Collecting vintage Pyrex is a recent hobby of mine. I'd guess I've been doing it for just about two years now. I don't have a lot of pieces for two simple reasons:
1. I'm really cheap. Like, really. I'm used to shopping at Goodwill, so I want to pay Goodwill prices. Also, because I do like to hang out at antique malls, I know what the pieces go for there so I know when the pricing folks at Goodwill have been smoking the proverbial crack, so to speak. After all, a collectible is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it!
2. This simple mantra:
Some people say they collect a certain item, but they really just buy anything that fits into that category. Soon their homes are completely over run with what basically amounts to junk. I don't want that to happen to my house! I mean, I like my stuff, don't get me wrong, but I also follow the adage "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."
I've been collecting milk glass for about five years now, I think. I did start out just buying anything I came across, but quickly realized that was no way to go about building a collection! Who wants a bunch of cheap florist vases and ugly grapevine stuff cluttering their shelves? Not me! I became more selective with what I bought and set some rules for myself. I skipped the more opaque pieces, with a few exceptions. No hobnail - not my thing. No grapevines either. (No offense to people who like those things! They're just not my style More for them I guess.)
Of course, as I scoured the shelves of all my local Goodwills for something to add to my collection I kept coming across a different kind of milk glass - of the Pyrex variety. For a long time I resisted them. I wanted to stay with my nice, plain white pieces. I replaced the utilitarian clear glass items in my cupboards with lovely white Fire King custard cups
and old Hamilton Beach and Sunbeam mixer bowls. I pieced together a three piece set of lovely Federal glass bowls
, as well as this set:
They are shaped like Pyrex, but the bottoms didn't have the mark so I just figured they were nice plain milk glass mixing bowls. I bought each one separately at different thrift shops at different times, just like the Federal bowls. They're nice and sturdy and I use them all the time.
Of course, eventually I caved and started to pick up Pyrex here and there. Lately, I've started to really get into it though, looking through boards on Pinterest and searching hashtags on Instagram. I joined a Vintage Pyrex group on Facebook. I decided I wanted to learn the model numbers of the different pieces, so I started to read Pyrex Love
. I noticed a couple of times that a bowl looking like the smallest bowl in my set would pop up here and there. I started to wonder - could my bowls be Pyrex too?
I took this photo and took advantage of my new forum; the vintage Pyrex group
on Facebook. Within a few hours I had my answer, via a link to a site called Corelle Corner
"400-Series Round Nesting Bowls:
Available from 1954 to 1956, plain white 400-series nesting bowls were called an Opal Bowl Set. This set was less expensive than decorated bowls, often priced 25% to 50% cheaper. The peculiar feature of Opal bowls is the absence of a backstamp; there is no brand name, model number or capacity marked on the bottom. What might be on the bottom is a one or two digit mould number, but this could be absent too. Any 400-series bowl that does say "Pyrex" on the bottom would have had some kind of decoration originally, either patterned, solid-coloured, or gold-banded."
Well, hot damn. Let's hear it for surprise Pyrex!