By Akemi Bourgeois
I have a new obsession, one that has been simmering for years but has now boiled over into madness, vintage Pyrex madness!
It started with a bowl, and then another and then another. Pale blue, Pepto pink and pale blue again. So pretty. I love how vintage Pyrex evokes a time gone past, time spent in the kitchen with my mother and grandma.
I stumbled upon vintage Pyrex while shopping about boutique lined streets, a bowl here, a casserole dish there. Antique stores were almost always a sure bet for beautiful vintage Pyrex nesting bowls but prices there were always in the 50-60 dollar range. Then I discovered there was vintage Pyrex to be had at second hand shops, namely Goodwill, at mostly bargain prices!
I started thrifting for Pyrex a bit, casually dropping in on thrift stores as I went about my errands. A quick five minute tour of the kitchen aisle, and I would be back in my car, usually empty handed. But there were a few finds at various thrift stores and once or twice, I scored big time, emerging from a store with more vintage Pyrex than I could carry.
The problem with collecting vintage Pyrex is that it needs to be stored and displayed. No vintage Pyrex should be tucked away in a garage or closet, ever.
I looked around our house for possible display opportunities and zeroed in on a large cabinet with glass doors. What was on display there? Textbooks, four shelves of obsolete engineering textbooks that my husband insists we keep, for all to see. So ugly.
So without asking or notifying my husband, I moved the textbooks into a closet and took over the display case. It's so pretty now, filled with vintage bowls, casserole dishes, baking pans and refigerator dishes, mostly Pyrex but also a bit of vintage Fire King, Inland Glass and Glasbake.
There is vintage Pyrex galore on eBay and Etsy, but I find the thrill of thrifing to be one that can't be had when you buy online. It's about the treasure hunt. I'll turn to eBay and Etsy one day when I need to complete a set or pattern. And there are always garage sales, estate sales and Craigslist, of course.
The best thing about collecting vintage Pyrex is that I use them. I love the feel of Pyrex in my hands. Cookie batter clinging to the bowl? No problem, I'd love to wash it! Then I'll put my little vintage Pyrex bowl back on the shelf and stare at the patterns. I don't feel all that guilty because vintage Pyrex isn't necessarily expensive to acquire. Some of the pieces I've found were just 99 cents.
The pressing question is whether to collect certain patterns only, or whether to collect a hodgepodge, as I seem to be doing because when you're thrifting, you get what you get.
My husband is not impressed with my new hobby. "We have too many bowls," he complains, "How about getting rid of your Comptoir de Famille cherry bowls?" I love my French cherry set of dishware, too, but with active little boys in the household, the cherry dishes have not seen much love. But he has a point, I'm not working so I don't have a shopping budget for things I don't need.(But did I mention the 99 cent pieces I found, all vintage Pyrex? Swoon!)
I do need to put a pause on my Pyrex collecting... after a trip to the Alameda Point Antiques Faire (oh, and maybe the Treasure Island flea market...), that is.
What I've learned is that you can amass a great amount of vintage Pyrex in a short period of time, for not much money. I have enough to fill four shelves and then some. But I know I can always make room for more. Or maybe I should take up collecting vintage Bakelite jewelry, it's more expensive, but easier to store!
This is an original post to Chalk and Cheese Chronicles.