The Colorful History of PYREX

In 1915, chemists at Corning Glass Works in Corning, New York, developed a special glass that they branded as “Pyrex.” It could take extreme temperature changes. This made it ideal for scientific experiments, railroad lamps, and, of course, cooking.

Early advertising

It is clean!

Corning’s first line of clear Pyrex ovenware came out in 1915, featuring casseroles, custard cups, a bread pan, pie plates, etc. On this early Pyrex the word “Pyrex” can usually be found on the base. Pyrex was very popular with homemakers who’d previously cooked in metal pans and earthenware. Now they could bake, serve, and store their food in the same attractive dish! Also, as you can see from the old ads, there was a strong emphasis on the fact that, after use, it would get so “clean.”

Collectors today love the colorful Pyrex products that were produced from 1947 until the late 1960s. These new Pyrex products were made out of opal or white glass, sprayed with a bright color, and sometimes printed with an attractive pattern.

A collection

Pyrex just for Tucson?

The original nesting bowls are among the most beloved of the vintage Pyrex. The very first, and most popular set, is the solid “#400 Multicolored Mixing Bowls.” It includes a 4-quart yellow bowl, a 2.5-quart green bowl, a 1.25-quart red bowl, and a half-quart blue bowl.


In 1957, the #300 nesting bowl sets were introduced. These only had the three smaller bowls. In 1967 Pyrex introduced the very popular “New Dot” pattern. These are white glass with three rows of dots in a single color. It is a 3 bowl nesting set, and each bowl had its own dot color: orange, red, and blue. A fourth 4-quart bowl with green dots was introduced in 1969. It is the most valuable of the set.

Cinderella bowls

Cinderella bowls with pouring handles came out in 1958. Casseroles were made in similar colors. Many were offered as promotional items or Christmas specials. Others were a part of huge kitchenware sets, so that homemakers could fill their kitchens with matching Pyrex patterns.

The Jetson’s would love this!

In 1956, 2 quart Jetson-like casseroles on stands (with candle warmers) came out. My mother had something similar to this to go with our Jetson-like kitchen. I wish I had it today. The dish and the kitchen LOL

Some collect by color

There’s a lot more to talk about when it comes to vintage Pyrex. Refrigerator sets, measuring cups, later Pyrex, and all the different patterns, etc. Perhaps we’ll discuss these things later. Stay tuned! … and come on in to the mall. Our merchants usually have some vintage Pyrex!

Carol Fenn 6-2017