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Pyrex Item Numbers

In addition to Pyrex Ware Model numbers, color numbers and pattern numbers, are item numbers. While the first three, when known, are rather straightforward, item numbers can be a bit puzzling.

Model numbers simply designate a particular size and shape of a piece of Pyrex Ware with no regard to color or decoration. Except for the earliest color ware and a few other pieces, they are molded into the piece itself.

Color numbers were originally all that were necessary when colorware consisted of only solid colors. When decorative patterns began to be applied, color numbers were simply appended with alphabetic codes denoting the decoration. This methodology would soon prove inadequate as colorware expanded in the number of colors used, and the variety of decorations proliferated.

Pattern numbers, usually a one or two digit number, were assigned arbitrarily, and are found only in literature and on original cartons.

Which brings us to item numbers, which are also only found in literature and on cartons.

Early item numbers were typically an amalgam of model or set numbers and pattern numbers. As an example, a #440 set of Cinderella mixing bowls in the Horizon Blue pattern would be item number 440-41, the 41 being the number for that pattern.

Item numbers in catalogs are sometimes seen appended with "-S", which appears to indicate a price reduction or special. The assumption here is that orders using that special number would receive the lowered price.

In a handful of cases, the suffix "-N" was used to call attention to a revision in the shape of a model, both in literature, and, in later versions of the backstamp, on the dishes themselves.

Standard patterns offered in more than one color seem to adhere to an older convention, the item number augmented with a suffix for color and decoration, e.g. a refrigerator storage dish set in turquoise Butterprint on opal white is numbered 500-OTBP.

Promotional items, often a single dish with lid and an accessory, were at first typically given an item number consisting of the dish model number, followed usually by some letter code to distinguish the color, the decoration, or an included accessory. A convention with most non-Cinderella casseroles seems to be the replacement of the leading zero in the dish model number with a nine to indicate the inclusion of a lid. For example, a #045 2-1/2 quart oval casserole with lid and a candle warmer cradle might have an item number like 945-CW-1, the last digit serving to distinguish between more than one 045 promo casserole with candle warmer.

During 1960, the item numbers for promo pieces began moving to an apparently arbitrarily assigned 2-digit format. The Princess Casserole of 1960 was numbered simply 62.

In 1962, item numbers for promotionals began to incorporate the year as the last two of four digits. For example, the Golden Tulip casserole was item number 6162.

Things To Know About Item Numbers

  • Item numbers are in some company publications called catalog numbers, but they are the same thing.
  • Set numbers, pattern numbers, color numbers, and/or decoration codes were often combined to constitute an item number.
  • For sets from standard patterns, the item number is typically the model number of the set followed by the pattern number.
  • The last two digits of 4-digit item numbers on promotional pieces are its year of introduction.
  • The letter M, when seen in promotional item numbers, stands for mounter, an alternate term for a cradle.
  • The letters CW indicate a candle warmer was included.
  • The letters SP mean the item was distributed via a stamp redemption program.
  • Item numbers should not be confused with model numbers or pattern numbers.

Once you become familiar with model numbers, color code suffixes, pattern numbers, and the types of accessories included with promotional items, item numbers become somewhat more easily decipherable.