Yes, you read the title of this post correctly. Pyrex. Vintage Pyrex to be exact. It's kinda my new thing, which pretty much happened out of nowhere.
It started when I felt that I needed new mixing bowls and I wanted vintage mixing bowls to give my kitchen a special touch. I recalled from my distant childhood seeing sets of bowls with handles and printed flowers. That's pretty much it. I set about finding the these bowls, first at the Trenton Punk Rock Flea Market. Um, yeah, fucking awesome place, lots of cool vintage and handmade items but no vintage cookware (I was totally cool with that as I scored a ton of awesome shit).
So, I decided I should try the local antique mall. For those who don't know, an antique mall is usually a large space divided up into stalls or separate areas. Vendors rent these spaces out and carefully tag their items with a code so when you go to pay at a central register, they get paid. I really like the place I go to, it's stuffed full of awesome vintage and antique items and the prices are fairly decent.
I scoured the place, and found exactly what I was looking for:
|The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook is awesome.|
Pink, 1950's divided casserole dish. So very cute, right?
At this point I was happy. I found the bowl I was looking for, and a really terribly adorable casserole dish that was cool for just being a piece of cookware older then me. I also discovered what this stuff actually was - "pyrex". It gave me some pause as I knew I had some random, yet rather ugly, piece of pyrex in my kitchen. Who knew it came in colors?
A few days later a co-worker, knowing my recent proclivities, brought in this really nifty article for me to read. The piece detailed a local couple who transformed their boring kitchen into a 50's style diner kitchen, complete with Juke Box, teal blue booth and kitchen accessories. Whilst finding the right accouterments for their kitchen, they started collecting vintage Pyrex. The article pretty much ends with how the guy got into collecting cookware and basically how awesome pyrex is.
This stuff is collectible?
The article mentioned a website, called Pyrex Love, which was my next stop. Pretty much it's an online compendium of everything pyrex and related to pyrex. Extremely useful for collecting.
From there, I was off and running:
Meet (from left to right): Butterprint refrigerator dish, Friendship round cinderella casserole dish, and Butterfly Gold small cinderella mixing bowl.
Two things: YES, I use most of my pyrex for it's intended uses. No, I don't nuke it in the microwave. Also, I discovered my red guy had a lid, after some research on Pyrex Love. First ebay pyrex purchase, and I was SO nervous it would break. It arrived in perfect shape. (The home made mac and cheese was also delicious!)
From what I understand, the refrigerator sets are not terribly rare, just terribly popular. Probably for the age, kitsch factor, colors and dead usefulness. This set was missing one little red box, I picked it up for 25 bucks, quite a steal.
One of my more recent finds, from the antique store, the Daisy mixing bowl set. It's in really good shape and has already gotten lots of use.
PLATES?!? Yep, they match the little tea cups pictured with the refrigerator box set. I love these. They are so sturdy and extremely pretty. I got mine a little faded, but I don't care.
Above is probably my best piece. I wish I could brag that I found it in the "wild", but it was really on ebay. It's called Balloons, and is a limited edition promotional set called a chip n dip. You see, people in the 50's were more civilized, and seemed to have eaten their chips and dips from actual bowls and not just shoved a mass of chips and dips into their craws as we do today. Anyway, I just have the chip bowl. The dip bowl is hard to find and forget about the bracket to put it all together.
This isn't even the start of what I have. I have acquired more since there pictures were taken (all from my Instafeed, lawl) and I keep getting more. What is it that draws me to this? I couldn't tell you. I love to cook, so having quirky conversational cookware is pretty ballin to me. It's also a no-brainier as I have developed a fascination with all things vintage. I love the idea of a different time, where you brought casseroles to a new neighbor in a pretty dish to welcome them to the neighborhood. Or served up something delicious at a BBQ in a beautiful bowl. The presentation was just as good as the food itself. Perhaps it's that attention to detail and craftsmanship we lack in today's world. Go to Wal-Mart and browse the cookware department. You'll see the same sturdy names from yesteryear - Pyrex and Anchor-Hocking, but the designs are boring and plain. A one size fits all approach to individuality. For someone who embraces her uniqueness and je ne sais quoi, the crap on those shelves is not worth it. It's worth noting that some of my bowls, dishes and bakewear is nearly older than me and my fiancee - combined. That these items have held up over the years speaks volumes about the quality. I have a set of dishes from Target that's pretty much chipped to hell and that was bought only seven years ago.
So, where do I find this stuff? It's tough to find anything good out in the "wild". Thrift stores are usually my first place to stop. There is one large thrift store near me that sometimes has some good finds, like the large yellow mixing bowl from the primary set and red and blue fridge boxes (I bought the blue one, it looked so sad). I see more Corning items and Glassbake than anything. I have also seen the ubiquitous fruit pattern from FireKing countless times. I am still waiting for that ultimate score. I can't help but think the guy from the kitchen article above is picking everything over in the area, haha.
I get frustrated from scouring thrift stores and then go to the Antique Mall to get my fix. I'm not lying, it really is like a fix. The prices there are good, sometimes better than Ebay, and ALWAYS better than smaller boutique like antique stores. I have just recently tried flea markets, one nice one my mother dragged me to as a kid was called "Golden Nugget" in the Lambertville area in New Joisey. They have an outdoor area filled with wonders and an inside building area filled with wonders. One stall like area is JUST PYREX. Well, mostly. She's got Jadeite, Corning, and some other random items. But her prices are astronomical. She knows how much she can charge and has had issues competing with Etsy. I don't buy Pyrex from Etsy. It's overpriced for the idiot hipsters who don't know how to use Ebay. I tend to use Ebay with great sucess and get some amazing deals on there. I've never had a mishap in shipping and never felt I was overpaying.
All in all, Pyrex is pretty much my new thing. It's a fun and fairly cheap collectible. Just...where the hell am I going to put all this stuff!?!