“These smart new Pyrex ware items make ideal Christmas gifts for the modern woman…because they’re so wonderfully practical as well as beautiful,” states a 1957 advertisement from Ladies Home Journal. Included in these new gifts was the Cradled Space-Saver Casserole, better known by its unofficial name, “Black Needlepoint.”
Released on the two-quart Square Space-Saver Casserole (575), Black Needlepoint came with a serving cradle and a clear lid that could be used “as (an) extra serving dish, or as a tile to protect the finish of the table.”
Black Needlepoint retailed for $4.95 and was also given the nickname, “Embroidery,” because of its floral cross stich pattern along the side of the yellow casserole dish.
Corning Glass Works offered its first patterned opalware gift set in 1953 when the Heinz Baking Dish was sold in grocery stores. Widespread distribution of promotional patterns occurred after the overwhelming success of the 1956 release of seasonal “decorator casseroles.” Using existing Pyrex shapes, gift sets featured new patterns offered for a limited production time. They often came with mounters, cradles, or candlewarmers and were advertised in the spring to appeal to Mother’s Day and summer wedding shoppers and in the fall to give the holiday gift-buyers something new. Corning continued to produce gift sets through 1983, creating nearly 135 different gift set patterns during that time. Corning intended these pieces to be sold for a limited time, and directed retailers to remove older, unsold promotions from the shelves.
Often, patterns used for these gift items were unnamed, or given names descriptive of the dish’s purpose, like “chip and dip set.” Collectors over the years have assigned names more reflective of the specific pattern.