Clear Pyrex 1915 to 1950: Casseroles
The handles, lids and knobs of Pyrex casseroles follow a clear evolution from 1915 to 1950. It is possible to group these shapes into date ranges and establish the approximate age of these items by recognizing the style of these features. The peculiar pointed knob that is commonly associated with older Pyrex was used from 1915 to 1948 on about 40 different lids, so focusing on this aspect alone is an imprecise method of identifying a casserole or determining its age.
Other Pyrex products might have handles that resemble the handles of certain casseroles, but their production dates are not necessarily the same. Details on this page are pertinent only to casseroles, pudding dishes and bean pots. Also see: Baking Pans, Pie Plates.
Casseroles (l-r): Scalloped handle 1926-1939, Plain tab handle 1939-1947, Sculptured handle 1947-1950. Casseroles with no handles are from 1915-1926.
Initially, casseroles did not have any handles. Within the company, it was acknowledged that handles would have improved ease of use, but production costs were very high at the time and incorporating handles would have added an extra layer of complication, driving costs even higher. From the consumer's perspective, Pyrex was already expensive and raising retail prices was simply out of the question. But manufacturing efficiencies eventually would allow this design improvement to take place.
Model numbers are an important aspect in identifying Pyrex shapes & sizes. They are normally three digits and can be difficult to find on very old Pyrex. Some have no numbers at all, but those without handles are often marked under the rim or on the edge. Running a finger around the rim is the easiest way to locate these markings, and reading them is best done under the glare of a bright light.
(Photo: 135 round shallow baking dish, model number on top edge. "1" and "5" are stamped incorrectly.)
Even when the model number is clearly visible on the rim, occasional errors make it unusually difficult to interpret. Some are stamped backwards, and others might even have one or more digits upside-down. Casseroles that are a bit newer have their model number clearly marked under the tab handle, while more modern ones are numbered on the bottom.
Round lid (foreground) with etched design, marked 623-C, fits a round 023 (1½ Qt). The oval lids are engraved. The large one (left) is marked 644-C, and goes with a shallow oval 044 (2 Qt). The smaller oval lid (right) is marked 634-C-OR-643-C, so it fits two casseroles, a deep oval 034 (2 Qt), and a shallow oval 043 (1½ Qt).
Multiple model numbers appear on some lids and casseroles, providing clues about which lids will fit the casserole, or which casseroles match a particular lid. Shapes & sizes were standardized, and many tops and bottoms are interchangeable.
The most popular casserole size during this time span was 1½ Qt, and with the exception of bean pots, every casserole shape could be obtained in this size. Some shapes, like square casseroles, were available only in 1½ Qt. Among the many different shapes, round casseroles were the most popular, and they were offered in the widest range of sizes, from 8 oz to 3 Qt.
Casseroles Without Handles:
From 1915 to 1926 casseroles were manufactured without handles. The original basic round casserole shape (100 to 104) disappeared earlier, about 1923. "Standard" round and deep & shallow oval casseroles debuted in 1916. Square casseroles and round & oval Victor covers did not appear until 1921.
At the time, model numbers followed a less systematic naming convention. From smallest to largest:
Round: 104, 103, 102, 101, 100.
Round Shallow: 112, 113.
Round Individual: 164.
Round Standard: 167, 168, 169, 170; with Victor cover: 267, 268, 269, 270.
Oval Shallow: 183, 184, 185; with Victor cover: 283, 284, 285.
Oval Deep: 193, 197, 194, 190; with Victor cover: 293, 297, 294, 290.
Bean Pot: 502, 504, 506.
Round Pudding Dish: 463, 464, 465, 466, 467; with handles: 450.
Round Shallow Baking Dish: 135. Oblong Pudding Dish: 145.
Round 1½ Qt casserole marked 168-268, with ordinary lid, numbered 168. The casserole's model number indicates that two different lids will fit it.
Oval and round casseroles of this age have rims that rise above the level of the lid, or in other words, the lid rests entirely within the casserole's rim rather than on top of it. All lids are topped by a pointy knob. The shape of the original round casserole lid was patented, and it was designed by William Churchill. Victor covers were the work of William Hedges.
Lids for oval & round Standard casseroles fall into two types: ordinary lids, and Victor covers. Victor covers rest within the casserole rim as ordinary lids do, but they arch about one half inch higher, allowing for more space inside the dish. An ordinary lid and a Victor cover are interchangeable on the same casserole. Victor covers were produced from 1921 to 1926, and they only fit handle-less casseroles.
Round 1½ Qt casserole marked 168-268, with Victor cover, numbered 268. Same casserole, different lid. Victor cover knobs are a bit larger than usual.
Ordinary lids for oval & round Standard casseroles are denoted by a 100-series model number, and Victor covers carry a 200-series number. This means that casseroles marked only with a 100-series number, e.g.: 197, might be older than 1921. An oval or round Standard casserole marked with both a 100-series number and a 200-series number, e.g.: 197-297, cannot be older than 1921.
Comparing a 168 ordinary lid (left) and 268 Victor cover (right). They have the same diameter and rest on the same part of the casserole, within the rim.
Two-Piece/2-in-1 Oval Baking Dish
627 & 628 Handled Casseroles
Round Casseroles with Scalloped Handles
Oval Casseroles with Scalloped Handles
Casseroles with Specialty Shapes (693, 095, 696, 697)
Sweet and Low Casserole in a Matched Set
Round & Oval Casseroles with Plain Tab Handles
Casseroles with Sculptured Tab Handles
Casseroles with Rounded Full-Width Handles
Clear Pyrex Profiles: Baking Pans, Pie Plates
Clear Pyrex Casserole Numbering System
Clear Pyrex Custard Cups & Individual Dishes
What are Engraving & Etching?
Which casseroles use the same lid?
Clear Pyrex Advertising & Brochures
Pyrex Model Numbers
Isn't that date incorrect?