Corning Ware, also written CorningWare, was originally a brand name for a unique glass-ceramic (Pyroceram brand) glass cookware resistant to thermal shock. It was first introduced in 1958 by Corning Glass Works. Corning Ware can be taken from the refrigerator or freezer and used directly on the stovetop, in an oven or microwave, under a broiler, for table / serving use, and when ready for cleaning put directly into a dishwasher.
In 1953 S. Donald Stookey of the Corning Research and Development Division discovered Pyroceram, a white glass-ceramic material capable of withstanding a thermal shock (sudden temperature change) of up to 450 °C (840 °F), by accident.
He was working with photosensitive glass and placed a piece into a furnace planning on heating it to 600 degrees Fahrenheit. When he checked on his sample the furnace was at 900 degrees and the glass had turned milky white. He reached into the furnace with tongs to discard the sample and it slipped and hit the floor without shattering.
Patterns and products
Corning Ware's range/oven-to-table service first featured the blue 'Cornflower' pattern decoration, designed by Joseph Baum, an artist at the Charles Brunelle Advertising Agency in Hartford, Connecticut. It became the trademark of Corning consumer products for three decades. Following the 'Cornflower' pattern, many additional patterns were offered by Corning over the years. Care must be made to distinguish between Corning Ware patterns for cookware made of Pyroceram, and patterns for tableware marketed under the Corelle or Pyrex brand names, all by Corning Glass Works Consumer Products Division. Many Corning Ware patterns were also used for Corelle tableware, which can make distinguishing difficult.
The lids of CorningWare and Pyroflam are not made of vitroceramic material. The lids for pieces in the Visions, Corning Ware Beige/Sandstone and Pyroflam Amber lines are made of tempered soda-lime glass while the lids for the white collection are made of borosilicate glass. Unlike the vitroceramic cookware, these lids cannot touch burners or fire directly, but they do fine in the oven (if not touching the source of heat) or on the stove top, as long as they are over their vitroceramic bases.
More than 750 million pieces of Corning Ware's range/oven-to-table service have been manufactured since its inception. A partial product list includes: browning skillets, cake pans, casserole dishes, coffee pots (drip), dinner service (Centura by Corning), Dutch ovens, frying pans, grab-it bowls, loaf pans, percolators, pie plates, ramekins, restaurant ware (Pyroceram), roasters, sauce pans, skillets, souffle dishes, and teapots.
Production of the original pyroceramic glass version of CorningWare in the United States ceased in 2000.
The World Kitchen's 2001 annual report shows that the stove top and dinnerware product lines were halted at the end of the century "as part of a program designed to reduce costs through the elimination of under-utilized capacity, unprofitable product lines, and increased utilization of the remaining facilities." Facilities in Charleroi, Pennsylvania and Clinton, Illinois were closed.
Reintroduction of CorningWare and Pyroceram
In 2009, the stovetop line of CorningWare was reintroduced by World Kitchen. The cookware is manufactured by Keraglass/Eurokera (a subsidiary of Corning also specialised in vitroceramics for cooktop panels and equipment for laboratories) in Bagneaux-Sur-Loing, France. This is the only factory in the world still manufacturing vitroceramics (aluminosilicate glass) for cookware. At the time it restarted the production of CorningWare, Keraglass/Eurokera was able to abandon the use of arsenic in the manufacture of their vitroceramics, thanks to the modern technology of their newly built oven.
Arc International, Europe, sells equivalent cookware to CorningWare under the name Pyroflam with a slightly different design. Since 2009, Pyroflam has been manufactured in the same French factory as CorningWare.
World Kitchen sells similar looking products under the CorningWare brand name (including a copy of "French White") that are common white glazed stoneware. The packaging for these newer CorningWare branded cookware products say specifically that they are not for stovetop use.
World Kitchen does still sell Pyroceram Corning Ware to its Asia–Pacific market. These items can be purchased in local department stores there. Additional patterns have been created for this market, including Bliss, Blue Elegance, Cool Pansies, Country Rose, Dainty Flora, Dandy Blossoms, Elegant City, European Herbs, Herb Country, Lilyville, Lush, Petite Trio, Plum, Salad Seasons and Warm Pansies.
Corelle is the brand name for the highly break-resistant glass dishware, using a special hub lamination process that thermally bonds three layers of glass — a core center surrounded by top and bottom layers of "skin" or "glaze" glass. The glass was decorated using unique enamels that actually became a part of the glass, creating durable, scratch-resistant designs. Both of these products were originally developed by the Corning Glass Works in Corning, New York.
- William Yardley (November 6, 2014). "S. Donald Stookey, Scientist, Dies at 99. Among His Inventions Was CorningWare". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-12-26.
When I came back, the temperature gauge was stuck on 900 degrees, and I thought I had ruined the furnace ... When I opened the door to the furnace, I saw the glass was intact and had turned a milky white. I grabbed some tongs to get it out as fast as I could, but the glass slipped out of the tongs and fell to the floor. The thing bounced and didn’t break. It sounded like steel hitting the floor. ...
- WKI Holding Company, Inc. (2001-04-13). "Annual Report: 10-K (Securities and Exchange Commission Filing)". Retrieved 2007-03-26.
- WKI Holding Company, Inc. (2001-04-01). "Quarterly Report: 10-K SEC Filing". Retrieved 2007-03-26.
- History | Corelle.com Archived December 15, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
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