The late 1970s saw a decline in the production of Pyrex opalware. Cookware needs and fashions were changing and Corning Glass Works began to release promotional patterns as part of “collections” rather to coincide with seasonal events.
Wheat was a part of the “Designer Collection,” released simultaneously in 1978 with Daisy, Terra Cotta Rose, Dynasty and Spices. Wheat was released on the 2 ½ quart Oval Casserole (045) and came with a wooden trivet. Wheat has a light brown wheat pattern on a brown background. This same pattern was used two years later, but was called Autumn Harvest. Autumn Harvest was a standard pattern released on a full array of Pyrex dishes and was one of the last four patterns being made when production on all opalware Pyrex was discontinued in 1986.
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 candle warmers 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 intended to be reflective of the specific pattern.