Beginning collectors can familiarize themselves with the hundreds of Pyrex patterns produced over the past century on Pyrex Love and Corelle Corner, both of which offer a visual and numerical reference for the vast trove of bowls, casseroles, dishes, salt and pepper shakers, tableware, mugs, and so much more.
The origins of Pyrex lay in a problem the early-20th century railroad industry faced with broken lantern globes. When hot, contact by rain or snow would cause them to crack. Corning Glass was engaged to come up with a solution, which they did in the form of a borosilicate non-expansion glass formula they dubbed Nonex. While the perfect answer to the railroads’ breakage issue, it was ultimately unprofitable in that few of the new type globes required replacement thereafter.
While Pyrex was not the first high heat compatible glass of its kind, it certainly became the most successful in terms of both the scientific ware and kitchenware produced from it.
During World War II, ads stressed that Pyrex ware saved valuable food by allowing cooking, serving, refrigerator storage, and reheating and serving leftovers all from the same utensil without waste. Post-war, new brides were barraged with Pyrex advertisements in national magazines.
The introduction of color ware in the fall of 1945 and, later, new styles and decorative patterns would further enhance the attractiveness of the ware. The 1950s and 1960s saw the release of dozens of seasonal gift items, and the advertising focus shifted to their promotion.
New standard patterns and promotionals continued to be introduced up until about 1983. In 1986, opalware Pyrex was discontinued altogether. Subsequently, Corning fulfilled consumer interest in color and decoration by applying them to clear pieces, eventually turning to color tinted glass and the addition of sculptured effects to established shapes.
2015 marked the 100th anniversary of the invention and introduction of Pyrex. The Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, NY conducts an annual seminar on glass, and in mid-October of that year, as an accompaniment to the centennial exhibit, its focus was Pyrex. Highlights included presentations by glass scholars, noted authors on foodways, design, consumer and material cultures, plus an international panel of Pyrex collectors.