The bit of my job which I think I like the most is tracking down Pyrex for other people – of course I also love finding it for myself but I don’t have a big enough home to accommodate all the vintage Pyrex I’d like, so the next best thing is the vicarious thrill of searching it out for friends and customers! As with collectors of any type of object, I started off buying any Pyrex which looked pretty and it was only as my knowledge increased that I began to hanker after the rarer pieces, to some extent just because they were hard to find. Don’t get me wrong, I love all vintage Pyrex but not equally and there is one rare piece which I’m quite often asked to obtain for clients, which I seriously can’t see the attraction of! The customers who I find this for are always very excited when I tell them it’s mission accomplished and thrilled to bits when they actually get their hands on it but for the life of me I can’t see the attraction and don’t own one myself! I’m not going to tell you which piece it is as it’s probably against the Pyrex Hunter’s Code (and if such a thing doesn’t exist, I really think someone should write one!).
All the time spent traipsing round vintage dealers and forging links with other collectors really pays off when you are in search of that special item which someone needs to complete their collection, as quite often, if someone you know personally doesn’t know where something can be found, they have a friend of a friend who just might. This sometimes involves a bit of travel, which is also fun, as you get to check out vintage stores outside of your usual stamping ground.
Many vintage Pyrex collectors say they are “addicted” to adding to their stash and I’m no exception. The excitement I feel when I’m closing in on what I’m searching for gives me a real high, which is completely legal, if sometimes somewhat expensive! They say that nicotine is the most addictive substance known to man but all I can say is that vintage Pyrex must run it a close second although (unfortunately, I’m sure lots of partners of collectors would say) you can’t get a patch to wean you off it! I spoke the other day to the long suffering husband of a lady who has been collecting for years. He said they had Pyrex in cupboards, the attic, under the stairs, the spare room and even under all the beds! His wife has two and a half thousand pieces in her collection! I imagine that people reading this would have one of two reactions; complete horror or total envy. Although I guess if you’re reading this, we all know which camp you (and I) would be in!
Two things in the world of vintage Pyrex hunting never fail to amaze me. The first one is something we could call Jobling’s Law of Inverse Availability. Under this law, you will spend weeks virtually tripping over a particular piece wherever you go and every one will be pristine. You see so many of them that you become sick of the sight of them. It is guaranteed, however, that within an hour of a customer asking you to find that item for them, they will all have mysteriously disappeared, except for one poor little specimen with half a dozen chips, who has been fraternising regularly with the dishwasher. That’s ok because usually the request is not that urgent (alright, alright, I know the need for need Pyrex is ALWAYS urgent but you know what I mean, it’s not literally life and death!) and you know that in a few days you will manage to sneak up on one somewhere. I’m experiencing this at the moment as a client has requested a set of JAJ Cinderella bowls in an often seen pattern. The buyer is in the United States, so it is much easier for me to find a set than them but if only they’d asked a week earlier!
The second thing is that it never ceases to amaze me just how far really rare vintage Pyrex travels. You would think that you would be most likely to find a rare piece in it’s country of origin but, recently at least, I’ve found the opposite to be the case, with rare dishes turning up where they really have no business to be! Thank goodness that Pyrex collecting is such a sociable hobby and collectors such a friendly bunch, otherwise sometimes even the internet would not be enough to track down these rare items to their far flung locations.
The other thing I love about being a vintage Pyrex hunter is that it’s so educational! Very occasionally, you will be asked to trace something which you had no idea even existed. That’s happened to me twice and the first time I felt embarrassed that there was a gap in my knowledge but since then I’ve come to realise that part of the magic of vintage Pyrex is that just when you think you’ve seen it all, something new comes on the horizon!
I’m a student, swimmer and sci-fi fan by day but by night (well, more like evenings, weekends and Bank Holidays) I don my apron and become the Pyrex Party Pixie! I love all things Pyrex and have been a collector for some time now.
My earliest experience of Pyrex was my mum’s clear jug and mixing bowl - both of which, had I bothered to think of them at all, I would have considered boring, and utilitarian. Then I saw some vintage Pyrex in a charity shop and I was hooked! I love cooking and I’d never seen such colourful, versatile and well-designed cookware before. Using the colourful designs from the ‘fifties, ‘sixties and ‘seventies really brightens your day, whether you’re cooking for pleasure or through necessity. As my collection grew I discovered that I genuinely enjoy looking for vintage pieces, almost as much as I enjoy displaying and using them and thus Pyrex Party Pixie came to be. Not everyone enjoys the search though, so I thought it would be good to have a one-stop vintage Pyrex shop online, especially helpful for collectors or casual admirers who don’t have access to any local sources of new pieces.
This blog is based on my love of vintage Pyrex! Hope you enjoy :)
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