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Where was your Vintage Pyrex made?

Vintage Boxed English Pyrex Corning Rolling Pin

Where was your Vintage Pyrex made?

We have recently been discussing our love for Vintage Pyrex ™ on the Google Plus Vintage and Antiques community. Besides our appreciation for this versatile and iconic glassware, I was actually more intrigued by its manufacturing history.  Just exactly where was your pre-1998 vintage Pyrex made?

vintage pyrex
1946 advert for U.S Pyrex

Well, if you are on the American continent, Pyrex is always described as an American classic and it is highly likely to have been manufactured at the Corning Glass Works factory in New York: {click on this link to find out about the Corning Museum of Glass (cmog)}. However, Corning didn’t make all vintage Pyrex in the US. In fact, Corning licensed Pyrex manufacturing at many different factories around the globe. Even the brand names and some of the patterns are different, such as, Corningware (USA) and Pyroflam (Europe).  Some are US only patterns including ‘Butterprint,’ better known as ‘Amish,’ which I love!

vintage pyrex
US Pyrex Butterprint or ‘Amish’

How did this borosilicate glass, originally designed in 1909 and used as railway signal lamp glass due to its low thermal expansion properties, become so popular? The fact that it could withstand sudden temperature differences made it an ideal choice for laboratory glass and kitchen ware. From the very first sale in 1915 of a 25cm (10″) flan dish for $0.65, at the James Marsh department store in Boston, US, it was obvious that Pyrex was here to stay!

Vintage Boxed English Pyrex Corning Rolling Pin
1970s Vintage Boxed English Pyrex Corning Rolling Pin, made by Jobling

With the arrival of the opal patterned Pyrex, the kitchen market exploded, unlike your Pyrex. But is that an urban myth? I can attest that as a student I managed to, unwittingly, make my Pyrex casserole dish explode whilst baking potatoes in an electric oven!

Patterns and Manufacturers

United Kingdom

J.A. Joblings started making Pyrex in Sunderland, UK, in 1922. They had heard about the success of the new glassware, Pyrex, in the U.S. As producers of glass in the UK, they quickly saw the potential of this new type of glass, (by this stage Pyrex kitchen ware sales had exceeded $1 million). They succeeded in obtaining a licence to manufacture and sell to the, then, large British Empire in 1922.

Joblings changed name several times in its history but were responsible for producing millions of UK made Pyrex products. At its height, it employed over 3000 people! Sadly, the factory closed in 2007 and manufacturing moved to France.

A few of the Pyrex patterns unique to Joblings include Matchmaker, Autumn Glory and Chelsea:-

Australia And New Zealand

In 1926, Pyrex licensed manufacturing to Crown Crystal Glass (owned by parent company ACI Glass). It wasn’t until the 1960s that the Australian company commenced production of opal Pyrex. Before then they imported it from the UK. Australian Pyrex is often called ‘Agee’ (Australian Glass).

Some bespoke Australian designs are from their Festive Ware range and include, Flannel Flowers and Golden Pine:-

vintage pyrex
Flannel Flowers

 

vintage pyrex
Golden Pine Agee Pyrex

Crown Crystal Glass also opened a subsidiary company in Christchurch, New Zealand in the 1960s. A pattern best associated with the New Zealand company is Gumnut Blossom.

vintage pyrex
New Zealand Gumnut blossom

 

Vintage Pyrex popularity continues to boom and rightly so! As with most ‘accidental’ inventions this one proved a winner for domestic gods/goddesses and laboratory workers the world over!

For more vintage related blogs, please click on the following link.

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