Saturday, August 9, 2014

A Renaissance in Cookware - Corning Ware Renaissance Limited Edition Gift Line

Over the last year, I have written up many posts on Corning Ware patterns in order to provide some semblance of a record for the online community.  The whole idea stemmed from the myriad patterns I kept  running into during my quest for my own favorite pattern, being "Wheat".  There has been one pattern, however, that has eluded me over the last year... Actually, it has been eluding me since 2007 when I first found out about it.

Renaissance.   The limited edition Gift Line pattern from 1970 (The year they began printing "For Range and Microwave" on the bottom).  The pattern is an etching of a Swedish seaport. 

These are the 2 pieces that I own now...   The P-84-B (4 quart Sauce Pot)

and the P-2 1/2-B Sauce Pan

Both of these pieces are only part of the entire scene.   For a "panoramic view", one must look to the P-35 Broil and Bake tray......


Other pieces in the line (that I personally do not own yet) include a 1 3/4 quart sauce pan (P-1 3/4-B) that has a close up of the carriages and the ship masts, and the 9 cup stove top percolator (P-149) which features the Cathedral on the left side of the tray.

I did get the wood handled cradle with the P-84-B, which is how it originally came.   The smaller saucepans were paired with the chrome "Royal Buffet" candle warming cradles.  I don't particularly care for the wood handled cradle with this pattern, as it covers up too much of the design.  I will probably opt for the Platinum Cradles when I use my Renaissance pieces. Which will only be for "uber" special occasions.

One thing of note, is the special lids that came with the Renaissance pieces (and "Nature's Bounty" in 1971). They have pebble a texture on their underside.....

as opposed the the non-pebbled standard lids (left)




Where is your Corning Ware??
~~

Monday, August 4, 2014

Percolator Progeny Promulgation - The Corning Ware P-119 Percolator and It's Descendents

In 1958, Corning released it's first percolator.... The P-108 (8 cup) and the smaller P-106 (6 cup)

By 1959, Corning faced a problem with said percolators.....   The original design was completely constructed of Pyroceram and, due to the cumbersomeness of the larger 8 cup pot (seen above), the spouts would chip inevitably get chipped.  

As a consequence, Corning discontinued the original P-106 and P-108 in 1960 and replaced it with the P-119 (9 cup) and P-116 (6 cup) model.   These percolators were endowed with a stainless steel collar and rim that eliminated the possibility of chipping during washing.  This would, however lead to the infamous recall that Corning was forced to make due to the method of attachment being less than reliable (but there is more to the story and the recall is not all inclusive... though eBay and Etsy would have everyone believe so)

The issue lies in the fact that not ALL P-119 & P-116 Percolators are created equal......  There are actually 2 Generations of these first stainless steel spouted pots.

Generation 1 (first released in 1960) is the one that is not only glued, but clamped as well... This is evident from the bolts that actually hold the band onto the pot.   These are usually easy to identify because the bolts are, more often than not, exposed.

This is due to the fact that the little black plastic "cover" has been lost over the years.  These pots ARE 50 years old, so it was bound to happen at some point in the pots history.

If you remove the bolts, you will discover that these 1st generation pots are both epoxied and clamped.  Even if the glue is compromised over the years, the handle and band are still secured around the top of the pot... Though your coffee may still leak out from under the band if the epoxy is worn out.

At some point, though I am not sure when at this point, the handles were modified.   I suspect that customers were complaining about that small plastic cover piece getting lost.  This little changes led to the second generation of the P-119 & P-116 Percolators.

Unlike Generation I, Gen II's solid handle was affixed to the stainless steel band before the whole assembly was glued to the top of the pot.  This is evident by the lack of any screws and the small hole on the underside of the pot handle.

Thus began the irritating, and sometimes shocking, tendency for the pots to separate from the handle assembly and liberally bath the unsuspecting host's or hostess's leg in a deluge of hot coffee.

This tendency towards separation is what began the recalls of the Corning Ware Percolators.  The list of recalls is somewhat extensive and includes not only stove top percolators, but Electromatic ones as well....  They are as follows:  

Stove top percolators:

P-116, P-119, P-146, & P-149

While the original P-106 and P-108 from 1958 & 59 are completely safe for use, it wasn't until the release of the P-166 (6 cup) and P-169 (9 cup) in the early 80s that they became "safe" again. (because they are Pyroceram pots with a stainless steel band and handle that is clamped around the pot)

Electromatic Percolators:

P-6-EP, P-23-EP, P-80-EP, P-280-EP, P-480-EP, & P-1210-EP

Sadly, there is not a single Electromatic Percolator made that it truly safe for use.  Though it can be argued that the P-23-EP (the original model) is "safer" than the others, they are ALL glued together.  It is just that the epoxy they used was different on the first P-23-EP pots, while consecutive models have the the less stable epoxy type.

If you are a hardcore collector, you probably have a few of these setting around and may even be using one or two of them.   I would advise extreme caution when using, the tendency for separation from repeated heating and cooling can be somewhat alleviated by using both hands when pouring your coffee.   Simply hold the handle in one hand and support the bottom of the pot with your other hand (using a pot holder of course).

Happy Perking!

Where is your Corning Ware Percolator??
~~