I love me some vintage enameled cast iron! Luckily I don’t see it much in thrift stores — otherwise I’d have a real storage problem on my hands.
Descoware dates back to the 1950s through the ’70s, when Le Creuset acquired the company’s patents (and subsequently killed the brand). It’s known for durability and for weighing less than other kinds of cast iron cookware. Julia Child was a fan, and featured it frequently on her cooking show. There’s not a lot of online resources on Descoware, but the Descoware fan site and Cool Finds blog both provide some good info.
I found this little Descoware terrine at Savers, and it looks virtually unused. The cherry flame color, a red-to-orange gradient, was the company’s trademark design. It holds about 3 cups — a size designed for meatloaf or pâté, but which could also be handy for bread pudding, hot party dips, or even a really decadent mac and cheese. I’m looking forward to trying it out!
I see these little Glasbake handled bowls at thrift stores fairly often — usually in plain white milk glass, with slight variations in the shape of the handle. They are frequently referred to as chili bowls or soup bowls, but I think their size is better suited to ice cream. Either way, they were originally sold as “French Casseroles,” intended for individual baked sides.
I was thrilled to find this beautiful set of four colors, complete with original lids, on the Goodwill online auction site. I believe they were part of a “Patioware” set that included square serving tiles — don’t think I’ll ever find those. But the colors are so cheery, I hardly mind. These rank pretty high on my list of favorite pieces!
These versatile little casseroles are among my favorite — even must-have — Pyrex pieces. The Bake, Serve & Store Set came in three incremental sizes: 1 pint (model 471), 1 1/2 pint (472) and 1 quart (473). They’re great dishes for dips, small sides, leftovers … I’ve even heard of people using them for ice cream or cereal.
The Woodland 471 and 473 (on the right in the photo below) were two of my very first thrift store Pyrex finds — I couldn’t believe it when I saw them on the shelf at Hope Thrift. Then because I’m impatient, I bought the Woodland 472 on eBay to complete the set. I found the Spring Blossom set (on the left) on Goodwill’s online auction site — and since I was a beginner at the time, I didn’t pay attention to the model numbers and thought they were going to be larger casseroles. Lesson learned: Sense of scale can be way off in photos! I found a lot of the lids at Goodwill and Savers, which have typically been my best source of lids. Some of my current lids are chipped, so I am always on the lookout to swap them out for more pristine pieces.
One of the nice things about the Bake, Serve & Store lids is that they can be inverted for easy stacking. The same is true for Pyrex refrigerator dishes. I can just imagine a mid-century refrigerator loaded with stacks and stacks of Pyrex!
I try not to collect Fire King. Even though I love a lot of the patterns, it’s functionally the same as Pyrex — and I already have a lot of Pyrex. I don’t have the space to collect both!
Still, I’ve managed to accumulate a few pieces. In this case, I picked up the oval casserole lid first at Goodwill, thinking it would fit another dish I had (which turned out to be round, not oval — damn that memory of mine). As a result I was on the hunt for an oval casserole to match the lid. I ended up finding it in the Meadow Green pattern (along with an 8×8 baking dish) on Goodwill’s online auction site.
Fire King is also known for jadeite, a type of pale green milk glass tableware first produced in the 1940s, as well as peach lustre, a line of iridescent orange ovenware that came in a huge array of shapes and sizes. I also recently learned that Anchor Hocking, manufacturer of Fire King, briefly made a line of cookware similar to Corning Ware — so naturally I am dying to get my hands on some. I will be keeping my eyes peeled in the thrift stores!
It was a rainy day today, so we headed to Savers for a little family thrifting. My husband headed to the electronics, my daughter to the toys, and I made my usual beeline to the ovenware. Our local Savers is often a pretty good source of Corning Ware — I find stuff I can’t believe other people have passed up. Today certainly didn’t disappoint: They had a P-34-B dutch oven in one of my favorite patterns, Floral Bouquet Third Edition. It’s in pristine condition, with a lid, and the original roasting rack! Imagine how easily the racks get separated from their pots — so finding them together was a big score.
Interestingly, the walls and bottom of the pot are thinner than other pieces — perhaps designed more for the oven than the stovetop. It can still go on the stove, though, if kept at a lower temperature. I’ve found that Corning Ware generally gets plenty hot even at a medium-to-low burner setting.
I can’t wait to roast a chicken in this thing, and then make gravy in the same pan!
Pyr-O-Rey (aka Dynaware) was made by a Mexican company called Vitrocrisa (later known as Crisa), which was acquired by Libbey in 2006. It’s hard to find information on Pyr-O-Rey in general, and I’ve only ever seen it in this Brown Daisy pattern. Most collectors seem to regard it as a Pyrex/Fire King knockoff, judging from the name especially. Still, I think it’s charming and I couldn’t pass up this piece at Hope Thrift the other day. Hey, it’s the perfect dish for some Pickle & Cheese Party Spread!
There are a few snippets of information on Pyr-O-Rey over at Pyrex Love and The Pyrex Collector.
Straight out of 1973, the Salton Cosmopolitan Casserole was the product of a collaboration between Salton Inc. and Corning Glass Works. The dish was sometimes stamped Salton and sometimes Pyrex (mine, which I scored from Goodwill online, says Salton), but it’s clearly made from a Pyrex mold — the 475 Cinderella Round Casserole. There are some interesting details about the history of Salton and Pyrex on the Corning Museum of Glass Pyrex Potluck site here.
The casserole was originally sold as a set with a square electric hot plate — you can see a photo from the Corning Museum of Glass collection here. In fact, the Salton company was primarily known for its hot plates, food warmers and other small appliances. My research into the subject brought back a childhood memory of a Salton electric bun warmer my parents used to bring out for keeping muffins and biscuits hot at the breakfast table. It was a sort of rectangular box with curved sides and a cloth-covered, hinged lid. It seems that various versions of it can be had on eBay for about $30, but I will hold out for the brown polka dot design I remember.
In addition to the bun warmer discovery, I came across a charming 1975 New York Times article about company founder Lewis Salton:
And wouldn’t you have it, the Salton peanut butter machine is available on eBay too! Luckily for my sanity and cabinet space, I’m not into collecting appliances. But if I see that bun warmer in a thrift store someday, I’m not making any promises.