Stories from the Past and Present: PYREX Part 2: Love made with Science

Past and Present Home Gallery is the antique store with character and part of the character comes from all of the wonderful people we get to meet and the stories you tell us. Over the past week we have heard some great stories about your Grandmothers and that special bowl she had that she used for just about everything. And now you have that special recipe in your own home and you need to find that special PYREX bowl because it’s just not a family tradition without it. As we continue to help you find those perfect treasures for your home, let’s take a look at the continuing story of where they came from in the first place:

PRYEX: Love Made with Science

In Part 1 of this story we heard about Jesse Littleton bringing home a sawed-off batter jar for his wife to bake a cake in and how that simple act of love inspired Corning, Inc. to begin manufacturing kitchen glassware under the name of PYREX. The idea was a hit and by 1915 PYREX was a household name. However, things weren’t as easy as pie.

  The first generation of PYREX kitchenware was made using borosilicate glass which has a unique blue-ish-green tint. Today's clear PYREX is made using a very similar material and will also have this tint.

The first generation of PYREX kitchenware was made using borosilicate glass which has a unique blue-ish-green tint. Today's clear PYREX is made using a very similar material and will also have this tint.


In the 1920’s sales of PYREX products decreased considerably. This made the Corning executives look outside the box for better ideas about their products. They consulted with the J. Walker Thompson Company who were breaking new ground in magazine advertising and marketing. The consultants looked at everything from how the product was made to how it was sold and came up with several points of improvement. At the time, retail prices were too high because of an inefficient production process and marketing for the product needed much improvement. So with a long list of what to fix, Corning, Inc. contacted professor Melvin Copeland of the Harvard School of Business to help them put their ideas into action and it worked: in 1929 Corning, Inc. hired a full-time home economist and a full-time scientist just to help educate the customer about their amazing product. In 1931 the Test Kitchen was opened to evaluate and test new products before they came to market.

Through these scientific innovations, the love that sparked PYREX grew. Corning, Inc. was able to purchase additional factory spaces and expanded what the brand had to offer. Over the years PYREX has remained strong, even expanding into Europe, Africa, and the Mid-East. In 1998, Corning, Inc. sold PYREX to its current owners, World Kitchen, and it is estimated that 50 million pieces of PYREX are sold each year.

  It is estimated that more than 150 patterns were created in the Colors line of PYREX. These beautiful bowls were discontinued sometime in the 1980's.

It is estimated that more than 150 patterns were created in the Colors line of PYREX. These beautiful bowls were discontinued sometime in the 1980's.


We can all thank Grandma for her amazing potato salad made in that special bowl; and we can thank PYREX for giving her the tools to get the job done right. We would love to hear more of your stories about the love made in a PYREX bowl. Stop by Past and Present Home Gallery and browse our collection of PYREX and the many other one-of-a-kind finds and collectibles throughout our store.

Can’t wait to see you at Past and Present Home Gallery, the antique store with character!