Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

March 12, 2014

Linda Hamer Kennett: Pyrex: Tough as nails

By Linda Hamer Kennett
Daily News

---- — “There’s nothing in the kitchen cabinets but a bunch of pots and pans.”

This has to be the most common comment I hear as I assist clients with an assessment of their household contents when liquidating an estate.

True, there are always an assortment of pots and pans, baking dishes, very used Tupperware and a set or two of everyday dishes. But in many cases there will be a little gem or two in the back of the cabinet that people often deem worthless.

Taken for granted, because they seem so common, these brightly colored pieces of kitchenware are growing in popularity as a collectible. They are called Pyrex.

Not to be confused with more recent issues, it is the Pyrex product from 1946 through the late 1960s that collectors are looking for. “Tough as nails and guaranteed,” the original borosilicate formula for Pyrex was replaced after just a few years by a soda-lime composition line created specifically for the US military effort during World War II. After the war, Pyrex products were made of this opal glass and decorated with bright solid colors or patterns.

As evident from some online sites, most notably Pinterest, collectors are amassing huge collections of the popular kitchenware including refrigerator sets, nesting mixing bowls, salt and pepper shakes, and one of the hottest of this group of collectibles, Cinderella bowls.

First introduced in 1958, the “Cinderella” nesting bowls took the already popular mixing bowl concept a step further by adding a handle on one side and a pour-spout on the other. First year issues came in three patterns and were available in turquoise, pink, yellow and black. Sandalwood, currently a very popular color, was added in 1961.

Casserole dishes, made in colors and patterns to coordinate with the mixing bowls first appeared in the late ‘40s. Some were a part of kitchenware sets, while others were sold only at holiday time or in other company promotions. The lids for casseroles came with a variety of top knobs and some had none at all. A favorite among collectors is the 1957 2-quart casserole that came with a candle warmer. Cinderella features were added a year later.

Oven-refrigerator sets are one of the most common finds in Pyrex, but are often incomplete. A spin-off of the squared stack-able clear glass issues of the late 1920s, the colored refrigerator sets introduce in 1949 came in a 1.5 quart yellow, 1.5 pint in blue and 1.5 cups in red, all with clear ribbed lids.

Perhaps the most popular of all Pyrex collectibles are the nesting bowls. The first produced were the “#400 Multicolored Mixing Bowls,” or primary bowls. The set will include a 4-quart yellow bowl, a 5-quart green bowl, a 1.25-quart red bowl, and a half-quart blue bowl.

Note that all Pyrex mixing bowls from all eras come in these four sizes, but the newer ones will have thinner walls.

Pyrex patterns that are currently trending include “Gooseberry,” “New Dot,” “Daisy,” “Terra,” and – if you are lucky enough to find it – a rare promotional pattern called Balloons. Collectors note: Pyrex is often found at garage and estate sales, so be on the lookout as sales will be starting soon.

Until next time,

Linda

Linda Hamer Kennett is a professional liquidation consultant specializing in down-sizing for seniors and the valuation of estates and may be reached at 317-429-7887 or lkennett@indy.rr.com