Along with the Pressed Flowers Casserole, the Black Needlepoint Square Space-Saver and the Black Tulip Casserole, the White Lace Casserole was the first promotional item to have a printed design on its side. Previous promotional dishes were either white or solid in color with no design.
Known as a “Decorator Casserole,” this 2 ½ quart Oval Casserole (045) is turquoise blue and has a design of white swirls and flowers reminiscent of delicate lace. Advertisements of the Decorator Casserole describe the design as “turquoise with delicate white lace pattern.” Hence the unofficial name “White Lace” or “Lace Medallion” became the prominent reference name for this pattern.
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.