Friday, June 7, 2013

A Starburst Is Born - 9-cup Black Starburst Stove Top Percolator

So, once again, I found a "find".  Though, considering that I wasn't foraging for a "find", I guess, in essence, the "find" found me.

I was at the large Salvation Army Family store on 82nd Avenue looking for an interesting (and cheap) cocktail glass for an alcoholic beverage post I was preparing for Culinary Alchemy.  It's true, none of my cocktail glasses match.  But I look at it this way, they're .99 cents and nobody will get their drinks confused at a party.  I'm just sayin'

So there I was, glancing over the goblets, studying the stemware and browsing the beakers when I saw it.  Quite out of place amongst it's clear crystalline brethren.  A Corningware stove top percolator.  Not just any stove top percolator, mind you.  Oh no.

A Black Starburst percolator!  Oh yeah!

That, oh so, rare (1959-1963) "pattern d'homage" to the "Space Race" sat before my very eyes in all it's stellar beauty. (similar patterns are found all over Pyrex percolators and coffee carafes from this time period as well)  And all this time, I thought astronauts only drank Tang, go figure.

Needless to say, cocktail forgotten, I snatched it up before anyone else could abscond with this heavenly object of galactic importance to my collection and blasted off towards the check out.

The best part was the price.... It just happened to be 1/2 price day (Wednesday) which completely sent me over the moon.

So my $4.99 became $2.50; which made me an extremely happy camper, or rather, an astronaut in orbit, as the case may be.

Luckily, the condition of this pot was significantly better than the Electromatic one I purchased a couple weeks ago.  Though I will say that it is obvious it has been used on a coil burner, since the coils burned their impression into the bottom.  But on the whole, much better and easier to clean up.

All it really took this time, was some Weiman Glass Cook Top Cleaner and some "Barkeeper's Friend".....

There is one significant fault with the pot.  The Bakelite handle has a small chip out of the top left corner.  But the rest of the handle is quite shiny, when compared to some of my teapot handles.

I want to say that it actually dates from about 1960 (P-119), since the original pots from 1959 (P-108) didn't have chrome spouts and the starburst design was done in shiny platinum enamel.  Originally the stove top percolators were designed just like the teapots, but being bigger and slightly bulkier, they were hard to manipulate when washing and the spouts got chipped rather frequently.

Corning changed the pot in 1960, so those original pots are extremely rare.....

(original P-108 percolator design, discontinued in 1960)

Mine isn't made from 1 piece of Pyroceram with a clamped handle (like the teapots) But even though this one has the chrome spout, the the handle is weird.  It attaches differently than the ones I normally see ...

(Handle with hidden screw design)

Mine bolts from the outside instead of from underneath (which seems to be the more common handle design)  Maybe there was a piece of Bakelite that slid over the bolts to cover them up, and now it's missing.  Maybe that is why they changed the handle later to a 1 piece with a hidden screw underneath.  I don't know, and there isn't any information out there.  Argh!!!!

As you can see, even though the chrome spout is glued on, there is a secondary piece that clamps around the body of the pot, near the rim.  I'm assuming this percolator was not part of the recall, and is completely usable. (since it's both glued AND clamped)

Update 1/1/20:  Please read the newer post "Separation Anxiety" for information on recalled percolators...  (and yes, this is a recalled pot
You can also follow this link for a pictorial guide to every known safe percolator.

That makes me even more happy, or orbitty, than before....  I don't know what year(s) this particular handle design was being used.  It's kind of like a hybrid between the original and the final version.  I can tell you that once the chrome spout pots were released, the Platinum version (shiny metal enamel) of this design was discontinued and replaced by the Black colored Starburst.  Which is what I have here.

In other words... If it has a chrome spout, it's a Black Starburst..... not a Platinum Starburst. 

And while the Platinum Starburst would still be the ULTIMATE "find" for me, this one is pretty darned special and shall hold a prominent place in both my Corningware Collection AND my Coffee Brewing collection. (Methinks I have too many collections)

10-cup Cornflower Electromatic Percolator, 8-cup Cornflower Drip Coffee Maker, 9-cup Black Starburst Stove top Percolator

In Back....  8 cup Chemex, Cory 8 cup Glass Stove top Vacuum Pot (with hot plate), Cory 8 cup Stainless Steel Electric Vacuum pot (still has glass filter rod)
In Front....  2 cup "Flip-Drip" Napolitano Coffee Maker, Bialetti Mukka Express (Moka Pot)

Copper ibrik with miscellaneous accoutrements, Bodum 6-cup Copper French Press

This is really only part of my coffee brewing paraphernalia, but it is all I could photograph at the moment without beginning a major undertaking. I still have stuff in boxes because I just don't have room for it all in my kitchen right now.   Let's not even talk about the Corningware Collection. Between the Cornflower, the French White, the Grab-it line and the Wheat, not to mention miscellaneous pieces of microwave browning, I am swimming in it.  Thus, a lot of it is boxed up as well.  Someday, when I have the time, I shall have to dig it ALL out and take a big family picture.  LOL

Where is your Corning Ware??


  1. Fantastic find!! Can't wait for your next post - they make my day!

  2. What a beautiful coffee pot. When I read your posts I want to run to the nearest thrift store and see what I might uncover. I have a box of cookbooks I need to donate, that will be the perfect time to peruse and see what I can uncover. I really miss driving, it takes me forever to be able to go where I want. Love your posts about Corning Ware.

  3. Love it and I found one today and have just listed it in my Etsy shop - to view please click

  4. Sorry, I did not want to post anonymously. To see the Black Starburst perculator please visit thevintageporch on etsy. I would love to know what you think of it.

  5. That is a NICE looking Percolator! And it also answers one of my questions.... There is a piece of black plastic/bakelite that snaps into the handle and covers the screws... Mine is missing.

    Thanks for sharing... Great find! :-)

  6. Oh I'm so glad you took it apart and found it is banded and not glued. I've been looking for a glass stovetop percolator and finally found a corning ware one today. I knew about the recall but it was 9 cups, corning ware and I figured I might be ok. I perked some water and vinegar and turned out, became really afraid to use it. The handle on mine had some weird plastic pieces on either side of the handle and I couldn't figure out what it was for. Now I know mine is not glued and is banded! I still want to take it apart to make sure and clean it too, there is old coffee in all the creases.

    Mine doesn't have a code on it which I thought was strange because all of the recalled ones have a code. Mine is the blue cornflower pattern but it sounds like it's one of the older ones. Also in looking at it now, it is not one smooth piece of metal like the recalled ones.

  7. I just found one of these at my local Goodwill today. It has the same exposed screws, but also the starbursts are almost dark blue, not black. Is this possible or is it just faded? Are you sure these weren't part of the recall? I love it!

  8. Green - Congratulations on finding one! You are right. All the recalled pots have a code of some sort on them. As long as the metal is not smooth on the outside and there is a ridge on the inside of the pot, where the band is clamped, it is not actually part of the recall.

    Karen - It is possible that it was done in blue... I have heard rumors that it was, but I have not been able to confirm them. I will say that my black on has actually faded to almost a gunmetal gray color. I am positive that it was not part of the recall as it predates the change in the handle/spout design and makes use of the older epoxy for sealing the connection between the spout and the body of the pot. (which happened in 1974) Also, with it being clamped, it should be safe even if the sealant does give way for some strange reason.

  9. I just aquired one of the 8 cup black starburst stovetop coffee pots that looks brand new inside. The actual thing you put the coffee in has never been used. I have searched high and low to find the value of it but can't find anything. Maybe you can help me with this. I want to sale it but don't want to get ripped off.

  10. Sadly, that is usually the case. There is very little pricing listed on the internet aside from the crazy people on eBay that ask WAY too much money for things.

    I have 2 books, both of which were printed before the recession. Not all the pieces and patterns produced are listed in each book, and some patterns and pieces are missing from both. Be that as it may, I usually tend to defer to Randy & Debbie Coe in regards to pricing, since I have met them at several Antique Shows.

    Black Starburst is one of the patterns not listed in their book. This is mainly because their book was on the patterns of the cookware and the Starburst pattern was only available on coffee pots. They DO list the "Platinum" stove top version with the Pyroceram spout, but as rare as that particular piece is, it's value is really not that high; being only about $19.50. (granted, that was a couple years ago)

    The problem is, that even though Corningware is a "collectable", it's really not all that old, and there is A LOT of it out there.

    Be that as it may, I would still say that a fair value on your coffee pot would be about $20.00-25.00, now. Though you may not be able to sell it on eBay because of the chrome spout and the recall. Even though, if your pot is like mine, your pot was not part of Corning's recall, eBay will still not let you sell them.

    1. don't get caught up in the "value" of things like this. If you like it, get it. being a collectable doesn't mean high value, rare doesn't mean high value. For the most part, all this stuff is very common cookware and houseware. And don't forget, sometimes old stuff is just that and nothing more...simply old. If you don't believe me, i've got some superbeta and vhs vcr's for sale along with that florida swampland.

  11. My son just found one of these black starburst percolators at an estate sale. I sent a picture to today. It is in the original box, with a number of P-129. There is a loose piece of plastic that covers the screws on the side. I can see how it would easily be lost, as it does not attach tightly. I was looking for information on this percolator. Is it part of the recall? I am still not clear, even after reading the blog entries I could find. I could not find a reference to P-129 anywhere.

  12. After reading the above comments I found that I have a platinum starburst with the pyroceram spout. I am not sure where I purchased it but I know That I did not pay more than a few dollars for it. Mine is a 6cup coffee stove top. Mine does not show a number on it (that I see) just lists 6 cup and the corning ware name. I am so excited. I just want to go out and look for more things now. I started collecting the different designs several years ago and have found several other older designs...Thanks

  13. Shane,

    This looks like the handle I have on my 6 cup Cornflower Percolator. I wrote about it in the comments of your page on "Separation Anxiety". It seems so un-natural with Corning's other products, because they make their products so perfectly beautiful. I thought it might be a fix from a Recall of their Percolators.


    1. Come to find out, the first round of Stainless steel rimmed percolators had handles built like this. But originally, there was a plastic cover that hid the screws... evidently these get lost over time. I have several with this style of handle, and they have retained their covers, so the screws/bolts are not visible.

  14. I was walking by my neighbors today and she was straightening up some stuff for a yard sale and there was a 9 cup black Starburst Percolator. I had to have it. She said I could have it for $5. It's in perfect shape. Only missing the little black plastic piece that goes over the screws on the handle. I also have the Blue Cornflower 9 cup one. It still has the plastic piece covering the screws on the handle. I feel like I made a great score.

    1. Congratulations! That is an excellent find, at an excellent price.

  15. Hi :) so, sadly, I am new to the yumminess of percolator coffee! I just didn't know anything about it until a friend that was moving gave me a 4 & 8 cup farberware electric pots, and a little Italian moka stove top. I hadn't realized the caffeine was higher this way so I've been bouncing off the walls a bit since cleaning them. :) but the coffee was so delicious and somehow creamy. Then I had to learn more. So I was at the local thrift store and found an 8 cup corning ware Starburst pattern and was so excited ,especially because it had all the parts still which isn't always easy to find. The inside is really really covered in stains, though the outside is beautiful. I noticed some very light scratches on one starburst, but none on the other. The only thing written on it is on the back, on the handle side, it says 8 cups and below that corning ware. I'm trying to clean it up inside best I can....but I assume once I have it clean, even still stained, it's fine to use right? I'd love to see you pictures of it to get your opinion on it. I've no clue how to know black from platinum, but being that black is more common I'm sure that's what it is. Anyway, any info or help is great :) this is a great article! Made me SO excited when I found it :) I love these little pieces of history that I can totally still use!! So fun! Thanks!!

  16. HI, so I am looking for some help/advice. I may have found a "rare" version of the P-201-HG handle. In clearing my deceased father's basement I ran across a box full of P-201-HG handles. What is unique is there are multiple colors. Light Blue, Mustard Yellow, Green (2 shades), Red, White, and of course black. I probably have a half dozen of each. My father's company made the metal work for the handles back in the day (and possibly the assembly of the handles too). So, I don't know if these were engineering samples or released colors. They are all what you would consider "new, old stock". Are they worth much of anything? If so how much (to the right buyer). Thanks in advance for any response.

    1. They sound like prototype colors that we're toyed with for Centura and buffet server colors. Especially mustard, greens and light blue (cause there are prototype light nlue well). They are probably worth about 20-25 each..

    2. Wow, thanks for the quick response. If you would like I can post a picture of all the colors for reference.

    3. That would be fantastic! Thank you.

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