Cooking | July 11, 2021 5:31 pm

A New Generation Embraces Vintage Pyrex

Some things never go out of style

Pyrex
One of the most popular type of dishes from Pyrex is the refrigerator dish.
Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

It’s as true for cars as it is for clothing — sometimes the classics really do endure. That same ethos has turned up in some unexpected places as well, including around the house. A new report from Amy McCarthy at Eater spotlights the growing market for vintage Pyrex cookware — which has prompted some bowls and dishes to sell for thousands of dollars online.

The origins of Pyrex dare back over a century, when Corning Glass Works developed a new glass compound called Nonex. After realizing that it could be useful in the kitchen, its manufacturer began using the compound for kitchenware. In a 2015 article at The Kitchn, Casey Barber noted that its properties made it especially useful for cooking. “[I]t was able to withstand temperature changes, didn’t discolor, didn’t react with ingredients to change the taste of food (like cast iron), [and] didn’t retain food smells after washing (like ceramics and earthenware),” Barber wrote.

Barber noted in the same article that many people used the same Pyrex kitchenware throughout their lives. That durability certainly plays a part in this renewed interest in the cookware as well.

At Eater, McCarthy observed that a host of factors play into the popularity of Pyrex, from the endurance of the Midcentury Modern aesthetic to the cookware’s durability. The article also points to the influence of two popular shows on Pyrex’s resurgence — Mad Men and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. And it reveals that some buyers of vintage Pyrex prefer the look of this kitchenware above all else — in other words, they’re not planning to actually use it for cooking. Which might seem a bit counterproductive, all things considered.