A brand name product developed by Corning Glass Works in 1915, Pyrex has higher melting point than traditional glass and therefore lends itself to baking. Apparently non-cooks use the stuff to manufacture telescopes, flashlights, marijuana bongs and other scientific objects.

The story goes that Bessie Littelton, the wife of a Corning scientist implored her husband to bring home some samples of the new glass he was working on as a substitute for a casserole pot, which had damaged her new oven. The dutiful husband brought home the sawed-off bottoms of two battery jars made from Corning’s experimental low-expansion glass. Bessie set about to cooking a sponge cake in the jars and was shocked to discover:

  • the cook time was shorter
  • the cake did not stick to the glass
  • the cake was evenly cooked
  • the glass was easy to clean
  • the glass did not absorb the smell or flavor of the cake

Two years later the process was perfected and Pyrex was born. All of those properties that Bessie discovered over a century ago still hold true. Let’s hope she had stock options.

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