German scientist Otto Schott discovered that adding boron oxide in glass composition can reinforce and increase resistance to thermal shocks. His new formula became a huge success and captivated the attention of W.C Taylor (a chemist that worked for the American company Corning) who retrieved it and improved it. By 1912 Otto Schott’s formula became a much more “tenacious” glass called Nonex.
Did you know?The Nonex was used in railroad signaling lanterns. The snowflakes that made the hot bulbs burst before now slide on the glass without altering it.
Railroad lantern. Courtesy of the Corning Incorporated Department of Archives & Records Management, Corning, NY.
Bessie Littleton, the wife of the Jessie Littleton who was an engineer at Corning, was the one that influenced the conception of Pyrex® brand.
After going through multiple experiences with broken dishes that were damaged after only one use in the oven. She asked her husband for glass samples from his laboratory so that she could try and make a Savoy cake with it. It was an immediate success! After experimenting with all sorts of recipes (side dishes like potatoes or even meat dishes) her success finally convinced Corning to launch themselves in creating kitchen utensils.
The only thing that was missing was a name, at first, they thought of “Pyright” since the first sample was a pie plate. But they immediately changed their mind and finally called it Pyrex® in order to make it rhyme with Nonex.
Soon after, many advertisers were eager to promote this revolutionary glass which resisted to cold and high temperatures, and most of the American households were rapidly equipped with Pyrex® transparent roasters and casseroles.
The first pie dish came out of the Pyrex® factory (Bake & Enjoy)
Glass blowers Clovis and Léon Régent were pioneers of Pyrex® in France and they were the first ones to conceive a borosilicate glass sample in their factory which was located at Bagneaux-sur-Loing (Parisian district). These experiments led to the creation of the Pyrex® company, in which Saint-Gobain was the main shareholder and Corning detained 10% of the shares.
Canulas, syringes, suction cups, spittons, dropper, etc… A wide range of Pyrex glass hygienic products, resistant to boiling water, flames alcohol and other chemical agents is developed.
Created in 1920, the Pyrex® nursing bottles quickly became a revolutionary invention. It is not only reliable, but also a very safe and hygienic product, it has everything to persuade and reassure young mothers. The factory at Bagneaux-sur-Loing was quickly overflowed with too many orders. It is the implementation of a semi-automatic machine (Until now, the baby bottles were blown manually) that helped increase efficiency in the factory.
The arrival of electricity has revolutionized the way people cook. Ovens that run on gas-electricity or on coal-electricity were in full bloom. Pyrex® oven dishes were then present in each household.
The production of glass products was gradually reduced in Bagneaux-sur-Loing and the factory in Chateauroux quickly became the main production site.
1975: The European launch of “Pyrex® Patisserie”, a baking range including cake, tart, soufflés and biscuit molds along with a rolling pin and a measuring jug. Pyrex® tempered glass, which does not scratch or oxidize, had everything to gain from winning over bakers.
Whilst all households are becoming equipped with microwave ovens and freezers, Pyrex® brand launches a line of storage containers that can be used both in the freezer and oven. The company designs dishes that have a cubic form in order to fit in the microwave and gain space in the cupboards.
A small revolution takes place during this period. The Pyrex® brand add new materials to its offer, and more precisely: metal, ceramic and inox. The brand wants to show that she is not only dedicated to tempered glass, but she also has a vast offer for stovetops as well: pots & pans, woks and frying pans.
The brand decided to change its strategy and the foreign markets that were normally led from France are now having new offices in Russia (2008) and Eastern Europe (Ukraine and Poland in 2012). First, Pyrex® established the sales teams, and added afterwards marketing teams to help increase the brand awareness and presence in these countries.
Approved by Michelin-starred chefs, the steam cooking technique started attracting cooking enthusiasts as well. More and more ovens came with a “steaming feature” for a much healthier alternative, less greasy, which conserved the natural color, minerals and vitamins in the ingredients. The Pyrex® brand is then the only one capable to conceive a steamer basket in a large-scale manufacturing.
Launched in 2010, the label “Origin France Garantie” is today engraved in our brand spirit. It is the only certification that guarantees that the product is conceived in France at a high level of requirements. This certification distinguishes itself from the certificate “Made in France”, which is not as always checked in customs and has a bigger value.
Following the new trends, Pyrex® brand continue innovating and respond to consumer needs. In 2018, the brand creates a unique product that is not only patented but also ideal for reheating in the microwave.
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