Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Exploding Pyrex?

Just about everything in this country has been processed to the point of degradation – our food, our public services, and our everyday tools – everything has been cheapened. It’s the Industrial Revolution’s worst nightmare, and a businessman’s dream. In the kitchen, Pyrex is still king – except it’s the old Pyrex that is worth the money, while the new stuff turns out not to be, and it’s even shown to be potentially dangerous.

Consumer Reports did a fantastic report on exploding glassware in their January issue. They point out the differences between soda lemon glass, which is used today, and borosilicate glass, which was used a generation or two ago. They tested both in various ways, using Pyrex and Anchor Hocking (owned by the same company today), along with European contenders and even a vintage Pyrex dish, like the ones we sell at Junk and Howe.

They also bring to attention a good reminder for anyone who cooks with glass ovenware, which is to read the warning labels and be informed as to how to use your glassware safely. At Thanksgiving last year, while waiting for the oven to warm up, my dad put a Pyrex baking dish on the electric range top. He didn’t know it was on, and within a few seconds, the dish exploded. When you watch the Consumer Reports video, you’ll see it happen in their test lab.

It’s not to say that the vintage dishes will never break – they’re simply less likely to bust because of what they were made out of in the past. It’s also just another addition to the long list of things that have diminished in quality over the last few decades. When it comes to glassware, whether it’s Pyrex, Fire King, Mckee (Glasbake), Hazel Atlas, etc., the quality of the vintage dishes have stood the test of time. They really don’t make them like they used to. ***

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