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 pattern is a copy of an old etching of Stockholm's seaport with victory arch in the book Suecia Antiqua et Hodierna written by Erik Dahlbergh around the middle of the 17th century.

The enamel color chosen by Corning to replicate the etching is referred 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??

Monday, August 4, 2014

Percolator Progeny Promulgation - The Corning Ware P-119 Percolator and It's Descendents

In 1959, Corning released it's first percolator.... The P-108 (8 cup) and the smaller P-106 (6 cup)

By 1960, Corning faced a problem with said percolators.....   The original design was completely constructed of Pyroceram and, due to the cumbersomeness of the larger 8 cup pot (seen above), the spouts would inevitably become chipped during cleaning from accidental and sudden impacts with the enameled cast iron sinks of the day.  

As a consequence, Corning discontinued the original P-108 in 1960 and replaced it with the P-119 (9 cup) model.  The P-106, being less cumbersome than it's larger sibling, wasn't replaced by the P-116 until 1962.  These percolators were endowed with a stainless steel collar and rim that eliminated the possibility of chipping during washing.  This would, however lead to the infamous recall that Corning was forced to make due to the method of attachment being less than reliable (but there is more to the story and the recall is not all inclusive... though eBay and Etsy would have everyone believe so)

The issue lies in the fact that NOT all P-119 & P-116 Percolators are created equal......  There are actually 2 Generations of these first stainless steel spouted pots.

Generation 1 (first released in 1960) is the one that is not only glued, but clamped as well... This is evident from the bolts that actually hold the band onto the pot.   These are usually easy to identify because the bolts are, more often than not, exposed.

This is due to the fact that the little black plastic "cover" has been lost over the years.  These pots ARE 50 years old, so it was bound to happen at some point in the pots history.

If you remove the bolts, you will discover that these 1st generation pots are both epoxied and clamped.  Even if the glue is compromised over the years, the handle and band are still secured around the top of the pot... Though your coffee may still leak out from under the band if the epoxy is worn out.

At some point, though I am not sure when at this point, the handles were modified.   I suspect that customers were complaining about that small plastic cover piece getting lost.  This little changes led to the second generation of the P-119 & P-116 Percolators.

Unlike Generation I, Gen II's solid handle was affixed to the stainless steel band before the whole assembly was glued to the top of the pot.  This is evident by the lack of any screws and the small hole on the underside of the pot handle.

Thus began the irritating, and sometimes shocking, tendency for the pots to separate from the handle assembly and liberally bath the unsuspecting host's or hostess's leg in a deluge of hot coffee.

This tendency towards separation is what began the recalls of the Corning Ware Percolators.  The list of recalls is somewhat extensive and includes not only stove top percolators, but Electromatic ones as well....  They are as follows:

Stove top percolators:

P-116 & P-119 (Both 1st and 2nd generation handle styles)
P-146 & P-149

While the original P-106 (1959-1961) and P-108 (1959-1960) are completely safe for use, it wasn't until the release of the P-166 (6 cup) and P-169 (9 cup) in the early 80s that they became "safe" again. (because they are Pyroceram pots with a stainless steel band and handle that is clamped around the pot)

Electromatic Percolators:

P-6-EP, P-23-EP, P-80-EP, P-280-EP, P-480-EP, & E-1210 (without the code)

Sadly, there were but a few Electromatic Percolator made that were truly safe for use.  Though it can be argued that the P-23-EP (the original model) is "safer" than the others, they are ALL glued together.  It is just that the epoxy they used was different on the first P-23-EP pots, while consecutive models have the the less stable epoxy type.  The later produced E-1210 percolators with the 3 digit code etched into the stainless steel band to the right of the black handle are deemed safe.

If you are a hardcore collector, you probably have a few of these setting around and may even be using one or two of them.   I would advise extreme caution when using, the tendency for separation from repeated heating and cooling can be somewhat alleviated by using both hands when pouring your coffee.   Simply hold the handle in one hand and support the bottom of the pot with your other hand (using a pot holder of course).

Happy Perking!

Where is your Corning Ware Percolator??