Pyrex Promo Accessories
The accessories accompanying Pyrex promotional items over the years were quite varied. Not only did promos come with cradles, candle warmers, trivets, baskets, or other items, the styles of many were changed over time.
Although those of the first Super Deluxe (UFO*) and Opaque White casseroles in 1956 were striking in their design, the majority of the cradles included with early promo casseroles were quite utilitarian and inexpensively made. Handles were merely covered with a thin, fluted plastic tubing, which gave way to essentially a thicker version of the same in 1958. A few larger cradles and candle warmers were seen equipped with molded plastic handles.
In the early 1960s, walnut handles debuted and, with brass plated ferruled ends, were a noticeable upgrade over the previous extruded plastic. Later, the fancier ferrules were eliminated, and the wood profile changed from a flat bar to a tapered cylindrical shape, with holes drilled to accept friction-fit, bare wire ends.
In the early 1970s, fewer formed metal items were seen as the accessories shifted more to baskets, trivets and underplates, and the plastic "hugger" cradles arrived. Included among the last promos released were quilted fabric cozy carriers, in the Hospitality Collection.
For the collector, being able to obtain a promo piece complete with the correct lid and the original cradle, candle warmer, or other accessory represents a prime acquisition. Unfortunately, accessories were often separated from their dishes and were ultimately lost.
Stray cradles and candle warmers occasionally show up in thrift stores, but the difficulty lies in the fact that, regardless of decoration, the bowls are always the standard shapes and sizes. One casserole, therefore, will physically fit several accessories from different years. Being certain which dish a found cradle goes with can be a bit of a conundrum, as can being certain a set offered for sale is a match.
Since other makers besides Corning produced casseroles and the like with warmers, cradles, and other accessories, it's important to be able to identify, when found as stray items, those which were not made for Pyrex. Since the accessories were made for Corning, not by Corning, some of very similar design are seen with pieces from other glassware producers, likely produced by the same third party sources.
Typical Characteristics of Pyrex Metal Cradles/Candle Warmers
- Brass-tone plating (chrome in a few instances)
- Circular or oval band plain, unengraved
- Flame diffuser, either hinged band on or hinged plate above candle cups
- Single candle on round or 1-1/2 quart oval candle warmer cradles
- Double candle on 2-1/2 quart oval candle warmer cradles
- Handles, earliest to latest:
- Thin extruded white plastic (1957)
- Thick extruded white plastic (1958-1962)
- Molded white plastic (1959,1960)
- Flat wooden bars, metal ferrule ends welded to right-angled ends (1960-1961)
- Flat wooden bars, metal ferrule ends welded on top of unbent ends (1962)
- Tapered turned wooden handles with drilled holes press-fit on wire ends (1965-1968)
- Tapered turned wooden handles with drilled holes and flattened top and bottom edges (1968-1971)
In the case of non-metal accessories, fortunately, most are actually marked Pyrex. Wooden trays and trivets, woven baskets, plastic underplates, and quilted cozies were all typically stamped, embossed, or tagged to identify them as Corning Pyrex ware products.
Empirical observation tells us accessories like candle warmer cradles were relatively inexpensively produced. As such, workmanship details like the alignment of weld points may be sloppy. Often cradles that appear bent may in fact have just been made that way. Consider carefully before trying to straighten crooked cradles, as the welds are also fragile and may break before achieving the result you desire.
Also important to note is that there were many accessories made by third parties to fit standard shape Pyrex dishes as well as others like Fire King. Therefore, some you may see included with Pyrex dishes, on eBay for example, are not necessarily original.
When searching online, you may encounter some unfamiliar, but definitely Pyrex accessories. There were several promos/specials offered in Canada which did not have US counterparts.
Examples include candle warmer cradles of the 1962 flat wooden handle design which were supplied with Terra 472, 474 and 475 Cinderella round casseroles (and for 473, 474 and 475 Early Canadian casseroles). Candle cups are removable, distinguishing them from similar US versions.
There is also at least one candle warmer cradle of the 1965-1968 design for an 045 2-1/2 qt. oval casserole having a single candle cup, as opposed to the two cups normally found on US versions.
Knob top glass covers for round casseroles changed over the years. Those original to early promos have knobs with slightly concave tops and one or more raised circles around the knob handle. Later versions have a circle of radiating ridges or ribbing, and, while they fit perfectly, are not period correct in all cases.
Fortunately, print advertisements and old catalogs are of great help in identifying with which accessory a promo was originally supplied. This listing provides snapshots from those original publications for easy reference.Listing by model/year. Or sort by name. Or sort by year.
Opaque White Casserole (023) (1956)