Going Ballistic for Blue Cornflower Corningware
Even if you don't know it by name, you're probably familiar with Corning Ware’s Blue Cornflower cookware. For example, think back to home-cooked meals at your parents’ house, family reunions, and neighborhood cookouts. We’re willing to bet that you’ve had some scalloped potatoes or pasta salad served from a white casserole dish with a folksy blue floral pattern and a Pyrex lid.
Millions upon millions of sets of Blue Cornflower Corning Ware flew off of the shelves of retailers and into the cabinets of American homes over the course of three decades. From the 1950s through the 1980s, it became downright iconic. As charming as it was versatile, Blue Cornflower items could go directly from the stovetop or oven to the freezer to the microwave to the table and, then, straight into the dishwasher. Households all over the country loved this union of convenience and aesthetic appeal.
Today, you may be lucky enough to get your hands on some Blue Cornflower Corningware at a local estate sale or vintage shop! Read on to learn more about this iconic collectible, or look for an estate sale near you to find a great deal.
A Brief History of Cornflower Corningware
The full line of vintage Blue Cornflower Corningware products included cookware, dinnerware, and bakeware like casserole dishes, saucepans, platters, and even teapots. Manufactured in Corning, New York, the first collection launched in 1958. They were dishwasher-safe and could withstand high temperatures for oven and stovetop use.
The original run of Blue Cornflower Corningware was made of Pyroceram, a NASA-graded synthetic glass-ceramic. This super durable opaque white material was discovered accidentally by Corning Glass chemist, Dr. S. Donald Stookey. Because the material could withstand sudden, extreme temperature changes, it went on to be used for everything from spacecraft to ballistic missiles. That’s right—the same material that keeps your mom’s Corning Ware from exploding when she takes it out of the freezer and puts it on a hot burner finishes missile points and provides viewing options for astronauts. Pretty cool, huh?
Production ceased in 2000, when Corningware pivoted to stoneware-themed bakeware. The stoneware was cheaper and mostly manufactured outside of the United States. Stoneware, while it has its own merits, isn’t nearly as durable or multifaceted as Pyroceram. (Put a stoneware dish under a broiler or in the freezer, and you’re sure to have a big mess on your hands!)
To celebrate their 60th anniversary, Corningware re-released a version of their classic Blue Cornflower pattern for a limited time. But alas...
The old saying is true: They just don’t make ‘em like they used to.
Luckily, because the wonderfully durable, easily cleaned, original Blue Cornflower Corningware was so popular while it was in production, there are still pieces floating around out there! Estate sales are a perfect place to score some, often in like-new condition. You may have some competition, though! The secret is getting out, and a new generation of Corningware mega-fans are out there on the hunt. Be diligent and keep your eyes peeled, and you’ll be shuffling casseroles from your oven to your dishwasher in no time.
If you're on the lookout for some Corningware of your own, there are multiple sellers and sources to turn to. Selling prices for rare vintage blue cornflower bakeware prices can reach hundreds of dollars, but you can find great bargains at yard sales, online auctions, thrift stores, antique dealers, and estate sales.
To become an estate sales shopping pro, you need to know how to identify high-value items. Unfortunately, due to the popularity of Blue Cornflower Corningware, many copycats popped up throughout the years. Whether you're looking at online listing photos or shopping at estate sales for a hands-on assessment, you can identify authentic Corningware with these steps:
Check the back stamp
Verify the pattern
Consult a reference book or ask an expert
Ready to Go Shopping at Estate Sales? Find An Estate Sale Near You with Blue Moon!
Shopping at estate sales is one way to purchase coveted blue cornflower pieces for a great price. Use our "find an estate sale" page to browse listings and search for estate sales in your area. Remember, the early bird gets the best deals!