You can’t hang around estate sales for very long without eventually running into a piece of Pyrex; for example, a vintage Gooseberry 473 (if you want to get technical). While estate sales aren’t the only places to find vintage Pyrex, they’re a pretty good way to start your search, especially as the Baby Boomers begin to let go of their collections. You can often find better deals at an estate sale than you’ll find online.

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Why Pyrex?

Why not? Part of Pyrex’s popularity is due to the nostalgia factor. Many collectors love Pyrex simply because it reminds them of childhood. Pyrex lover Sylvia Schanche says she inherited pieces from her mother and grandmother and likes using pieces she remembers as a kid growing up in the 60s and 70s. Her vintage Pyrex collection is spread out all over her house because she incorporates her pieces into daily use (known to insiders as “Pyrex in action!”).

On the other end of the Pyrex-collecting spectrum is a young, twenty-something Pyrex enthusiast who calls herself PyrexHellcat. PyrexHellcat says she got into the hobby by way of the whole 1950s-muscle car-pinup scene. Her Pyrex collection is just for show, and she changes her displays with the seasons. For her, Pyrex is a way of expressing her unique style.

For still others, the fun of Pyrex is in the thrill of the hunt. Pyrex aficionado Ashley Jennette said she felt a special thrill whenever she walked into a thrift shop and saw a piece of Pyrex “in the wild.”

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PyrexHellcat’s collection, appropriately displayed in a stylish midcentury hutch.

One thing’s certain: whether you’ve been collecting Pyrex for years or are new to the game, you’ll find that (like anything midcentury modern), the demand outweighs the supply. This sudden surge in popularity makes some Pyrex collectors wary. They don’t want demand driving the value of Pyrex up. (Collectors, whether they’re into Pyrex or Star Wars collectibles, are a lot like hipsters: territorial over their “thing,” whatever it is, and always in search of that next cool piece to add to their collection. . . the more obscure the better).

But don’t let the rabid Pyrex junkies scare you off from this throwback hobby. Pyrex hunting and collecting is fun and easy, if you know what to look out for. But first – the facts.

What Is Pyrex?

Pyrex was originally made out of borosilicate glass, which was created to use in science labs because it didn’t expand or contract with heat. In 1915, the glass was sold to Corning Glassware and branded under the new name “Pyrex” which was then used to create all sorts of kitchenware. It’s been popular ever since, even after the 1998 switch from borosilicate to the cheaper and even more thermal resistant tempered glass.

When the clear-glass ovenware debuted in 1915, it was considered a boon to kitchens everywhere because now chefs (and housewives) could keep an eye on their food while it was cooking. By 1922, the Pyrex line featured 22 different pieces that served various purposes.

pyrex halloween display
Many Pyrex collectors love changing their displays with the seasons, like this one for Halloween.

Pyrex Colors

But the colored vintage Pyrex bowls, which debuted in 1947 and lasted well into the 1980s are what collectors go crazy over. These are the sets comprised of colored and opal dishes featuring silkscreened decorative patterns that your grandmother might have used, and they come in various vessels: casserole dishes, space savers, chip ‘n dip sets, nesting mixing bowls, refrigerator sets that include square-shaped stackable containers called “fridgies,” and more. And don’t forget the famous Cinderella bowls, which feature a spout on either side for easier pouring. Patterned Pyrex also came in other kitchen “compatibles,” like butter dishes, carafes, coffee and tea cups, and even dishes.

Pyrex collection
Part of Ashley Jennette’s extensive Pyrex collection, the winner of our Pyrex photo contest. She says she’s never paid more than $10 for a piece!

Pyrex Patterns

While everyone has their favorite Pyrex pattern, the rarer patterns are in higher demand for obvious reasons. Pyrex patterns are classified as Standard or Promotional. Standard patterns were manufactured for at least two years, while promo patterns were only featured on a limited number of pieces for a limited time. As you can imagine, promotional Pyrex patterns can be quite expensive. In fact, the Pyrex pattern that’s the most in demand can go for upwards of $4,000 and is called Lucky in Love. If you ever find one of these pieces, you’ll be lucky indeed.

But even if you don’t find Lucky in Love, you can still luck out with several other Pyrex patterns at estate sales, Etsy, online, and more. Scroll through our Pyrex Pattern Timeline to find your favorite. If you have a photo of a pattern that’s not on the list, post it below and we’ll add it!

*Promotional Pyrex patterns are marked with an asterisk. 

1915 Antique Pyrex

antique Pyrex bottles
Early Pyrex glass was more opaque than the clear Pyrex you see today. Before Pyrex was used in the kitchen, clear Pyrex was used in science laboratories. Photo by Brad Ruby.

1945 Primary Colors

Pyrex Primary Mixing Bowls
The first of the colored Pyrex, the Primary Colors Mixing Bowls were a huge hit because the “nesting bowls” made them easier to store. Photo by Lisa Jackson.

1956 Pink Daisy

Pyrex Pink Daisy casserole dishes
Originally called White Daisy, the Pink Daisy pattern is a great example of how pattern names are lost or changed over time. Photo by Petra Hendriks.

1956 Snowflake

Vintage Pyrex Snowflake Casserole dish
Turquoise is a popular Pyrex color, and Snowflake, also available in white with turquoise snowflakes, shouldn’t be confused with Snowflake Blue. To make matters more complicated, this pattern also comes in the harder-to-find black. Photo by Sylvia Schanche.

1957 Butterprint

Vintage Pyrex Butterprint Mixing Bowl
Featuring an Amish farmer and his wife surrounded by various crops, this is one of the most collectible Pyrex patterns. It’s also available but much harder to find in pink butterprint and yellow butterprint.

1958 Gooseberry

vintage Pyrex Gooseberry casserole dishes
Any piece of pink Pyrex is a collector favorite. This popular pattern is also found in black.

1958 Balloons*

Vintage Pyrex Balloons Mixing Bowl
A favorite throughout Pyrex history, Balloons features antique hot air balloons, suns and moons. Photo by Ashley Jennette.

1958 Golden Hearts*

Vintage Pyrex Golden Hearts Casserole dish
In addition to colored silkscreening, some patterns were applied in gold leaf, as on this promo pattern, the only to feature hearts besides “Lucky in Love.” Photo by Linda Crawford.

1958 Rooster Black*

Vintage Black Rooster Pyrex Space Saver
Black Pyrex patterns are highly sought after, so keep an eye out for these pieces at estate sales. Photo by Lisa Jackson.

1958 Musical Staff*

Vintage Pyrex Music Staff Space Saver
A rare promotional pattern with no official name. Photo by Ronna Cameron.

1962  Early American

Vintage Pyrex Early American pieces
Once called the most popular decorating theme of the decade, Early American was one of the longest-running patterns and featured brown on white or gold leaf on brown. Photos by Kris Winkler (left), and Sylvia Schanche (right, bottom).

1963 Town & Country

Vintage Pyrex Town & Country Mixing Bowl
Town & Country comes in varying patterns; one popular pattern alternates brown with orange stars (also called Pennsylvania Dutch Hex).

1964 Ivy*

Vintage Pyrex Ivy Mixing Bowl
Ivy first came out as a Chip ‘n Dip set and never had an official name, though Ivy or Green Ivy is how it’s commonly referenced. Photo by Sylvia Schanche.

1964 Terra (Blue)

Vintage Pyrex Terra Blue
Terra originally came in brown and featured a matte finish to resemble earthenware. However, it was discontinued after only a year due to high production costs. Photo by Brad Ruby.

1967 Saxony*

Vintage Pyrex Saxony 476
One of the more sought-after patterns, Saxony features a repeating motif of the Tree of Life. Photo by Ashley Jennette.

1968 Daisy

Vintage Pyrex Daisy Mixing Bowl
“Flower Power” was the mantra of the late 60s as evidenced by this popular pattern that marked a move toward brighter colored Pyrex patterns.

1969 Hearts Scroll/“Celtic Floral”*

Vintage Pyrex Celtic Hearts Casserole Dish
This promo pattern continues with the brighter colored theme and is better known by its nickname “Celtic Floral.” Photo by Ashley Jennette.

1971 Friendship

Vintage Pyrex Friendship Nesting Bowls
“Friendship” is very much of its time, marking the beginning of more nostalgic Pyrex line (see 1972) and the pattern reflected the new “country living” style popular in the 70s.

1972 Snowflake Blue

Vintage Pyrex Garland casserole dish
Known to collectors as “Garland” as to not confuse it with the other popular Pyrex pattern, Snowflake. Photo by Ashley Jennette.

1972 Butterfly Gold

Vintage Pyrex Butterfly Gold Nesting Cinderella Bowls
1972 marked the beginning of Pyrex compatibles, which were things like butter dishes, sugar bowls, and salt & pepper shakers like the ones pictured above. Photo by Lisa Jackson.

1972 Spring Blossom Green

Vintage Pyrex Spring Blossom Cinderella Bowls
One of the longest running patterns, it’s also referred to as “Crazy Daisy” and is one of the more recognizable Pyrex patterns with its signature avocado green.

1978 Woodland

Vintage Pyrex Woodland Casserole Dishes
This pattern is also featured on a light beige, in addition to the darker brown, and sometimes goes by the name “Woodsy Flowers.” Photo by Lisa Jackson.

1980  Autumn Harvest

Vintage Pyrex Autumn Harvest Cinderella Bowl
Autumn Harvest comes in both rust-red and orange and was the last pattern made for refrigerator sets. Not to be confused with the promo pattern “Wheat” which features tan on brown. Photo by Cristi Shawn Threet.

1983 Colonial Mist

Vintage Pyrex Colonial Mist Casserole Dish
Colonial Mist was the last of the colored Pyrex patterns before production ended in 1986.

A huge sincere thank-you to all our FacebookInstagram fans who contributed photos from their lovely Pyrex collections!

References:

 Vintage Pyrex 101

Do you have any photos of vintage Pyrex to add to the timeline? Post them in the comments below!