We’ve decided to create a section of the site that will discuss some of the non-Pyrex glassware patterns that are frequently confused with true Pyrex.
First - for the most part, if you personally like the pattern on a piece of glass, we suggest you collect it whether or not it’s Pyrex or not. All that really matters is if you like the pattern. This article is not to suggest that any of the patterns listed here should NOT be collected - in fact, some of these non-Pyrex pieces are favourites of ours or are extremely collectible.
Second - one of the best ways you can immediately tell whether or not a piece of glass is Pyrex or not is to look for the stamp on the bottom. Corning was fairly good about marking the majority of their pieces as Pyrex in some way on the bottom - although this is not always the rule, especially with glass made for 3rd party companies. In addition, Fire King (and Anchor Hocking), Glasbake (McKee), Hazel Atlas, and Federal pieces are often also marked on the bottom, which is an easy way to distinguish it from Pyrex. The majority of the confusion comes with “unmarked” glass - in this case you’ll either need to know the pattern or figure it out from the shape of the glassware.
Below, we’ll discuss some of the commonly confused patterns (if this page gets too big we will split it into 2):
We’re going to start off with a pattern that we haven’t been able to find out too much information about - Fire King “Swiss Chalet” (sometimes called Swiss Alpine). What makes this pattern particularly tough to identify is that we believe that none of the pieces are marked on the bottom with anything at all.
The pattern is slate blue trees with green interior branches along with green trees with black interior branches, and light blue flowers with dark centers. It’s a very cute pattern that really looks like something Pyrex would have made.
To our knowledge, it’s not listed in one of the more common Fire King books (Gene & Cathy Florence’s ID book). The only way we knew it was Fire King was from finding the pattern after searching on Ebay and because of the shape of the handles. Fire King Ovenware pieces have a distinct type of handle that has an extra “bump” or dimple in the corner of the handle which Pyrex does not have. Other Fire King Ovenware does not have the “dimple” but they are curved “downward” which again Corning did not do on Pyrex pieces.
To add further confusion to the story, there are other companies (Stetson China Co.?) that have made glassware or ceramics that used this pattern - although it is pretty easy to tell that they are not Pyrex.
This Fire King Ovenware pattern IS listed in the Florence’s book. Blue Heaven dates from the 1970s and was produced on items like casseroles, loaf pans, bowls and mugs.
Like “Swiss Chalet”, the pattern is not marked on the bottom which leads many people to guess that Blue Heaven was made by Pyrex. The pattern consists of retro abstract geometric shapes in brown and blue. The pattern on the mug below contains similar elements to the other items but is styled a bit differently. This pattern is likewise not tremendously expensive, although it is goes for a bit more than more common Fire King ovenware. Again, the best way to tell this is Fire King is the tab handles and just by knowing the pattern.
This pattern IS marked on the bottom as Fire King, but for some reason we see it being confused with Pyrex in auctions quite often. The problem seems to be that the meadow green pattern which consists of abstract flower and leaf star green/yellow decals sort of looks like something Pyrex would have produced.
Nevertheless, it’s Fire King - and once you learn the pattern and the different shapes of the bowls, you’ll never confuse it again with Pyrex. We see this pattern quite frequently at thrift shops and although it isn’t currently worth a lot, it’s a rather nice design.
There is a sort of double confusion with the pattern known as Cornflower Blue. First off, this is a very well-known pattern for Corning Ware that is on tons of different casseroles, teapots, coffeepots, trays, etc. However, to our knowledge, there weren’t any PYREX pieces made - although all the pieces are made by Corning who made Pyrex. But a lot of times you see people just call Corning Ware as “Pyrex” on Ebay which leads to lots of confusion.
Secondly, a couple of different companies made patterns that were VERY similar to Corning’s Cornflower Blue. Here, you’ll see that that Fire King made pieces with an almost identical design. To add to that confusion, Fire King’s pattern actually doesn’t have an official name (as far as we know - anyone clarifying that would be welcomed!) so sellers often call it Cornflower Blue because they assume the pattern is the same.
So when you pick up a piece that has a “Cornflower Blue” pattern - you’ve either got a Fire King piece or a Corning Ware piece, but NOT a Pyrex piece. Again, we aren’t 100% sure about that, but as far as we can tell that exact Corning pattern was never used on Pyrex. Note: above the handles on the casserole point slightly “down” indicating this is Fire King and not Pyrex.
We see this “Dynaware” pattern frequently confused with Pyrex. (Thanks for the cups, Barbara!) Since these are definitely marked on the bottom as “Dynaware Pyr-o-Rey Mexico” there shouldn’t be any confusion whether it’s Pyrex or not - but I suspect that the pattern fools people and some might think “Pyr-o-Rey” is actually Pyrex produced in Mexico.
It is not… and in fact the little information we can find online points to a Mexican company called Vitrocrisa founded in 1940 in Monterrey. The company produced glassware like these custard cups, bowls, tableware, casseroles and other kitchenware - many of which were similar to Pyrex and other companies, and some marked “Pyr-o-Rey”. They did have some sort of relationship with Corning early on. But in fact, I believe that Corning brought a successful lawsuit (fairly recently, 2005?) against them for infringement. I think Vitrocrisa claimed that the “Pyr-o-Rey” name came from “Monterrey”, the company’s location. (Side Note: What’s even more funny is that the first part of the word Pyrex could be seen as the Greek word part “Pyr-” which means “fire”, and the Latin word part “Rex” which means “king”. Uh.. Fire King??)
These are nice little cups, nevertheless. We don’t know the name of this brown floral pattern, but it also seems very similar to a Glasbake pattern. The cups have the 3 banded lines near the top which is similar to Pyrex custard cups, but interestingly, the INSIDE of the rim is scalloped.
In any case, we hope to get more info on Dynaware for an upcoming FAQ.