Pyrex has a special place in the hearts of cooks, bakers, and vintage collectors across the country, but perhaps unsurprisingly for a company that's been around for 100 years, it's particularly special to those who have a personal stake in the production of each piece. During my tour of the Pyrex factory in Charleroi, PA, I spent time chatting with a number of employees from almost every department.
As we talked, two things kept coming up over and over.
One, again unsurprisingly for a region of the country known for loyalty to its roots (it's also the home of the Steelers, after all), is that every single person spoke with effusive pride in the quality of the product and the camaraderie of the team that makes it. They use it and they believe in it.
Most employees have a thrift store's worth of Pyrex — both old and new — in their houses. "When I came to work here, I put in an extra set of kitchen cabinets," says staffer Don Gidd.
The employees love it all, but there's one piece that gets a whole lot of affection in Pyrex home kitchens. Want to know what it is?
Pyrex Employees' All-Time Favorite Piece
Drumroll, please ... it's the 233! Better known to consumers as the 9x13-inch baking dish, it's the top pick from almost every single staffer I spoke with. Most guys at the plant spoke fondly of the piece not only for its construction, but for its usefulness in making baked pasta dishes.
Plant director John Lackovic appreciates the easy-grab handles of the dish — a signature Pyrex design, and some of the finickiest things to mold on the line — when he makes his bacon-studded baked ziti. It's also strategically deployed to hook others on the magic of Pyrex. When bringing a dish to a potluck dinner, Gidd and his wife always bring lasagna and leave the pan with the hosts.
The iconic measuring cup, which is frequently used by the Pyrex pack for far more than just measuring. Accounting department member Lisa Childs, a second-generation Pyrex employee, uses the wide four-cup measuring cup as her go-to mixing bowl for all her baking. "I wouldn't trade it for a million dollars," she says. (For the record, her retired father's favorite is also the 233.)
Dorm-based college kids could also take a tip from Mike Scheffki, the World Kitchen brand liaison who started working with the Charleroi plant team in 2015. His first Pyrex piece was the measuring cup, which he refers to as his "handled mac and cheese bowl." He relies on it for everything from oatmeal to cereal to ice cream, and stands by his statement that "every bowl should have a handle now."
What's your favorite Pyrex piece, and how do you use it?