Saturday, April 25, 2015

In The Beginning - Corning Ware 2nd Generation BPE (Before P# Era - 1960-1961)

It's time for Act II of Corning Ware's first Era (AKA: Fin Lid Era) from 1958 - 1961.  The first "Act" involved the embossed bottom pieces from Generation 1 from 1958-59.   The second Act encompasses the blurry blue ink generation (Gen 2) produced from 1960 thru 1961.  This generation also includes a new percolator design, but more on that later.  Let's go all the way back to the beginning......   (this is a recap of the "In The Beginning - Corning Ware 1st Generation BPE" post)       

In the beginning of the beginning there were no P, B, W, N, A, C, S, DC, F, G, U or L model numbers..   You see, Corning was unsure how well their cookware would be received by the American housewife, so they made a limited number of pieces for the initial release in the fall of 1958 to test the waters.....  These would be the 1 quart, 1 1/2 quart and 1 3/4 quart saucepan with fin lids (similar to the Pyrex FlameWare design) along with the 10 inch skillet topped with the infamous pyroceram lid adorn with more cornflowers.  With only 4 pieces, it was pretty easy to keep track of what was what, so no model numbers were really needed at this point.

Corning Ware ended up being such a hot seller that, by Christmas, retailers were screaming for more.  So, in spring of 1959 Corning unveiled 2 additional skillets (9 inch and 7 inch with fin lids), a 2 1/2 quart Saucepan and the famed 8 cup & 6 cup pyroceram lipped percolators (which would later be referred to as P-108 and P-106).

All these 1st Generation pieces, percolators aside, had an embossed stamp on the bottom stating either "Corning Ware" with a volume measurement or, in the case of the skillets, width in inches while others simply had "Corning Pyroceram" embossed on the bottom with no other identifying marks other than mold numbers for QC purposes.

By 1960, the embossing on the underside was dropped in lieu of blue ink...  blurry blue ink.  Though these pieces still have the 1st Era fin lids, these pieces have become known as the 2nd Generation of Corning Ware. The marks on these pieces can be very difficult to read sometimes.  It's not just that the ink is blurry, which it is, but the printing was less than perfect as well.  Thus, they can be REALLY light, or only partially printed, or even smudged to the point of complete illegibility.  Saucepans are marked with volume size and skillets by width in inches. 

Unlike the 1st Generation, Generation 2 saw ALL the pieces being produced at the same time.

 1 Quart

1 1/2 Quart

1 3/4 Quart

2 1/2 Quart

7 inch Skillet

9 inch Skillet

10 inch Skillet with Pyroceram lid

It should be noted, that Trefoil was released in 1960 as well.  Thus, some of the first Trefoil pieces (1960-61) have blurry blue ink marks on the bottom, instead of P-series model numbers.  These pieces should be paired with Fin Handle Pyrex lids as well.

It was in the Fall of 1960 that the original P-108 & P-106 Percolators were removed from the market.

It had come to Corning's attention that pyroceram lip was a weak point in their percolator design... Thus, the 1st edition of the P-119 and P-116 with a stainless steel rim were released. The 1st generation of the P-119 & P-116 can be identified by the design of the handle.

The stainless steel rim was glued onto the pyroceram body, then the handle was bolted to the rim.

These bolts were covered by a small piece of black plastic.  The Black Starburst 9 cup percolator (P-129) is designed this way as well.

This handle would be updated in 1963 (2nd Edition) though the model numbers on these two pots would not change.

Where is your Corning Ware??


  1. I have a P-1210 and I would like to remove the handle and sleeve but I see to easy way to do this. Is there a specific tool required? Or do you know how to do this easily? Any help appreciated

    1. Not that I am aware of. I know people have removed other models rims (P-119 and P-116); both of which are stovetop models. I can tell you that their success hinged on the fact that the epoxy was already worn and the rim was loose. After boiling the rims they were able to pry the rim off, but those models are designed differently than the E-1210...

      Sorry that is not much help.

  2. So recently I bought a "new" cornflower set from ebay which was the big 10" skillet with the pyroceram lid with cornflower design on it too. It came in an original box, blue box, with a cradle for the skillet and a black plastic/metal handle to attach to the skillet. It has the stamped blue ink on the bottom that looks exactly like in your picture P number, just a 10 inch indicator etc. From what you posted, is it likely my New Vintage set is from 1960 or 61? Did they continue to make a set like that for years and years to come? I am just trying to wrap my head around the real possibility that my "new" dishes could be as old as 55 years right out of the box, which is cool but mind boggling at the same time. In case you are interested, I paid $31.40 for it including the shipping. Think that was a good deal?

    1. I think that was a great price, since it was in the original box. They did continue making that set into the P-series years (Post 1961), but the box will be marked as either P-10-SC or P-10-D when it includes the cradle and handle. (They will have plain glass lids though - as the pyroceram lid was discontinued by then) So yes, your skillet is 55 years old. :)