What is the difference between Corning Ware and Corningware?
There is a distinction between the brand names Corning Ware and Corningware. Corning Inc. is the current owner of these names as well as the Pyrex name and even domain names like corningwarestores.com. Corning Inc. grants permission to World Kitchen to use the Corningware and Pyrex brand names under licence.
While it is true that the Corningware brand has been in use in the era of World Kitchen, it was really Corning Inc. who began using this spelling during the mid to late 1990s. Packaging and catalogues printed before the April 1998 acquisition exist with the Corningware brand. It is not clear precisely when Corning Inc. changed the spelling, but it was spelled "Corningware" in a 1997 catalogue that was promoting genuine glass-ceramic products.
In North America, the name "Corningware" can be found on stoneware products that are not glass-ceramic. At times it has been spelled as "CorningWare". After an approximate six year absence from the North American market, genuine glass-ceramic Corning Ware cookware returned in 2009, and it is branded "Corningware" as well.
Although it had been discontinued in North America, production never ceased. Real Corning Ware and Visions are still made in France, and current supplies of new items originate from there. These products have enjoyed steady demand in Asia in recent years.
French White ramekins, 4 oz, branded "Corningware". With completely smooth bottoms and embossed backstamp they are undoubtedly made of real Corning Ware, and US-made too. It is an over-simplification to assert that every item branded "Corningware" is foreign-made stoneware.
Certainly the majority of cookware made in the time of Corning Glass Works and Corning Inc. does bear the Corning Ware brand name. But it is entirely possible to find true glass-ceramic items made by both Corning Inc. and World Kitchen with the Corningware name too. Real Corning Ware remained in production at least four years after the 1998 acquisition, so its discontinuance was not a direct casualty of the company sale, contrary to popular belief.
The reason for its demise was lack of consumer interest. Home cooking methods have changed drastically since the late 1950s, and the efficiency of owning just one set of cookware capable of fulfilling all requirements no longer seems necessary. The modicum of versatility offered by stovetop and oven use is no longer seen as a benefit worth paying for. Glass-ceramic Corning Ware is far more expensive than stoneware or Pyrex if all that is required is a simple baking dish. For stovetop use, newer innovations like non-stick metal cookware and even Visions provide strong competition for Corning Ware.