Pyrex 100 Measuring cup tour
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Pyrex 100 Measuring Cup Tour Goes Back To Our Roots
Fresh off a southern stopover at the CMA Music Festival in Nashville, the Pyrex® 100 Measuring Cup Tour made its longest journey yet, to Corning, N.Y., the birthplace of Pyrex brand glassware. We were fortunate to have Kris Malkoski, President, North America & Chief Innovation Officer of World Kitchen, on hand to give us a personal perspective of the historic weekend.
By Kris Malkoski, President, North America & Chief Innovation Officer of World Kitchen
On each stop of the Pyrex® 100 Measuring Cup Tour, we’ve been warmly welcomed by employees, collectors and fans of our most iconic kitchen brand. We’ve been congratulated and celebrated as they showed their support with excitement, encouragement and pride. But nowhere have we encountered the level of personal connections and emotional sentiments as we experienced in Corning, N.Y., on June 20.
The weekend kicked off with a remarkable outdoor reception next to the Corning Museum of Glass (CMOG), a symbolically appropriate location as it was also next to the old Corning Consumer Products building, the actual birthplace of the first Pyrex glassware, including the famous measuring cup. Attendees, including members of the CMOG and other partners in glass technology, were incredibly engaged. That’s no surprise given that many of them were involved in the designing and making of Pyrex products—some from the very early days. Two retirees shared stories that really resonated with me.
THE INSIDE SCOOP: VIC AND DENNIS
A little bit of background is needed before we get personal. The Pyrex glass measuring cup was first made from two pieces of glass that were seamed together. For added strength and durability, Pyrex R&D scientists began working on a design for a seamless measuring cup made from one mold.
Enter Vic, one of those scientists. He devised a prototype for a seamless closed-handle version. His design didn’t “win,” but Vic still has the one-and-only cup, and he uses it every day.
Then I met Vic’s colleague, Dennis. He is credited with creating the seamless open-handle model that became the chosen cup and current form we use to this day. Quiet and reserved, his pride was evident as he shared his hobby with me. Dennis collects replicas of the measuring cup in all different sizes and iterations. We’re honored to add to his collection a “World’s Smallest Measuring Cup” keychain from our Pyrex 100 cup tour.
MAKING TIME FOR PYREX FUN!
As always, the stop included other popular elements of our tour, like the Pyrex photo booth and the vintage product display. The photo booth was again a huge hit with long lines. One fan in her 90s waited to have her picture taken and inserted into a historical ad, which no doubt brought back some great memories. As you can see, World Kitchen CEO Karl Warschausky and I got in on the action, too. Say cheese!
We were also able to thank the creative force behind the photo-op fun, Hope Johnson, a former World Kitchen employee. She came up with the idea of capturing fans images along each tour stop, and was instrumental in gathering the historical print ads and other materials that make the photos treasured keepsakes for all who stop by.
PLENTY OF HISTORY
One of my favorite things about the vintage collection is making comparisons and seeing contrasts between the old and the new Pyrex products. It really showcases how Pyrex brand successfully balances timelessness and innovation.
Many people are surprised to learn that Pyrex also pioneered the use of a “test kitchen.” On-staff home economists would receive cooking- and baking-related questions, test for solutions using Pyrex products, and then publish the answer. Talk about your original consumer-direct social media!
Another piece of interesting history I enjoyed learning about is the Littleton family’s glass heritage. Dr. Jesse and Mrs. Bessie Littleton took glass into the kitchen with the development of the first piece of Pyrex glassware. In the 1970s, their son Harvey was instrumental in the initial movement that took American glassmaking from factory-based to free-form, and he became a renowned glass artist and educator.
And as always, the centerpiece of the celebration was the Pyrex World’s Largest Measuring Cup. Being surrounded by glass purists, I proactively acknowledge the Lucite construction. I knew it would be an opportunity for some ribbing, so I played along, explaining that it would have cost us over $1 million to make it out of glass. That alone priced it out of our budget, and didn’t even account for coming up with a way to transport such a heavy piece of glass on the open road!
We ended this leg of the tour by bringing the giant cup into the Corning, Inc. plant to share with the employees. They enjoyed seeing how we were celebrating the centennial anniversary of the Pyrex brand, and of course asked what we were planning for the next big milestone, Corelle® brand’s upcoming 50th anniversary. After all, every piece of Corelle glass dishware is still made right here in Corning USA and is distributed worldwide. All I can say is: We can’t wait to show them—and everyone else—what we’re cooking up!
FROM UPSTATE TO UPTOWN
Next on the schedule, a celebration in the city! Come along as the World’s Largest Pyrex 100 Measuring Cup makes its way to Macy’s Herald Square.