Friday, October 3, 2014

Amber Waves of Grain - My W-Series Wheat Collection

The Wheat pattern seems to be an enigma.  Stories abound about how this was the original design in tended to grace the sides of Corning Ware pieces, but the final design wasn't ready, so the Cornflower took it's place in 1958 and stuck.  Most of these stories end with the fact that the Wheat pattern was revisited years later and released to a limited market (Bon Marche stores in the Pacific NW) in a limited number of pieces for only couple of years before it was discontinued again.

I am not buying this story anymore.

I have found WAY too many pieces that prove that production of this pattern began in 1963 (possibly 1962) and lasted at least until 1969, but more likely all the way through to 1971.  I also do not believe the pattern was restricted to the West Coast, since I see a LOT of Wheat pieces being sold on eBay and Etsy that are located in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Florida or New York.

Unlike other patterns printed on traditional square Corning Ware pieces, Wheat has it's own model designation (W-series vs. P-series), though the handle lugs are the same size as the P-series pieces.  To date I have never found a piece in the Wheat pattern with A-series sized lugs (1972).

This is my Wheat collection as of October 2014....   It is still not complete, as there are several pieces I know exist, but still need to track down.

The Basic Cookware Pieces.....

Back-left:  W-2 1/2-B (2 1/2 quart Saucepan) with W-17 (2 quart Double Boiler insert), W-10-B (10 inch Skillet), W-16-B (11 inch Skillet), W-34-B (4 quart Dutch Oven)
Front-left: W-1 3/4-B (1 3/4 quart Saucepan), W-1-B (1 quart Saucepan), W-4-B (1 1/2 quart Baker), W-1 1/2-B (1 1/2 quart Saucepan)

The Menu-ettes and Petites.....

Top-left: W-81-B (1 pint Saucepan), W-82-B (1 1/2 pint Saucepan), W-83-B (6 1/2 inch Skillet)
Top-right: W-41-B (12 oz), W-43-B (22 oz) both with P-41-PC (Plastic Cover)

The Bakeware and Misc. (which gives me a potential end date for the pattern)

Back-left: W-105 (8 cup Teapot), W-103 (3 cup Teapot)
Back-center: W-309 (9 inch pie plate), W-322 (8 inch Baker), W-35 (Broil and Bake Tray)
Back-right: W-65-B (2 quart Saucemaker), W-64-B (1 quart Saucemaker)
Not Pictured - W-104 (6 cup teapot) which is still in a box mixed with other things and not labeled so I have not been able to find it.

The P-309 Pie Plate (back center) was released in 1967 while the P-322 Square Baker (middle center) was not released until 1968.

The Electromatics (These give me the beginning date for the pattern)

Back-left: P-12-ES with W-22 Skillet (flat ground W-16), W-6-EP (6 cup Percolator), W-53 (Self Timing Saucepan with flat ground W-4)
Front-center: W-54 (Immersible Warming Tray)

The P-53 Self-Timing Saucepan (right) gives me the beginning date for this pattern, as it was only available in 1963.  Granted, the Electromatic Skillet P-12-ES (left) was released in 1962, so it is possible that the pattern was released earlier, but the Saucepan proves that the pattern was in production in '63

There are several other pieces that I know exist, but do not have in my possession for one reason or another.  The 4 quart Sauce pot (W-84-B) and Deluxe Tea Kettle (W-57) I purchased were both broken during shipping.  I have found every one of the Open Roasters (W-332, W-21 & W-76) as well as the "Well & Tree" Roasting Tray (W-19) and the Loaf Pan (W-315) at one time or another at the Thrift Stores, but each time I found one of these pieces, it had a big chip taken out of the rim, so I left them.  I have seen the 8 inch Round Cake dish (W-321) in an antique store, but it was WAY too expensive.  There are also 2 stove top Percolators (W-116 & W-119) and the 10 cup Electromatic percolator (W-80-EP).  All of them are on the "recall list" because of their epoxied stainless steel rims. 

There are several potential pieces that were possibly made during the Wheat Timeline (1962-1969) though none have been confirmed as of yet.  These items would include such pieces as the original W-504 & W-508 Beverage Servers from 1965 or the original 10 cup Electromatic Percolator (W-23-EP) which was discontinued in 1966 in lieu of the W-80-EP.


Where is your Corning Ware??
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Update:  10/09/2014...   Yes, 6 days after writing this post, I found a W-19 "Well & Tree" Roasting Tray (that wasn't chipped)....

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Update:  12/31/2014...   More additions to the collection (Santa was kind this year).  W-321 cake dish (8 inch round), W-9-B Skillet (9 inch), W-315 Bread Dish and the large W-76-B Open Roaster.

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Update:  4/4/2015...  Newest additions to the Wheat family of pieces.  The W-116 percolator (6 cup) sits next to the W-119 percolator (9 cup) and both sit in the P-21-B Open Roaster.  Next is the large 4 quart Sauce pot (W-84-B) which thankfully arrived unbroken this time.... and right down in front, the little 7 inch Skillet (W-7-B)



Update: 5/6/2015....  At first, I was just excited that I got my hands on a P-332 Oblong Baker...

THEN, this other beauty showed up in the world...   Yes!

And thanks to Karen in Seattle, it has now come to join my collection.   The W-910-B... This means I can push the Wheat production as late as 1970 (the year these were released), possibly 1971.

As to whether this means there is a W-908-B (8 1/2 inch skillet) out there, I am not sure....  That size did not come out until the spring of 1972 and was only available for a VERY short time.  By Fall of that year, the A-series hit the market.  That being said, though it is very unlikely for the W-908 to exist, I must concede that anything is possible when it comes to Corning Ware. (I have learned my lesson) 

Only 1 more confirmed piece to go...  The W-57 Deluxe Tea Kettle.

Now, as far as UNconfirmed pieces go... The W-23-EP 1st generation Electromatic Percolator (10 cup), a W-124 Stove top percolator (4 cup), a W-85 flat ground bottomed 4 quart Sauce pot and the Beverage Servers (W-504 & W-508) may all exist.   But, as I said, all of these  pieces remain unconfirmed at this point.
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1 comment:

  1. very interesting ! I have never seen this pattern before I found the tea kettle at a garage sale this morning. Bought it because it was so different looking . . .and was only.50. :)

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