, so did Pyrex. New glass formulas were developed for evolving home technologies, marketing and sales strategies adapted to women’s changing roles in the home and workplace, and Pyrex patterns and advertisements changed to reflect fashions, décor, and world events from the past century.”

Pyrex in the 1930s

Vintage pyrex pie plate

Engraved Pyrex Pie Plate, made by Corning Glass Works, Corning, New York, 1936. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pie plate pyrex

Engraved Pyrex Pie Plate, made by Corning Glass Works, Corning, New York, 1936. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

Vintage pyrex teapot

Pyrex Teapot, made by Corning Glass Works, Corning, New York, 1931-1940. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pyrex

Engraved Pyrex Covered Casserole with Faberware Mount, made by Corning Glass Works, Corning, New York, 1930-1939. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

Vintage Pyrex percolator

Pyrex Flameware Six-Cup Percolator, made by Corning Glass Works, Corning, New York, 1939-1951. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

The news release continues:

The origins of Pyrex can be traced to the production of temperature-resistant borosilicate glass for railroad lantern globes by Corning Glass Works (now Corning Incorporated). This new glass was used for several products that required temperature-resistant glass.  Only a few years later, Corning began to explore using this glass for housewares, marketing their new brand of glass housewares as Pyrex.

Pyrex in the 1940s

vintage pyrex advertisement

See how Pyrex ware can make your wartime meals the best you ever tasted, Corning Glass Works, Woman’s Home Companion, 1943. Dianne Williams collection on Pyrex. CMGL 98290. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pyrex mixing bowls

Pyrex Mixing Bowl Set, “Primary Color”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1946-1977. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pyrex refrigerator dishes

Pyrex Refrigerator Dishes, “Primary Color”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1947-1960. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pyrex refrigerator dishes

Pyrex Refrigerator Dishes, “Primary Color”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1947-1960. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pyrex pie plate

Pyrex Pie Plate, “Flavor-Saver” (#229), made by Corning Glass Works, Corning, New York, 1942-1969. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pyrex advertisement

Something for the brides!, Corning Glass Works, published in Woman’s Day, New York, 1945. Dianne Williams collection on Pyrex. CMGL 140777. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

The news release continues:

At the same time Corning introduced Pyrex, home economics was emerging as a profession. From its introduction, Corning Glass Works embraced the idea of using these new domestic professionals to test and promote Pyrex. The company hired Sarah Tyson Rorer, an editor at Ladies’ Home Journal, and Mildred Maddocks of the Good Housekeeping Institute, to promote the brand through cooking demonstrations at department stores around the country. In 1929, Corning hired full-time home economist and scientist, Lucy Maltby, to manage the company’s new consumer services office. By 1931, Maltby had established a Test Kitchen at Corning Glass Works, designed to evaluate new products before they were put on the market.

Pyrex in the 1950s

Pyrex One-Quart Casserole, "Gooseberry", made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania,  1957-1966. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

Pyrex One-Quart Casserole, “Gooseberry”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1957-1966. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pyrex

Pyrex 1.5-Quart Covered Casserole, “Mod Kitchen” (detail of pattern), made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1958. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pyrex

Pyrex 1.5-Quart Covered Casserole, “Black Tulip”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1957. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pyrex

Pyrex Cinderella Mixing Bowls, “Butterprint”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1957-1967. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pyrex

Pyrex Child’s Cup, Bowl, and Plate, “Blue Trains”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1957. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

Vintage Pyrex

Pyrex Child’s Cup, Bowl, and Plate, “Blue Trains”, (detail of pattern), made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1957. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pyrex

Pyrex 1.5-Quart Divided Casserole, “Barbed Wire”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1958. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pyrex

Pyrex 1.5-Quart Covered Casserole from Set, “Twin Server Set” (detail of pattern), made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1959. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

The news release continues:

Representative objects and advertisements from each decade will be on view to trace the evolution of the Pyrex brand. Particular highlights include:

— The first 12 Pyrex products introduced to the consumer market in 1915, including: covered casserole dishes, pie plates, shirred egg dishes, custard cups, loaf pans, au gratin dishes, and oval baking dishes.

— Durable military mess ware developed by Corning Glass Works in 1940s, which evolved into Pyrex opalware after World War II.

— Representative pieces of nearly 150 Pyrex opalware patterns including the Terra and Verde patterns from the 1960s.

— Pyrex measuring cups, including the 1980s redesign which introduced a new handle that allowed measuring cups of various sizes to be stacked inside one another.

— A large archive of Pyrex advertisements, from its origins through the 1980s, incorporating themes such as weddings, wartime (specifically WWII), Christmas, intergenerational, and historical events. One ad depicts how the moon landing inspired the Horizon Blue pattern.

— Original design drawings, correspondence, and other ephemera related to Pyrex design and marketing.

Pyrex in the 1960s

Next: Horizon Blue Pyrex ware, Corning Glass Works, published in McCall’s, 1969. Dianne Williams collection on Pyrex. CMGL 141829. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

Next: Horizon Blue Pyrex ware, Corning Glass Works, published in McCall’s, 1969. Dianne Williams collection on Pyrex. CMGL 141829. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pyrex

Pyrex Covered Casserole, “Oak Leaves”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1965. Gift of Corning Incorporated, Department of Archives and Records Management. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pyrex

Pyrex Mixing Bowl, “Federal Eagle” (detail of pattern), made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1967. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pyrex

Pyrex 2.5-Quart Covered Casserole, “Nouveau Floral”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1968-1969. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pyrex

Pyrex 2.5-Quart Covered Casserole, “Spirograph”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1969-1970. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pyrex

Pyrex 1.5-Quart Covered Casserole, “Orange Fiesta”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1968-1970. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

Vintage Pyrex

Pyrex One-Quart Covered Casserole, “Sol Flower”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1969. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pyrex

Pyrex Two-Quart Covered Casserole, “Starburst” (detail of pattern), made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1960. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pyrex

Pyrex Two-Quart Covered Casserole, “Starburst”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1960. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

Vintage pyrex

Pyrex Two-Quart Covered Casserole, “Starburst”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1960. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pyrex

Pyrex Mug, “Foulard”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1965. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pyrex

Pyrex One-Quart Covered Casserole, “Verde”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1968-1972. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pyrex

Pyrex Mixing Bowl Set, “Dots”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1969-1973. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pyrex

Pyrex Cinderella Mixing Bowl Set, “Horizon Blue”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1969-1971. Pyrex Covered Casserole Set, “Horizon Blue”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1969-1971. Pyrex 1.5-Quart Divided Covered Casserole, “Horizon Blue”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1969-1971. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pyrex

Pyrex One-Quart Covered Casserold, “Blue Stripe”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1966. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

The news release continues:

“Because our comprehensive collection of glass tells the story of the development of this material from ancient to contemporary times, the Museum is uniquely qualified to tell and contextualize the story of Pyrex and its origins in Corning,” said Karol Wight, executive director of The Corning Museum of Glass. “Like many of the objects in our collection, Pyrex was made using the experimental and cutting-edge technology of its era. It also reflected the decorative taste of its time. We look forward to exploring the dual impact of Pyrex products as both revolutionary home tools and as today’s objects of nostalgia.”

Pyrex in the 1970s

vintage pyrex

Pyrex One-Quart Covered Casserole, “Friendship”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1971-1974. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pyrex

Pyrex 1.5-Pint Covered Casserole, “Friendship”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1971-1974. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pyrex

Pyrex Cinderella Mixing Bowl Set, “Friendship”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1971-1974. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pyrex

Pyrex 1.5-Quart Covered Casserole, “New Holland”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1974. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

Vintage pyrex

Pyrex 1.5-Quart Covered Casserole, “Midnight Bloom” or”Floral”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1970-1971. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pyrex

Pyrex 2.5-Quart Covered Casserole with Trivet, “Navajo”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, possibly 1971-1972. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pyrex

Pyrex One-Quart Covered Casserole, “Blue Floral” or “Willow”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1970. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pyrex

Pyrex 2.5-Liter Covered Casserole with Carrier, “Dynasty” from the “Designer Collection”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1978. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

Vintage pyrex

Pyrex 2.5-Quart Covered Casserole, “Ocean Filigree”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1973. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

Vintage Pyrex

Pyrex 2.5-Quart Covered Casserole, “Seville”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1972. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pyrex

Pyrex One-Quart Covered Casserole, “Hearts Scroll” or “Celtic Floral”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1970. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pyrex

Pyrex One-Quart Covered Casserole, “Crazy Quilt”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1971-1972. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

Vintage pyrex

Pyrex One-Quart Covered Casserole with Hugger, “Vintage (Grapes)”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, possibly 1973. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pyrex

Pyrex 2.5-Quart Covered Casserole, “Pueblo”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1974. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pyrex

Pyrex 2.5-Quart Covered Casserole, “Moon Deco”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1971. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pyrex

Pyrex 2.5-Quart Covered Casserole, “Cosmopolitan” (detail of pattern), made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1973. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pyrex

Pyrex Mixing Bowl, “Arches” (detail of pattern), made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1971. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

Vintage pyrex

Pyrex 1.5-Quart Covered Casserole, “Wicker” or “Basket Weave”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1970. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

vintage pyrex

Pyrex 2.5-Quart Covered Casserole with warmer, “Floral Bubbles”, made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1973. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

Pyrex in the 1980s

80s pyrex

Pyrex One-Liter Casserole, “Forest Fancies” (detail of pattern), made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1981-1983. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

80s pyrex

Pyrex Covered Casserole Dish, “Colonial Mist” (detail of pattern), made by Corning Glass Works, Charleroi, Pennsylvania, 1983. Courtesy of the Corning Museum of Glass.

The news release continues:

The exhibition will be accompanied by a comprehensive, dedicated website, which will feature the Museum’s Pyrex holdings of more than 2,000 objects, sortable by pattern and/or date. The website will host a database for Pyrex research and provide a place for enthusiasts to share their own stories, images, and recipes with others. Features will include digitized advertisements, articles and clips of oral histories conducted by the staff of the Museum’s Rakow Research Library, who have gathered personal perspectives from designers, engineers, and marketing staff who worked with Pyrex products.

Pyrex in the 1990s

Pyrex bakeware

Pyrex Scupted Bakeware, 1990’s. Courtesy of World Kitchen.

Pyrex in the 2000s

pyrex baking dish

Pyrex Easy Grab Bakeware, 2000’s. Courtesy of World Kitchen.

pyrex 100th anniversary line

Pyrex Dots storage pieces from the Pyrex 100 line, 2015. Courtesy of World Kitchen.

The news release continues:

The website is sponsored by leading global housewares manufacturer, World Kitchen, which has been a proud steward of the Pyrex® brand for 16 years.  For more information, visit www.worldkitchen.com.

The exhibition will be on view in the Museum’s Rakow Library from June 6, 2015 – March 17, 2016. It is co-curated by Kelley Elliott, assistant curator of modern and contemporary glass; Aprille Nace, associate librarian for public services; Regan Brumagen, public services librarian; and Emily Davis, Collections Management Assistant.

ABOUT THE CORNING MUSEUM OF GLASS

The Corning Museum of Glass is home to the world’s most important collection of glass, including the finest examples of glassmaking spanning 3,500 years. Live glassblowing demonstrations (offered at the Museum, on the road, and at sea on Celebrity Cruises) bring the material to life. Daily Make Your Own Glass experiences at the Museum enable visitors to create work in a state-of-the-art glassmaking studio. The campus in Corning includes a year-round glassmaking school, The Studio, and the Rakow Research Library, the world’s preeminent collection of materials on the art and history of glass. Located in the heart of the Finger Lakes Wine Country of New York State, the Museum is open daily, year-round. Kids and teens, 17 and under, receive free admission. www.cmog.org.

The Museum recently opened a 100,000-square-foot Contemporary Art + Design Wing, designed by Thomas Phifer. The new wing includes a new 26,000-square-foot contemporary art gallery building, as well as one of the world’s largest facilities for glassblowing demonstrations and live glass design sessions.

***

Thank you, PR wizards at the Corning Museum of Glass, for the story and for the exhibit! All those photos of colorful, historic Pyrex make us very happy. Alas, we want them all!

Link love:

Readers, which decade of Pyrex is your favorite?

Be-Safe-graphic2.3

Get our retrolicious free newsletter.

Newsletter-sign-up-2NMAS

Get our retrolicious free newsletter.

Comments

  1. eric says

    Pam, thank you for this article. Now I know I have the “Mod Kitchen” casserole dish. Never knew what it was, as picked up cheap at an estate sale. I will now be on the lookout for some of the earlier 20’s pieces now that I know what to look for.

  2. Pat says

    I saw the Pyrex Anniversary measuring cup in the store. It was terrible, it was modern styling, what’s up with that!

    • Mary Elizabeth says

      I agree! I would have preferred to see the original design for an anniversary edition. However, (1) the new handle design helps the different sizes take up less room for stacking, and (2) my DH came home from the warehouse store (Costco) with a box of the whole set in red, white, and blue. He was so proud to find a gift he thought I’d really like. So now the new design has new memories and new sentimental value to me, just as the old design held memories of my mother cooking (or, to tell the truth, attempting to cook*) and my sister and I learning to cook at a very young age (*see asterisk above for the reason). 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *