Saturday, August 9, 2014

A Renaissance in Cookware - Corning Ware Renaissance Limited Edition Gift Line

Over the last year, I have written up many posts on Corning Ware patterns in order to provide some semblance of a record for the online community.  The whole idea stemmed from the myriad patterns I kept  running into during my quest for my own favorite pattern, being "Wheat".  There has been one pattern, however, that has eluded me over the last year... Actually, it has been eluding me since 2007 when I first found out about it.

Renaissance.   The limited edition Gift Line pattern from 1970 (The year they began printing "For Range and Microwave" on the bottom).  The pattern is an etching of a Swedish seaport done in an enamel color refered to as Miniver Grey.

(I attempted to re-stage the original ad, alas I am missing the casserole that was in the 2 1/2 quart along with the purple napkin and 4 forks)

This is the complete set (as far as I know right now --  a new piece of Platinum Filigree just surfaced, so who knows)

The P-84-B (4 quart Sauce Pot)

the P-2 1/2-B Sauce Pan (2 1/2 quart Saucepan)

and the P-1 3/4-B quart Sauce Pan (1 3/4 quart Saucepan)

All three of these pieces show only part of the entire scene.   For a more "panoramic view", one must look to the P-35 Broil and Bake tray, however even this is not the entire scene.....

The last piece in the collection is the 9 cup stove top percolator (P-149) which features the Cathedral located on the left side of the tray.

and then continues the etching all the way around the back side.... Giving you the complete picture.




I did get the wood handled cradle with the P-84-B, which is how it originally came.   The smaller saucepans were paired with the chrome "Royal Buffet" candle warming cradles.  I don't particularly care for the wood handled cradle with this pattern, as it covers up too much of the design.  I will probably opt for the Platinum Cradles when I use my Renaissance pieces. Which will only be for "uber" special occasions.

One thing of note, is the special lids that came with the Renaissance pieces (and "Nature's Bounty" in 1971). All 3 of the lids (P-7-C, P-9-C, and P-12-C) have a pebble texture on their underside.....

as opposed the the non-pebbled standard lids (left)




Where is your Corning Ware??
~~

9 comments:

  1. I also have found the Renaissance design. I have the tray and recently found the coffee pot in an antique shop in Florida. Thanks to you I now know more about this design and know that I need to keep looking for the other pieces. Great info. Thanks.

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  2. Very nice, thanks for sharing all this info. I love this pattern and have two of all the same pieces in your photo except I still don't have the percolator yet. I always wondered if there were any other pieces to this line. So now that I've enjoyed reading your post in curious about the 2 1/2 qt casserole you mention in this post. Can you please post a photo of the ad showing it? I'd love to see it. Thanks:) best Kim

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    1. I will go ahead and add the photo to the post.... Sorry for the delay.

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    2. I have located the percolator at a neighboring thrift store. Do you still need it?

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    3. I have located the percolator at a neighboring thrift store. Do you still need it?

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    4. I, personally, do not need a percolator at this point, but I know several people who are looking for one. May I ask how much they are asking for it?

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  3. Shane, where did you find a reference to the scene being a Swedish seaport? I haven't been able to dig up any citation, official Corning or otherwise.

    In fact the scenes are lifted from a 1691 etching of Stockholm Harbor in "Suecia Antiqua et Hodierna" by Erik Dahlbergh. The Suecia collection was, essentially, a royal advertising project commissioned to extol the imperial virtues of Sweden.

    See the engraving on plate 29 (pg. 29) of

    hdl.loc.gov/loc.wdl/wdl.3036 (a pdf file)

    and the references at

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suecia_Antiqua_et_Hodierna

    It is quite fun to compare the cookware with the original etching. Notice, for instance, that the platter bears only about two thirds of the full scene, and that the percolator has portions of the full scene that are not on the platter.

    How is it, do you think, that late 17th century royal Swedish propaganda came to adorn mid-20th century proletariat cookware (albeit molded from one of the most technically advanced ceramic materials ever created)?

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    1. The identification as a copy of an etching of a "Swedish Seaport" comes from a collectors book titled "Corning Pyroceram Cookware" by Debbie and Randy Coe. A specific city is never identified, nor was the source of the etching. I find this absolutely fascinating! I have been racking my brain and viewing photos of Swedish cities for months, trying to extrapolate which port city was depicted by the etching. I was beginning to think that there was some poetic license taken with Upssala. Thank you for this information.

      As to WHY this pattern was chosen by Corning Glass Works consumer division as the 1970 winter Gift Line pattern, it may have to do with the Swedish Parliament's conversion from Bicameral to Unicameral and the elections being held in September of 1970. (Though I am not sure WHY this would be significant to an American company)

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  4. I suspect it has more to do with events at Corning.

    In a 1969 interview Arthur Houghton, president of Corning's Steuben Glassworks, was quoted as saying they "wanted to make some of the greatest objects that have ever been made in the history of the world, including the Renaissance." This was in the context of Stuben art glass but it does seem to reflect a sentiment that might also have been expressed at the Houghton breakfast table board room. (1)

    Among his many accomplishments Arthur became a rare book afficianado (and curator, at the Library of Congress), endowed the Houghton Library at Harvard which houses the university's rare book collection and co-founded, with cousin Amory Houghton, what later became the Corning Glass Museum. (2)

    Cousin Amory's son Jamie came out of Harvard with a major in history, ran off to Europe for a while then landed back in Corning in 1968 where he evenutally came to run the joint. (3)

    "The education of Jamie Houghton" Harvard Crimson, October 6, 1995

    It happens that Harvard's Houghton Library has a copy of "Suecia antiqva et hodierna", bound in full sheepskin, and cataloged as being a gift but the benefactor is not given in the catalog. (4)

    Jamie Houghton is retired now from the top spot at Corning but he does still sit on the board of the Glass Museum. I'll bet he knows who picked out the pattern for the limited edition set and probably also who it was that donated the "Suecia antiqva et hodierna" to Harvard. If so I'm sure there's a lot of detail he could fill in.

    Of course, it could just have been some graphics technician in the marketing department.

    1. See reference #46 in The Generations of Corning: The Life and Times of a Global Corporation by Dyer & Gross, www.amazon.com/The-Generations-Corning-Global-Corporation/dp/0195140958

    2. Obituary of Arthur Houghton, www.nytimes.com/1990/04/04/obituaries/arthur-houghton-jr-83-dies-led-steuben-glass.html

    3. "The education of Jamie Houghton" Harvard Crimson, October 6, 1995 www.thecrimson.com/article/1995/10/6/the-education-of-jamie-houghton-pas/

    4. Call number "Typ 646.67.315" via hollis.harvard.edu/primo_library/libweb/action/search.do?mode=Basic&vid=HVD&tab=books&

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