Vintage 101: What I Learned This Weekend
If you tuned into Style Spots yesterday, you may remember that I found something that's been on my want list for a while: a Pyrex double boiler. Not that putting a bowl over a saucepan with simmering water hasn't been fun...oh heck, who am I kidding? It hasn't been. I've burned my hand more times than I can count while trying to save the bowl from slipping as I stir, and I'm beyond excited to finally have something that was made specifically for this often tedious cooking task.
I found this little guy at the Midway Antique Mall in Midway, Mo., and he actually wasn't the only one. There was a second in a different booth that was bigger, but its condition was a little rough, and the handles didn't come off. I did what research I could on my phone, trying to date each one, but finally abandoned the effort and picked the smaller one, making a mental note to continue my research at home.
Anytime I'm trying to learn things about Pyrex products, I go to one site, Pyrex Love, and one book, Pyrex: The Unauthorized Collector's Guide. Linda and Bryan, the authors of the former, have put together an amazing amount of research for those of us addicted to vintage Pyrex, including pattern identification, how to clean and care for it, etc. Then, couple years ago, I got the book, written by Barbara E. Mauzy, and spent hours poring over the pages, drooling over patterns I'd never seen in person.
When I got to Chapter 2, which talks about a line of products called Flameware, I was totally hooked. The pieces are simple, all clear with stainless bands attached to a handle, but I just really loved the idea of getting to see the cooking process while you make food and drinks in them.
So I returned to this chapter when I got home and, according to Mauzy, the line was started in 1936, with the first pieces made from a bluish glass with a clear top. I stopped and looked at mine, which was also a bluish glass with a clear top (score!). The other one hadn't been, so immediately I was happy about my decision. The author also said that the first generation of Flameware (meaning the first decade, so 1936-1946) had the Pyrex name and flames stamped in green ink on the bottom. She also mentioned that a lot of these stamps came off over time and with use, but mine is in pretty good shape (score again!).
As for the handles, these also designated them as earlier pieces because as time went on, the handles became wooden, and then back to glass but permanently attached. So, as far as I can guess, the handles on this piece suggest it was made in 1943, which is when the all-glass, removable handle became available.
Either way, I'm just happy it has a home...and that the home is mine! :)