Vintage Pyrex patterns

Vintage Pyrex patterns - Blue Gaiety lidded casserole and yellow & white Gooseberry Cinderella mixing bowl set | H is for Home

We added two very nice pieces of vintage Pyrex to our webshop today. Our newly listed items include a lovely set of four graduated ‘Cinderella’ mixing bowls in the ‘Gooseberry’ pattern and a lidded casserole dish from the ‘Gaiety’ Snowflake range.

Blue vintage Pyrex 'Gaiety' casserole dish | H is for Home

It got us to wondering when Pyrex was invented… 1940s/50s would probably have been our guess. We were a fair way out – it was a brand introduced by Corning Inc in 1908. The thermally resistant glass moved from industrial use to domestic applications (apparently after a Corning employee’s wife used a sawn off battery jar to bake a cake).

Detail of vintage Pyrex 'Gaiety' pattern | H is for Home

It’s certainly come a long way from that first cake and has found a home in millions of kitchen cupboards worldwide. It’s such a great material for kitchen use – durable, practical, heat resistant, doesn’t retain food smells, transparent and decorative too if desired.

Vintage yellow and white 'Gooseberry' Pyrex Cinderella mixing bowl set | H is for Home

Various designers have contributed to the shapes and patterns of Pyrex over the years – Penny Sparke, Betty Baugh, SMART Design and TEAMS Design amongst them.

Colourful collection of vintage Pyrexcredit

You can go for the plain, clear glass or more colourful opaque ranges – and there certainly are some fabulous Pyrex patterns available.

Detail of vintage Pyrex 'Gooseberry' pattern | H is for Home

So, where did the name Pyrex come from… this quote from a Corning executive:

The word PYREX is probably a purely arbitrary word which was devised in 1915 as a trade-mark for products manufactured and sold by Corning Glass Works. While some people have thought that it was made up from the Greek pyr and the Latin rex we have always taken the position that no graduate of Harvard would be guilty of such a classical hybrid. Actually, we had a number of prior trade-marks ending in the letters ex. One of the first commercial products to be sold under the new mark was a pie plate and in the interests of euphonism the letter r was inserted between pie and ex and the whole thing condensed to PYREX.

Detail of Pyrex Tableware stamp | H is for Home

There are various websites dedicated to all things Pyrex – here are links to a few:

Etsy List: P… P… P… Pyrex

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H is for Home Pyrex Etsy List

There are certain vintage homeware items that the USA has a much bigger & better choice of – annoyingly Pyrex glassware is one those things! We almost never come across the bright red, yellow, blue green or orange dishes; nor see patterns such as Tulip, Daisy, Butterprint or Town and Country.

I remember us having some graduated Carnaby Tempo lidded casserole dishes at home when I was growing up. Very boring when you compare it to Spring Flowers or Friendship.

If you’d like to learn more, there are books on Pyrex, lots & lots of Flickr groups dedicated to it, there’s even a Pyrex Museum in Washington.

P… P… P… Pyrex!
Curated by H is for Home