Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Getting a Handle on Handles - Corningware Detachable Handles

Three little handles sitting in a row.

But to which series do the handles go?

One for the P Series,

One for the A

And one for the servers at your Buffet.

It's true... There are 3 handles designed by Corning for their cookware.  OK, technically there are 4.

I mean, who could forget the cute little handle that fits on the Petite pans?

But lets focus on the cookware of at least 1 quart in size.

Most people are familiar with the P-Series handle (P-10-HG) released with the original Corningware that hit the market in 1958. (The lids may have changed from Fin style to Knob style in 1960, but the handle remained unchanged



They are extremely prolific in just about every thrift store on the planet.  My theory?  During the time of the P series Corningware, more people were actually using them on the stove top. Even though Corning changed the shape of Corningware in 1972, requiring a different handle, Corning still had P series pieces in production.  The P-4-B is an excellent example.  It was still being produced well into the late 70's, which is why it's available in Spice O' Life, Country Festival, Wild Flower, Floral Bouquet.  Heck, there is even a Christmas commemorative piece from 1978. Thus, the P Series handle was still in production well into the 70's, possibly the early 80's.  That's A LOT of handles.

Then in 1972 Corning changed the shape of Corningware.  It was more square, flatter on the bottom (though not actually "flat ground" like the Electromatic skillets and Cookmates) and had tighter fitting lids with larger knobs on the top.  But most importantly, as far as handles are concerned, they changed the width of the "lug" that the handle attaches to.  Thus, a new style of handle was needed..... The A-10-HG.



This handle is actually narrower where it attaches to the base piece than it's predecessor had been.  Thus, the handle was designed for the lug to extend beyond the end of the clamping mechanism, instead of it being completely covered as it had been in the P series pieces.

I can testify to the larger lug making it easier to handle Corningware when removing it from the oven.  But I cannot say as to whether the detachable handle design is a good one.  To me, it seems like there is more stress being put on a smaller area.  However, as you can see, there is more bracing from the side of the piece, than there was with the original handle.

I only own 1 piece of A series Corningware, and it's an Electromatic skillet A-22.  Thus I am not in the habit of moving my piece via the detachable handle.

Another thing that should be noted, is that not ALL of the A-Series "casseroles" are able to take a handle.  You can attach one, but it is not stable.  This has to do with a change made to the lugs.  I am not sure when this change was made, but I have a feeling that it happened with the conversion from quarts to liters as a unit of measurement.

This is the back side of the original A-series lug.

This is the post-metric conversion lug.  Note that there is no recessed area on the underside of the handle to keep the locking mechanism from slipping back and forth.


Now, let's discuss the lesser known handle.  The P-201-HG.  This handle should probably have been designated a B-10-HG, because it was available for the round Buffet Servers, Centura Cook n' Serve and Merry Mushroom Pieces, all of which are B series pieces (this also includes the Spice O' Life round as well).


While, the Buffet/Centura/Corning Round line had the same sized lugs as the P series, the side of the pans are curved.  Slight alterations were made to the connection mechanism and the supports.  Thus, even though this detachable handle has the "P" designation, and will fit on P series pans, it's a slightly tight fit because it is better suited to the round pans.  In fact, this handle works excellent on the round Saucemakers. (P-55, P-64 & P-65)


You can tell, when seen side by side, that the P-201-HG had the basic design from which they took the design for the A Series Handle (A-10-HG).

While the A Series (A-10-HG) is a little more tapered and has "cut-outs" for the lug to pass through and more bracing against the side of the saucepan, the P-201-HG is really designed much like the P-10-HG at the connection point.


The only real difference between the P-201-HG and the P-10-HG, aside from the clamping mechanism being enclosed instead of open, is the style of the actual bakelite handle.  The P-201-HG has a smooth upscale feel that befit the Buffet Servers that it was designed to accompany.




There is one other thing about this P-201-HG that you should know.  When it was originally released (1964), you could get it in any color you chose.... As long as it was black.  :-)  But when the Avocado Buffet servers hit the market in 1968 (and Butterscotch in 1969), Corning released the P-201-HG in White.

The White P-201-HG was designed to accompany all round versions of "round" Corningware, even after the "Buffet Servers" were replaced by Centura Cook n' Serve line and "Corningware Round" was released in Spice O' Life and Merry Mushroom through the 70s.

NOW, all that being said.......

I had heard rumors for years that the original P-10-HG and the A-10-HG came in white, but I had NEVER seen one in person, nor had I even seen a picture of one.  That is until now.  Below is the 601-H handle designed for the original Centura Saucepans designed by Jerry Wright to accompany the release of Centura Dinnerware.

It looks almost like the P-10-HG, but the supports are longer.



There is also a curve to the top of the connector...

This has to do with the design of the original Centura Saucepans (the pan is made of the same material as Corning Ware, but the lids are made of Centura)

Note that the handle lugs are tipped up, curved on the top side and rounded on the bottom side.  This is a departure from the flat topped lug used on Corning Ware.

This is more than likely where the rumor of a white P-10-HG started.


However, this handle will not fit the P-series, B-Series, A-Series nor any of the Centura "Cook n' Serve" line (which are really just Buffet Servers (B-series) with fancy lids)

Where is your Corningware Detachable Handle??
~~

8 comments:

Cynthia said...

Great article, Shane! Do you know, I have never seen a detachable handle in real life. I had no idea of their existence until I got into vintage Corningware. Maybe I will find one in the wild someday...

Anonymous said...

Very informative, Shane. Thank you. Also, I've found from personal experience, that the old wire handles created for Pyrex Flameware pans & skillets in the 1940's also fit the P-series saucepans (pre '72). My original Corning handle broke (the turning portion refused to stay in the "lock" position) in the mid 1980's. So I had to improvise for a couple of years until I found a new one (the A-series handles were the only ones you could find in 1985). The handle I had left over from my mother's '40's Flameware set worked perfectly!
---Cathy

Shane Wingerd said...

I always find mine in the kitchen utensil bin at the Good Will and the Salvation Army. They always seem to be buried in the bottom of the bins, so it requires a significant amount of digging. LOL Good Luck in your search!

Shane Wingerd said...

Cathy, THAT is excellent information! Thank you for sharing. I would not have known that the Pyrex Flameware handles would work on Corningware. Thank you for sharing that intrinsic bit of information. I am going to hunt down a Pyrex handle at the thrift store so I can add pictures to this post, so others can see. Awesome!

Anonymous said...

Great info, I was just looking for one the other day. Now I am armed with info.

Kurt said...

I have been following your blog for a few weeks. All my Corningware is the A series and I have 2 of the A-10 handles. I use them all the time on the stove top but I don't like to lift with them if the contents are too heave. On a skillet they work great and to keep a saucepan 1.5 -> 3 quart steady they are invaluable but I would never lift the 3 quart with one. The A-5-B doesn't even allow you to attach the handles to them. The p-43 handles are handy but you have to be careful. One of my P-43 dishes met it's demise when I didn't attach the handle the right way.

Shane Wingerd said...

THAT is excellent advice Kurt. Not having any A series pieces except my A-22 skillet, I would not have thought about that. The largest P-series piece that will accept a handle is only 2 1/2 quart. The 4 quart P-43 Dutch Oven doesn't have lugs on the sides and the P-84 has handles that are too wide and thick to accept a handle (kind of like the A-5).

You also bring up an excellent point about he P-43's. At some point in the 90's they stopped manufacturing the P-41's all together and flattened the lugs on the P-43 so they no longer have the "hump" on top. The P-41-HG will not attach to these types of lugs. I dropped one of my Mom's Shadow Iris ones because I had not noticed that the handle was not really attached.

Kurt said...

I wanted to clarify my earlier comment. All of my Corningware is A series. I mentioned that I wouldn't trust a handle on the A-3-B. Well I as using it last night and sure enough, neither did Corning. The A-3-B AND the A-2-B, like the A-5-B don't allow a handle to be used on them. I would assume the A-84-B is the same way but since I have the 5 I have never bothered looking for the 84.
So those A-10 handles appear to only be for the following skillets and small sauce pans.
A-1-B, A-1.5-B, A-8-B, A-10-B
I have used the handles on all of the above and they work perfectly.

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