Friday, August 16, 2013

The Find of the Centura - Cornflower Centura Dinnerware

I have been concentrating so hard on actual Corningware that I have forgotten to mention one of the other Corning products I collect.  Though I really haven't had all that much of it in my collection so far.  As in, none.  Even though I have been searching tirelessly for it since 2010; ever since I first heard of it.  That is, up until now. 

That would be the somewhat infamous and elusive Centura.......

Centura (1966-1977) is kind of like the older brother, or sister, of Corelle.  It's similar to Corningware, in that it is a type of Pyroceram, but unlike Corningware, it is glazed.  Corningware is self glazing, in that it forms it's own smooth shiny surface during the crystallization process that changes it from a glass to a glass-ceramic.  The glazing on Centura acts as a compression layer and gives it it's unparalleled strength.  This same concept of compression would be used later for Vitrelle (Corelle).  The Vitrelle formula, however, is devoid of Pyroceram, and relies on the lamination of 3 layers of tempered glass.  This lamination process is slightly different than glazing.  The glazing step for Centura leaves three little unglazed "pin" marks on the bottom, where the piece sits during the process.  (I tried to get a picture of them, but they are so small and faint, that I could not)

Unlike Corningware, and Corelle for that matter, Centura suffers from microwave incompatibility.  I believe that was ultimately the cause of it's downfall.  Evidently, like some Pfaltzgraff (i.e. mom's grape pattern), it absorbs Microwave energy and gets really hot, while the food stays cold.  Vitrelle's introduction in 1970 with it's abilities in the microwave, as well as being much lighter, made it the new favorite.  Though Centura is beautiful, in that it resembles fine china, it's heavier than both Bone China and Fine Porcelain.  Centura was not only used for dinnerware though; it was also used for the lids of the Buffet Server and, if memory serves correctly, there was a point in time when the Buffet Server bottoms were made of Centura as well. 

I LOVE the stuff, though I only collect 1 pattern (there were about 30 different patterns made) instead of the multiple pattern/styles of actual Corningware that I keep amassing.  That pattern would be the infamous Cornflower.

I saw them right after I put down the 2 chipped pieces of Corningware Wheat that I had found...  So this was kind of like a consolation prize.  And what a consolation prize it was..!!!!!!  My frustration over broken Wheat pieces was quickly forgotten.

I got four 6 5/8 inch Bread & Butter/Dessert plates as well as four 8 5/8 inch Salad/Luncheon plates as a set.  Woo Hoo!

 Gratuitous secondary picture....


I searched high and low for the 10 inch dinner plates, but to no avail.  I couldn't find the bowls or coffee cups either.....

But I was so happy with what I DID find, that when I saw the 2 serving plates, I grabbed them as well...   (I was on a Centura high)   I figured that though they are plain white, the "white" is the same "shade" as the Cornflower plates; so in essence, they match.  Technically, I think they are part of the "White Coupe" set, but I don't care at this point.  To me, they are just down right sexy retro modern serveware.

Another gratuitous secondary picture.....

My real surprise was still to come, though.  For when I went to check out, they were all 50% off... So, not that I am bragging, I spent a whopping $3.00 at the Thrift Store.

WOO HOO!!

Where is your Corningware??  (or Centura)
~~

18 comments:

  1. You definitely got a bargain. I don't recall ever hearing of the Centura line. Always learning something new from you.

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  2. I thought the Centura line was all white. I have a Centura percolator.

    Lovin' the cornflower. Very nice find!

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  3. I have a TON of this stuff (French White) including centura-lidded casserole, and chop plate. I have the coupe bowls as well as the angular ones that come from a flat foot to a 45* angle then to a 90* side. INDESTRUCTIBLE!

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  4. My mother had the pure white Centura that she bought in the 60's. After about 20 years, she started complaining about not being able to change her set because they wouldn't break, although, if you drop two, the top one will break the bottom one. (She was frugal and would not get rid of a perfectly useful dinner set just because she wanted a change) Of course, no one had microwave ovens at that time, so that was not an issue. She passed away 7 years ago and I now have her set. I also have the matching Corelle set so I can use it in the microwave. The white mixes with other sets of dishes I have picked up along the way, especially the Dansk blue and white set. By the way, a little baking soda will polish out most marks. Also, when I was graduating from high school (1966), I picked out a set of dishes in case I ever got married. I never got around to it, but now I am finding the silver rimmed Centura that I picked out at the thrift stores. I just got an almost complete set for $7.50 at a half price sale! So now that I have the dishes, I can finally run out and get married. ;-)

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  5. I've read that Blue Cornflower Centura was available from 1962 to 67, with the entire Centura line being available from 1962-77. Then Corelle had a BC line from 1993-96.
    That being said, I have 4 of the dinner plates, but they're full of utensil marks. Can I assume that BKF is as safe to use on Centura, as it is on Corning Ware? Or is there another preferred method?

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  6. Yes, BKF is Centura's friend too. Just like Corningware, Centura cleans up beautifully with BKF and it will remove those stubborn utensil marks with ease

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  7. Just returned from a trip to a local thrift store where I was looking for a set of dinnerware and found an almost complete set of Blue Cornflower Centura dishes -- eight each of the dinner plates, dessert plate, bowls, and cups and saucers but only seven luncheon plates. I did not know that Corning made dishes prior to Corelle and had only seen this pattern on bakeware. I bought the set for $15.00 but would like to know the value of this almost complete set.

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  8. I have been searching for the name of this line for literally years, Growing up we had the Centura White April Tulips and remember its indestructibility. I also remember using them in our first (massive) Amana Radar Range microwave and how they would emerge blazingly hot. Now I know why. Nonetheless I plan to start collecting them for sentimental reasons, just as I do LeCrueset in Flame just as my mother did.

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  9. Is Centura safe to use as cookware (oven or broiler) or is it strictly tableware? I have a platter that would be great for fish and roasted veggies if it is safe like corningware. Sorry to resurrect an old post, but there doesn't seem to end much info out there!

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  10. I work for a woman who has a nearly full dinner service (plates and dessert plates, coffee cups and saucers, and bowls) that she's wanting to sell.

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  11. I love your enthusiasm! And thank you very much for the information on Centura. I have a Centura plate (white with a double-tulip pattern along the rim and gold trim and verge lines - very 1970s) that I couldn't resist at a thrift store after having eschewed Centura dishes for years (funny how our tastes change!). This one called to me, and now after reading what you wrote here, I'll be looking for more Centura.
    I also found mine at 50% off. Gotta love a pretty vintage plate for a dollar...

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  12. I have a set of Centura by Corning with the raised tulip patterns along the edge.

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  13. I have a centuranium pattern I have been unable to identify. the is white with gold trim. There are 2 golden lions in the center of the plate. Any information about this would be greatly appreciated

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  14. That did not sound like any of the standard patterns that were available in the catalogs. It may have been a special production run for a restaurant or an event. If you could send a photo to corningware411@gmail.com, I might be able to dig something up.

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  15. I just bought a set of Centura TM by Cornning and now hear they may explode
    in a Microwave oven, is this true and does anyone have any information on this happening? Betty Semerad

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    1. Betty,
      Sadly, Centura is not a microwave safe material. While Corning Ware (which is made of a different material) is invisible to microwave energy, Centura is not. The dish/platter itself will heat up in the microwave and, if it gets too hot, can break or shatter.

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  16. Hello Shane
    Today I bought a Centura mug in the Country Festival pattern and am trying to find out more about it. Thank you for warning me about the microwave issues. I had seen that on the bottom of the mug. I have been collecting the Country Festival Corning cookware for about a year and was excited to find a matching mug. Do you have any more information about other Centura pieces in that pattern? Were there many of these mug sets made? I've seen them listed as "rare", but that's an overworked term. If you'd like, you may pm me at my FB page.

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  17. Wow, 4 years ago almost to the day when you wrote this blog post on Centura, my how times change :-)

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