I hope everyone is ready for a history lesson! Not a long one, but a fun one…and I promise-no quiz at the end. It took me a few days longer than I had expected to write this but with the weather as beautiful as it has been we have been doing some spring cleaning as well as having friends over.
Ready to begin?
All right, lets head back to England then!
Sunderland, England to be exact and the year is 1922. A struggling glass company owned by the Jobling family is beginning to slip into bankruptcy. But then comes Ernest Jobling Purser who tells the family about the Pyrex being made in America. James A Joblings (for whom the company is named JAJ) acquired the license to make Pyrex in England from the Corning company. To say that it saved the Sunderland company would be an understatement and with the inpending wars in England they would come to find a new market.
After the first World War, England’s middle class families lost their domestic servants and women were “forced” into the kitchen for the first time. This gave Pyrex a leg up on an emerging market-the rise of the British housewife and JaJ’s Pyrex was the first product direcetly marketed to the housewife. During the second World War came another marketing move for the rapidly rising company “Pyrex is economical!” Because England was rationing during WWII Pyrex wanted to show the women of the country that Pyrex would save them money by going from oven to table to wash. No extra dishes were needed and simple recipes could be turned into a casserole.
A notable difference between American Pyrex and Pyrex from Sunderland is the logo. The JaJ Crown logo is the most recognized and linked with British Pyrex but another way to denote what country your dish is from is if the word Pyrex appears like this: ‘Pyrex’. An interesting little tidbit, eh? Sometimes JaJ Pyrex is refereed to Crown Pyrex so if you see that anywhere online you’ll know it is from England.
JaJ produced patterns of their own though some do look like American Pyrex-they each have a version of Goosberry. But in 1954 when white dishes were introduced the Sunderland plant began to put out what they considered patterns more in tune with what the people of England would like. Some of those include patterns with the names: Matchmaker, Chelsea, Fiesta, Harvest and Autumn Glory.
In 1973, after peeking in popularity in the 60s, the Corning Company took over control of the factory in Sunderland and Jobling was named a subsidiary of Corning. Sadly, due to what some have called poor foreign management and a lack of demand the factory was shut down on September 28th, 2007 and all productions moved to France.
Recently though there has been an increased interest in collecting Pyrex now that it is not being made in country-funny how that works, huh? So collectors the world over are now on the hunt for these beautiful pieces of dishware history!
Not too painful a history lesson I hope! And now you can say you learned something today!