“Put all the warm colors of this line on display…” suggests a 1969 dealer catalog. The release of the “New Gift Line” in late-1969 saw some bold new pattern designs including the unofficially named Spirograph. “Corning Welcomes you to cooking in the 70s.”
Spirograph was advertised as the 2 ½ quart Round Casserole with Trivet (475) and retailed for $5.95. Spirograph, along with Nouveau Floral, was the first promotional pattern released with an under-plate style trivet. As the 1970s progressed Pyrex opalware promotional patterns included small three-legged trivets, under-plates and “hugger cradles” rather than traditional cradles and candle warmers.
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.