Many collectors appreciate the value and practicality of vintage CorningWare. Not only is it fun to display, it can be used in the oven, freezer, refrigerator, or the microwave.
Popular CorningWare Patterns and Designs
Although CorningWare is still in production, the term "vintage CorningWare" refers to items that were made prior to 1999. While CorningWare's Cornflower Blue pattern is perhaps one of their most well-known patterns, there are other great patterns to collect. A few include:
The first design released, as well as the one produced in the most quantity, was the Cornflower Blue pattern. This simple decoration featured three blue flowers on a simple white background and became the trademark pattern for over thirty years. The handles were quite small and the earliest pieces had sloped sides. After 1972, the sides became straighter and the handles became larger. The pattern has been revived in recent years.
This pattern was popular on coffee percolators from 1959 to 1963. The blue black version is considered highly collectible. CorningWare coffee percolators of any vintage are somewhat rare. They were recalled during the late 1970s and few are still in existence in their entirety. Beware when buying or selling.
The Floral Bouquet was produced from around 1971 to 1975. It featured outlined blooms with hints of blue and yellow. Large blooms made up the central design with smaller clusters surrounding it.
The Blue Heather design was made for a short amount of time in the mid-1970s. It features small five-petal blooms in blue that cover most of the dish sides. Small leaves and vinery connect the flowers.
Nature's Bounty is a limited edition pattern made in 1971. It features mustard-yellow vegetables with a harvest feel on a pale white dish.
Created in 1975, this pattern features two blue birds facing one another with an orange and yellow tulip between them. It has a folk-art feel to the design. Sometimes it is referred to as the "Friendship Blue Bird" pattern as well.
Spice O' Life
This pattern is the second most produced design. It was produced from 1972 through 1987, and featured the earth tones that were so popular in the 1970s. Spice O' Life was a band of vegetables that included mushrooms, artichokes and garlic. L'Echalote (the shallot) was written in script under the vegetables on some pieces. This pattern was also known as "French Spice" because of this.
French White was released in 1978. The United States was in the midst of an infatuation with French cooking and CorningWare filled a need for oven to table ease. The French White is a classic, timeless design. The French White should not be confused with an earlier release, All White (Just White) which was manufactured from 1965 to 1968. French White is a softer white and has a more modern look.
Orange poppies showed up in 1978. The orange was accented with yellow, blue, and green and this pattern was manufactured until 1984. This design was more intricate that former CorningWare designs.
The English Meadow pattern was from the 1980s and 1990s. It featured small vines of tiny blooms in yellow, orange-red, and blue. Several versions of this pattern were produced.
Is Vintage CorningWare Valuable?
Vintage CorningWare designs are still very affordable. They are readily available at thrift stores, garage sales and online very inexpensively. You can find some pieces for as little as 50 cents and very few will cost over 10 dollars. Harder to find pieces may go for around $30 to $50, but few are truly rare collectibles valued at a high dollar amount. Pieces that are worth more to be ones that have flaws or extremely limited production and while these have sold for thousands of dollars, it is still uncommon. For example, the Black Starburst pattern is considered rare and even so, a percolator recently sold for around $70 on eBay.
Beware of Asking Price Versus Sold Price
Due to a recent upswing in interest, many collectors are asking for thousands of dollars for their pieces on resale websites such as eBay. However, an asking price does not mean the piece is worth that much. Instead, check recently sold listings or visit with a kitchenware appraiser to find out what a piece is worth before buying or selling CorningWare.
CorningWare Trivia and Tips
CorningWare has evolved over the years, so knowing more about the company and its products is helpful for the avoid kitchen collectibles user. Corning no longer makes CorningWare. It was purchased by another company, World Kitchen, who also owns Pyrex.
How to Tell if CorningWare Is Pyroceram
CorningWare was made of Pyroceram a ceramic-glass invention from S. Donald Stookey in the early 1950s. This material could withstand very high temperatures, making it a good choice for kitchenware and other uses. If you look at your dish bottom and it says "not for stovetop" then it is not Pyroceram. Dishes today are made from both Pyroceram and ceramic stoneware, so it is important to know what your piece is made from before using it.
Keep your vintage CorningWare in top condition by following these cleaning tips:
- Do not wash in the dishwasher or use dish soap with lemon. It will fade the design and ruin the finish.
- Baking soda mixed with water is a cleaning option. Just rub on gently and rinse thoroughly for sparkling CorningWare.
- Denture cleaner may also work for cleaning. Cover the dish with warm water and drop in two or three denture cleaning tablets.
- If the piece has gray streaks, it means that the finish is wearing off. There is nothing that can be done for that.
Is It Safe for the Microwave?
Since the old CorningWare was made before the microwave, is it safe to cook with in a microwave? CorningWare is safe to use in the microwave as long as it doesn't have metal parts attached. The Corning company also manufactured certain products that are not safe to use in the microwave. Among them are:
- Any design which has gold leaf, silver leaf or platinum on it.
- Solid glass lids with screw on knobs
- Centura, a dinnerware that preceded Corelle
- Any CorningWare that has obvious flaws, cracks, or air bubbles
You can read more about identifying which items should not be used in the microwave at Corelle Corner.
Testing for Microwave
If you are still not sure, you can try this test:
- Fill a microwave-safe cup or measuring cup with water.
- Put it in the microwave with the dish you are testing. Do not allow them to touch.
- Heat on high for one minute.
- If the empty dish is warm or hot do not use it in the microwave in the future.
Beloved Kitchenware Brand for Generations of Families
Vintage CorningWare has been beloved by the American family for decades. The pieces were so well made that they have lasted in continuous use for fifty years or more. Since these items are affordable they are a wonderful way to outfit a vintage kitchen. There are many price guides that are specific to Corning, Pyrex, and other glassware. These can help the novice collector find both the pattern and the value of nearly any piece. If you have other antique dishes or stoneware crocks, learn about their value too.