Adding Style and History to Your Kitchen With Pyrex

Chocolate & Red Pyrex Bowls

I love having pretty bowls & platters to use in our kitchen.

Recently, I decided to keep my eyes open for some nice Pyrex bowls. I remember my mom & grandmothers using Pyrex bowls in their kitchens, but the kitchen decor of my grandmother’s day, came in shades of olive & burnt orange (I know it won’t be long before these shades return to our homes, but right now, the colors are a bit different ;). But, when I realized how many pretty colors & patterns there were to choose from, I knew that I could probably find some that would fit into my current kitchen decor.

I went to a local antique store, where you can find all sorts of things for every room in the house. There, I found lots of different Pyrex pieces to choose from. The prices ranged from $2.50 – $8.00 for the larger bowls. These prices were much cheaper than the new bowls that you can buy in the store, and I love filling my cupboards with history & style!

Yellow Pyrex Bowl


Here’s a snippet of history from the Pyrex website:

” Back in the early 1900’s, Corning Glass Works was working on a request from the railroads to produce lantern glass that would not break when the hot glass was struck by rain or snow. In response to this request, Corning developed globes made from low-expansion glass that could withstand the abuses of weathering and handling which readily broke the flint glass globes. Ironically, the shatterproof lantern globes generated were so good that Corning’s managers witnessed a decline in sales of replacement globes.

This super-tough “fire glass”, as it was called, was resistant to temperature fluctuations, chemical corrosion and even breakage. In July 1913, a series of events involving Bessie Littleton, the wife of the company’s newest scientist, forced Corning managers to focus their attention on the consumer venture. Apparently, Mrs. Littleton had used a Guernsey brand casserole only twice when it fractured in the oven. Knowing the strength of the glass her husband worked with on a daily basis, she implored him to bring home a substitute from the Corning Glass Works plant. He returned the next evening with the bottoms of two sawed-off battery jars made from low-expansion glasses. Mrs. Littleton cooked a sponge cake in one of the surrogate baking dishes. She noted several remarkable findings:

– The cooking time was shorter
– The cake did not stick to the glass; it was easy to remove with little adhesion
– The cake was unusually uniform
– The flavor of the cake did not remain in the dish after washing
– Watch the cake bake & know it was done by looking at the underside

Mr. Littleton brought his wife’s creation to work the following day. Laboratory researchers inspected the cake, which was a “remarkable uniform shade of brown all over.” The men deemed it delicious and very well baked. Thus began a two-year process to perfect this new invention. The notion of baking in glass was a whole new concept to the public. In 1915, a wondrous new line of “glass dishes for baking” appeared in the nation’s hardware, department and china stores. On May 18, 1915, Boston department store Jordan Marsh placed the first PYREX bake ware order. “

This is a set of blue & white bowls that belonged to my grandmother. My parents just gave to me this week, but I told them that they should have saved them for my Christmas gift! I already had the small rec. shaped dish, and it matches so perfectly!

Blue Pyrex Bowls

Blue Pyrex & White Pitcher

Pretty Blue & White Bowls

This is why I’m falling in love with Pyrex 😉

– Easy to clean
– Said to be unbreakable, a necessity during the Great Depression & World War ll
– Economical
– Absorbs heat waves which speeds up the cooking process & saves energy
– Bake & serve from the same dish
– Can use in the refrigerator, freezer, and microwave
– Bread supposedly bakes an inch higher in Pyrex!
– Comes in many shapes & colors
– Does not stain – or retain food odors
– Even antique pieces are still readily available – due to it’s durability
– An estimated 75% of all U.S. households own Pyrex

I encourage you to keep your eyes open! For a few dollars, you might find some beautiful dishes, lots of style, and wonderful history for your kitchen!

… Oh the stories those dishes could tell 🙂


PYREX is a registered trademark of Corning Incorporated.
* You can find lots of history at their website: http://www.Pyrex.com

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    20 thoughts on “Adding Style and History to Your Kitchen With Pyrex

      • Meredith –

        I love going into my local shop – the place is full of so many things to choose from! But, you can also find lots of goodies at your local thrift shop! Like I said in the post, Pyrex is so durable, that even the antique pieces are still around – in good shape – and very reasonable!

        Also – most people don’t see the value in these pieces, because they are so readily available! There is so much to choose from, that I’m sure that you can find something that will match your kitchen decor!

    1. I love your collection! I have a few pieces that belonged to my mom and while I have contemplated tossing them out a few times, I never can bring myself to do it. They are white with an olive floral trim. Not the most stylish today, but you are right, they are worth keeping and collecting!

      Dena

      • Dena – Hang onto those pieces! I’m sure that the colors will come back around… someday 😉

        But it’s so nice having a piece of mom’s kitchen for you & your family to enjoy!

    2. You know I haven’t thought of pyrex in a very long time. Thank you for bring back some sweet memories of cooking in the kitchen…I’ll have to keep my eye out for some vintage pyrex now.

    3. Pearl,
      I have two loaf pans that I use to bake bread in and yes, I do believe it rises higher in the oven! I compare to the third loaf pan, the standard aluminum type and I prefer the glass over the aluminum one.

      My granny has several covered clear casseroles that she’s been using for umpteen years, since my mom was a girl in her home. The pot roast that she makes in the casserole is the absolute best thing I’ve ever tasted. I know for a fact those pyrex dishes are over 70 years old and look terrific.

      When my paternal grandmother passed away I gathered up her collection of glass pie plates to bring home. I love them!

      Thank you for sharing the history of Pyrex. It was fascinating. Thank goodness for a smart woman to urge men on to invent what she needed.

      • Terri –

        Thanks for sharing your experiences with using Pyrex in your kitchen! It’s great to hear that your bread actually does bake up higher when baked in Pyrex! I’m excited to try baking a roast in a piece of Pyrex … when I can find one big enough for my big family!

      • Anita,

        The piece to the left, was a thrifted find! It was originally a flavored vinegar & oil rack, but I painted the base black & use it for flowers – and seasonal decorating.

    4. What a great history lesson. My husband and I are really getting into cooking these days and it was fun to learn the history behind our pyrex dishware.

    5. Have recently started collecting the Pyrex four bowl sets. Look great displayed on my Hoosier cabinet. Stumbled across a round, golden globe pattern chip and dip set for $10! Would like to also find a square chip and dip set

    6. Thank you for the history tidbit. My husband’s stepmother gave us all of their old pyrex after we lost Dad a few years ago. Apparently, I’m the only one that enjoys cooking and baking. I just took a quick peek and out of the 7 bowls I have, only one mentions “microwave”.. all the rest say “ovenware”.

      When she gave the bowls to me, I wondered what I would do with all of them.. Believe me, they’ve come in handy, especially during the holidays…I’m going to be more observant when going to the thrift stores in the future….

    7. I have stopped putting dh’s lunches in plasticware (he reheats in a microwave) and have found some older refrigerator dishes. Cover with that “sticky” Saran (remove before heating) and they work just as well as the cheap plastic and no worries about eating melted plastic.

      I also have & use dh’s grandmother’s 4-bowl mixing bowl set (in the primary colors). I know… it sells for $60 in antique stores… but I still use it and hand-wash it.

    8. Please help!!! I have bought a set of dishes service for 8 (plates,bowls,saucers,and4 serving platers.They are colbalt blue,swirled rim,and say, 20 pyrex usa …Anybody have any idea when they were made??? I have serched every where. nothing.Thanks in advance for your help!

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