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Corning Glass Works, now known as Corning Incorporated, began manufacturing CorningWare Blue Cornflower bakeware in 1958. The design of three blue cornflowers on a white background was Corning"s trademark for 30 years. Homemakers bought CorningWare because it withstood enormous temperature extremes and could be taken directly from freezers or refrigerators to hot cooking appliances. In 1998, due to decreased sales and emphasis on developing fiber optics, Corning sold its CorningWare line to World Kitchen, LLC.
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The material that has the qualities CorningWare is noted for was discovered by accident, according to Kitchen Classics. Pyroceram, a glass-ceramic material that could endure quick fluctuations between hot and cold temperatures without breaking, was discovered by S. Donald Stookey, a Corning Glass Works research scientist, when a furnace malfunctioned, producing extremely high heat yet the material didn"t melt. Stookey also dropped the material, Kitchen Classics notes, and discovered Pyroceram didn"t easily break.
Whether CorningWare can be used on a stovetop depends upon its age. Vintage Blue Cornflower CorningWare was intended to go on stovetops, Your Cookware Helper notes. Newer CorningWare, manufactured from the year 2000 onward, by World Kitchen LLC, is made from stoneware and cannot go on stovetops or endure quick fluctuations in temperatures. Markings on the bakeware and its packaging indicate that it is not stovetop safe. However, World Kitchen LLC recently introduced a four-piece, Pyroceram Blue Cornflower Casserole Set under its Pyrex division that withstands temperature fluctuations as well as the original and can be used directly on stovetops.
Because they were nearly ubiquitous in homes during a 30-year period, vintage CorningWare casserole dishes are abundant and are found at thrift stores, yard sales and online auction and vintage sites. The original CorningWare Blue Cornflower bakeware, although still easily found, is beginning to gain value, according to Your Cookware Helper.
World Kitchen LLC switched to stoneware to manufacture CorningWare to appeal to the color and design esthetics of modern consumers, according to World Kitchen LLC"s CorningWare. Modern consumers also become less interested in the ability of CorningWare products to withstand temperate fluctuations with the development of the home microwave.
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Located in the mid-Atlantic United States, Elizabeth Layne has covered nonprofits and philanthropy since 1997, and has written articles on an array of topics for small businesses and career-seekers. An award-winning writer, her work has appeared in "The Chronicle of Philanthropy" newspaper and "Worth" magazine. Layne holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from The George Washington University.