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Corning Ware Blog

From Marilu:

Why are the Corning Ware Cornflower Blue salt and pepper shakers different? I am looking for the ones with three flowers and have found at least 3 different ones with the same name – Cornflower – but not with three flowers. Are there different companies that make it? My friend collects the one with 3 flowers only. Thanks for any help.
Marilu

Hi Marilu,

Ol’ Swaphos forwarded your email to me. Yes, you’re absolutely correct. Corning Glass never manufactured dispenser-type serving accessories such as salt & pepper shakers, creamers, sugars, vinegar & oil cruets, mustard & catsup sets, syrup pitchers, etc. This left a market void eagerly filled by various companies, notably Gemco, Dispensers, Inc. (Starline and Dripcut), and Dominion Glass of Canada, all of whom produced accessory pieces to coordinate with Corning’s most popular patterns, particularly Spice of Life and Cornflower Blue.

Our Cornflower Blue salt & pepper set, made by Dispensers, Inc., has one flower. Apparently the Gemco S&P’s also have only one flower, but the S&P’s produced by Pyrex have two. I haven’t yet been able to determine which company produced the 3-flower S&P’s, so I’ve added your question to our email pages and hopefully one of our site visitors will know which company produced the 3-flower S&P’s you’re looking for.

Best wishes,
Miss Kitty

From Tonya:

Hi Miss Kitty,

I have a set of the blue cornflower salt and pepper shakers with three blue cornflowers and have found some information on the following link.

www.corellecorner.com/chrome-top-guide/81-dominion-glass.html

Hope this helps answer some of Marilu's questions.

Thanks,
Tonya

Dear Tonya:

Thank you for taking the time to write and answer Marilu’s question. Looks like Dominion Glass of Canada is the only company that produced the 3-flower Cornflower Blue salt and pepper shakers. Your link provides a wealth of information about this company, and I thank you so much for sending it. We’re all in this together and learn from each other.

Again, thanks for your email. Of course we’ve added it to our email pages so other site visitors will have this information, too.

Best wishes,
Miss Kitty

 

From Terri:

I read the Corning Ware history on your site.  If I understand correctly, all Cornflower Blue pieces would be made out of the pyroceram and be range safe, even if not marked so on the bottom. You have a few Cornflower Blue casseroles listed for sale that do not state 'for range and microwave'.  Am I correct in thinking all the cornflower blue pieces are made from pyroceram and range safe?

Thank you,
Terri in Alabama

Hi Terri,

Thank you for your email. Your question is a good one, and the short answer is no, not all Cornflower Blue pieces are safe to use on the stovetop – but then things get really original stylecomplicated really fast! The original Cornflower Blue pieces produced by Corning Glass between 1958 and 1971 were made of pyroceram and were safe for use on the range, as well as in the oven, but they didn’t say so on their bottoms. Everybody just “knew” that thanks to Corning’s aggressive advertising campaign, not to mention word of mouth as we all told each other about this wonderful new line of indestructible cookware that went straight from the stove or oven (via detachable handles) to the table (cradled in their nifty little caddies).

new style - markednew style - unmarkedThe new Cornflower Blue style (straighter sides, squarer shape) produced by Corning between 1972 and 1998 were likewise made of pyroceram and therefore safe for use on the stovetop, as well as in that most marvelous of new inventions – the microwave! Remember, most of us didn’t get a microwave until the late 1970s or early 1980s. The Cornflower Blue casseroles from this era often – but not always – say on their bottoms that they’re safe to use both ways. For instance, our 2-quart casserole is marked that way, but our 1.5 litre casserole isn’t.

But then comes the problem. Corning’s entire Consumer Products Division was spun off as World Kitchens, Inc. in 1998 and the subsequent Corning Ware pieces produced by World Kitchens, including their Cornflower Blue pieces, were NOT made of pyroceram and most definitely are NOT safe to use on the stove. At best they’ll crack or break. At worst they’ll actually explode!

I thought this was still the case until I did some more research on pyroceram in preparation to answering your email. Guess what – World Kitchens has just recently (latter part of 2009) reintroduced pyroceram cookware! Their website calls it their StoveTop line and it’s available in Cornflower Blue and 2-3 other patterns. They appear to be the straight-sided shape and I have no idea whether or not they are marked on their bottoms as being safe for rangetop use.

So the bottom line is this: all Corning Ware, of whatever age and whatever pattern, is safe to use in the microwave and in the oven at temperatures of 350 degrees or less. If you trust your eye (or that of your mom or grandma) to know when you’re looking at an original 1958-1971 Cornflower Blue piece, those are certainly safe to use on the range. It’s the squarer more straight-sided pieces produced after 1971 that are the real problem. There’s no way to know for sure which of these pieces are safe to use on the stovetop unless they specifically say so on their bottoms.

Again, thank you for your email. I’ve added it to our email pages and have also updated the Corning Ware Story to reflect World Kitchen’s 2009 reintroduction of pyroceram cookware and warn folks not to use “mystery” Cornflower Blue pieces on the stovetop.

Best wishes,
Miss Kitty

 

From Merissa:

Thanks for some enjoyable reading!

About 10 days ago my step-mom (of 38 years) passed away. Just last night I went to her home to pick up a few items to remember her by.  Happily, I ended up with her Blue Cornflower set  (about 4 casseroles with lids, a loaf pan, a roaster and 2 pie pans. I’m very happy about that.

Question. Do you know of a web site that not only lists the CorningWare patters, but shows a picture as well?

Hope you’re having a wonderful day.

Merissa

Hi Merissa,

Ol' Swaphos forwarded your email to me. Our condolences on the loss of your step-mom.

I couldn't find any website showing all the Corning Ware patterns, so I remedied that situation and put up a new page in the Corning Ware section of our SFTP site showing all the patterns I have pictures of, plus :a list of the patterns whose photos I'm still looking for. Hopefully other site visitors will have them and send them to me.

You know, you had a very good idea and I thank you for it. That's one of the things I most love about being the proprietress of Santa Fe Trading Post. I never know who is going to send me an email with a question, some new information about an old question, or a really good idea! What fun!

Glad you enjoyed reading our site and congratulations on your "new" Cornflower Blue acquisitions. Even a roaster! Woo-hoo!

Best wishes,
Miss Kitty

Hi Miss Kitty,

What a lovely response to my email! And, wow! You got busy! Thanks so much for the time you took to do this.

Take care,
Merissa

Good morning Miss Kitty!

I looked on ebay for the patterns you said you don’t have a picture of. I found 4 of them, but one was just a plate. Anywho, here’s those pictures.

Have yourself a good day,
Merissa

Hi Merissa,

Well, duh! Never overlook the obvious! I was in such a hurry to get the new Corning Ware patterns page up for you that I didn’t even think about trying an online search for my “missing” patterns. Thanks so much for the photos. I’m glad to see that none of them has any kind of a copyright mark on it, so it’s okay to “reuse” them, especially for educational purposes such as here.

I keep saying we’re all in this together and we learn from each other when it comes to identifying vintage patterns, company logos, maker’s marks, and all kinds of other things related to all kinds of products, and you just proved my point. What one person doesn’t know, another person does. That’s a big part of what makes this all so much fun!

Thanks again for the photos. I’ve updated the patterns page and have of course added your emails to our SFTP emails page. And a good day right back at you!

Miss Kitty

 

From Lisa:

Dear Miss Kitty,

Thank you so much for making the Corning Ware story available. I grew up in a house that had “Spice of Life” and I am now trying to collect all of the pieces. My husband is an artist that makes wooden cooking utensils and I use them in all of my cookware so if I can get the pieces that I need of this collection they should last forever!

Thank you again for this story...it took me back to the simple times when my mom taught me to stir and simmer with “patience.”

Warmly,
Lisa

P.S. Here is my husband’s web site if you're interested.     www.tomoreed.com

Hi Lisa,

Thank you for your email. I’m glad you enjoyed the Corning Ware story. It’s interesting to me, but not really surprising, that whether people collect Cornflower Blue or Spice of Life is a very generational thing. Those of us who grew up in the 50s and became wives and mothers in the 60s fondly remember (and still use) the Cornflower Blue pieces because that’s what our moms bought as soon as they appeared in 1958 and we continued the tradition in our own homes. Some of us never did switch over to Spice of Life when it became available in 1972, but a lot of you who grew up in the 70s fondly remember your mothers having many Spice of Life pieces and that’s the pattern you prefer. Either way, Corning Ware is one of those iconic things that really does evoke happy memories in millions of people, particularly us females. Besides, it’s so darn functional, virtually unbreakable, and does indeed last forever.

Thanks again for your email. We’ve added it to our email pages, including a link to your husband’s site. I’ve already been there and his wooden utensils are truly works of art!

Best wishes,
Miss Kitty

 

From John:

Hello,

My name is John and I enjoyed reading your most extensive history of Corningware on your website. You obviously know your stuff and I would like to ask you some questions about some of the cookware that I have. I'm trying to date some of the cookware that I have and I was hoping you could take time-out and help me date the following dishes:

  1. 10" Cornflower casserole with pyroceram lid - No 'P' marking on the bottom.  Only blue stamp, (first line) "10 IN'    CORNING (logo) WARE; (next line) PYROCERAM     MADE IN USA (end)."  After reading your history I believe that this is one of the first ones made, I'm guessing between 1958 and 1960 because of the pyroceram lid. I'm guessing because it doesn't have the imprint of the model 'A-series' that it's not 1972 or later and because it doesn't have the 'P-series' stamp on the bottom (in black) that it's not made in the late 1960's.
  2. 1.5 qt Cornflower casserole with finned pyrex lid - No 'P' marking on the bottom. Only blue stamp, (first line) "1 1/2 QT.    CORNING (logo) WARE; (next line) PYROCERAM MADE IN USA (end)."  After reading your history I believe that this is one was made toward the beginning but, sort of, the second generation.  I'm guessing between 1958 and 1962 because of the finned lid. I'm guessing because it doesn't have the imprint of the model 'A-series' that it's not 1972 or later and because it doesn't have the 'P-series' stamp on the bottom (in black) that it's not made in the late 1960's.
  3. 1 qt Cornflower casserole, is the same as the 1.5 qt except I don't have a lid and the stamp on the bottom says, "1 QT." instead of "1 1/2 QT." They were both gifted to me together so I'm assuming at one time the 1 qt had a finned lid as well.
  4. This one is a bit easier to tell, it's post-1971 because it has 'A-series' imprint on the handle with the Corningware name imprinted on the opposite handle.  It comes with a pyrex lid but this knob on this lid is more flared and larger than the previous versions.  The model number for this one is 'A - 1 1/2 - B   1.5L'.  So this dish should have been made between 1972 - 1988.

Any help you could offer me would be much appreciated.

Thanks,
John

Hi John,

What a great email! I really appreciate your detailed descriptions of your vintage Corning Ware pieces – sure makes answering questions a lot easier! Actually, you’ve done an excellent analysis of your pieces and I think you’re right on with the conclusions you reached. Nevertheless, your email sent me scurrying for all my Corning Ware research materials just to make sure. I also found some pictures that illustrate what we’re talking about.

First about your 10" casserole (actually a skillet) with the Pyroceram lid. You’re right. The very first Corning Ware line of “distinctive all-purpose skillets and saucepans made of the super-ceramic Pyroceram” was introduced in the fall of 1958 and consisted of a 10" skillet, a 1 qt saucepan, a 1-3/4 qt saucepan, and a 2-1/2 qt saucepan, all of which had Pyroceram lids. Interestingly enough, the saucepan lids had fin handles, whereas the 10" skillet lids had knob handles. As far as I know, the larger Pyroceram lids had knob handles right from the beginning; at least I’ve never seen one with a fin handle. (More on lid styles later.) All four pieces fit Corning’s original accessory pieces – a detachable handle and a metal cradle – although the 10" skillet substantially hung out over the P HandleA Handleedges of the cradle’s base portion! Obviously the original detachable handle was the P handle (whether marked as such or not) with the turning lock mechanism and hanging loop at the far end. The A handle appeared in 1972 when Corning changed the shape of Corning Ware to straighter sides and wider lug handles that required a wider detachable handle. The A detachable handle also had a sleeker overall appearance and most – all?? – had no hanging loop at the far end.

Pyrex fin handlePyrex fin handleNow about lids – and here we have a mystery! Try though I might, I have been unable to discover when Corning switched from Pyroceram lids to clear glass (Pyrex) lids. Only one of my Corning Ware reference books talks about lids and it says that “all Corning Ware saucepans came with Pyrex fin-handled covers from 1958-1962.” Well, no they didn’t. We already know about the Pyroceram lids on the original (September 1958) saucepans. So either the author made a mistake or else the Pyroceram lids were produced for only a month or two before being superseded by Pyrex lids by the end of the year. Based on the number of Pyroceram lids out there, that doesn’t seem likely, so I think the author made a mistake. He also shows photos of what look to be a Cornflower Blue 10" skillet, a 1 qt saucepan, and a 1-3/4 qt saucepan, all with Pyrex fin-handled lids, so obviously the 10" skillet Pyrex lids had fin handles even though the 10" skillet Pyroceram lids had only knob handles! Whew! Are you thoroughly confused by now???

What we do know is that the fin handles were only produced for four years. Starting in 1962, all Corning Ware skillets and saucepans (casseroles) had clear Pyrex lids with knob handles. From 1962-1971, the knobs were 1-1/4" in diameter with slightly concave tops. The lid itself was a 7-1/4" square with gently rounded corners, a 1/2" lip, and two concentric circles around the knob. When the shape of Corning Ware changed in 1972, the lids changed, too. Now they were smaller (7" across) with a narrower lip and only one circle around the knob which had grown to 1-7/8" in diameter with a more deeply concave center.

Original shape

Original Pyrex knob lid

1972 shape

1972 Pyrex knob lid

So what’s the bottom line on your vintage Corning Ware pieces? Like I said at the beginning, you nailed all of them yourself!

  1. 10" Cornflower Blue casserole with Pyroceram lid – yes, it has to be one of the original Cornflower Blue pieces. Since we don’t know exactly when Corning switched from Pyroceram lids to Pyrex lids, but we do know that the 10" skillets had Pyrex fin handles sometime prior to 1962, I’d say your guess that your piece was produced between 1958-1960 is very accurate.
  2. 1.5 qt Cornflower Blue casserole with finned Pyrex lid – again, based on the Pyroceram-Pyrex lid mystery, I’d say your guess that your piece was produced between 1960-1962 is very accurate.
  3. 1 qt Cornflower Blue casserole with no lid – since you received this one with the 1.5 qt one, you’re undoubtedly right that it, too, was produced between 1960-1962 and originally had a finned Pyrex lid. Or the other possibility is that the original owner bought both pieces as a scaled-down set of two casseroles with one lid that fit both.
  4. 1.5 L Cornflower Blue casserole with Pyrex lid – definitely of the 1972-1988 period based on three tipoffs: the A series imprint, the much larger lid knob, and the 1.5 L size. The original (1958-1971) Corning Ware didn’t come in metric sizes. And Corning did indeed retire the Cornflower Blue pattern in 1988.

Thanks again for your email. Naturally we’ve added it to our emails page so other site visitors will get the benefit of all the details you brought up about the early Cornflower Blue cookware. This has been such fun – I just love all this historical detail stuff and it sounds like you do, too! And if anyone can solve the mystery of exactly when Corning switched from Pyroceram lids to Pyrex lids, please email me. I’m dying to know!

Best wishes,
Miss Kitty

 

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