Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Power of Pyrex

A recent article in Country Living magazine reminded me that 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of Pyrex, the "glass you can cook in."  The first ads for Pyrex came out in magazines in the fall of 2015.

I find Pyrex bowls and covered dishes at almost every estate sale I attend.  There are probably two reasons for this: one, Pyrex containers were popular with homemakers throughout most of the 20th century; and 2) they tend to last a long time. 

I can't buy all of the Pyrex bowls I see, of course, but I have been able to collect quite a few of them. They don't just sit on my shelves -- I use them almost every day.

I also find Pyrex ads in vintage magazines at estate sales.

Here's a website devoted to Pyrex glass patterns:

The Corning Museum of Glass exhibition on historic Pyrex runs June 6, 2015 through March 17, 2016.

The Country Living article on Pyrex is here:

You can find photographs and links to other blogs about Pyrex bowls and dishes on Pinterest:

Friday, May 8, 2015

Globe-Wernicke Recipe File Box

They call them "barrister bookcases," those vintage sectional stacking wooden bookcases with glass doors that lift up, rather than to one side.  The patent for the design was held by Otto Wernicke of Minneapolis, but many companies crafted them in the early 20th century.

Author Fred Taylor calls them "elastic storage" in his article for Worthpoint:

Taylor points out that so many of these kinds of bookcases were made, they're not really rare. But the older ones are not exactly cheap, even at estate sales.

The Globe-Wernicke company made other wooden furniture, including file cabinets and desks. The only Globe-Wernicke piece I've ever been able to afford, though, was a recipe card file box.  

Made of solid wood, it holds 3x5" index cards with recipes written on them.  It's not in the best shape (after probably more than 80 years), but I don't want to mess with the labels.

The Globe-Wernicke name is on the front...

And on the inside of the box.

The attention to detail for something so small is tremendous; you can easily see the dovetail joints on the sides.

Inside the box is more of its history: a few hand-written recipe cards from previous owners.  Some of the recipes sound like they might not be bad, but others look like they were written out but probably never tried.

Chipped Beef Casserole. Piggies in Rice.
Curried Cold Cheese Ball with Pears. (Okay.)

A clue about a previous owner of the wooden recipe file box was tucked in the very back, past all the alphabetical index cards.

Written on the back of a page from a "Party Game FUN Book" is a list of gifts she received at a bridal shower.

Reading the list gave me pause. Between "Billie - Strainer & Pancake Turner" and "Gail - Can Opener" is the notation "Lola & John - Iron Monster." At least that's what I think it says. Exactly what the iron monster was, or why a new bride would need one, is one of those little details lost to history.

And that bride of yesteryear forgot to make note of who gave her the recipe file box.

Whoever you were, a belated thanks, folks.

Another short history of the Globe-Wernicke company is here: