World Kitchen, Inc. Media and Design Records
The World Kitchen, Inc. Media and Design Records consists of a wide variety of materials documenting the product design, marketing, sales, manufacture, and advertising of the popular houseware lines Corelle, CorningWare, Crown Corning, Pyrex, and Visions, ranging from their beginnings at Corning Glass Works (hereafter referred to as Corning) to their eventual incorporation into the World Kitchen brand in the 2000s.
The collection is divided into eight series:
1. Advertising, 1915-2011
2. Sales and Marketing Materials, 1926, 1943-2011
3. Public Relations, 1997-2003
4. Product Images, Circa 1966-2000
5. Technical Drawings, 1929-2002
6. Legal Files, 1922-2008
7. Manufacturing Processes, Circa 1965-1995
8. Miscellaneous World Kitchen Records, 1957-2003
- Creation: 1915-2011
- Creation: Majority of material found within 1970-2006
Language of Materials
The majority of the collection materials are in English, although a limited amount of the print materials are also in Spanish, French, and Portuguese (Series 01, Sub-series 02: Catalogs and Sell Sheets; Series 06, Sub-series 01: Design Drawings for Legal Files). A number of the television commercials (Series 01, Sub-series 02, Sub-sub-series 07: Foreign Language Commercials) are in Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Mandarin Chinese, and Bahasa Indonesia.
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for public research. Researchers must make an appointment to view this collection.
Conditions Governing Use
The Copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement. The user agrees to defend, indemnify, and hold harmless the Corning Museum of Glass and the Rakow Research Library against all claims, demands, costs and expenses incurred by copyright infringement or any other legal or regulatory cause of action arising from the use of Library materials.
Biographical / Historical
Corning Incorporated was founded in 1851 as the Bay State Glass Co. in Somerville, Massachusetts. It later moved to Brooklyn, New York, and was renamed the Brooklyn Flint Glass Works. In 1868, it relocated to Corning due to the transportation opportunities afforded by the Chemung Canal and was renamed the Corning Flint Glass Works by Amory Houghton, Jr. The company was incorporated as Corning Glass Works in 1875.
Corning Glass Works’ first housewares product was Pyrex bakeware, which was sold to consumers beginning in 1915. Pyrex originated from Corning’s work in railroad signal glass; at the time, railroads needed signal lights on the tracks that were a uniform color and were resistant to heat expansion, cracking, and corrosion. Corning Glass Works patented a tempered borosilicate glass called Nonex, which was an immediate success. The company quickly began to search for other uses for Nonex. In 1913, Bessie Littleton, the wife of physics professor Jesse T. Littleton, who had recently been hired by Corning to study its new borosilicate glass and develop new applications for it, asked her husband to bring her some more durable material from work after an earthenware pan she was baking in shattered. Littleton brought home two sawed-off battery jars made of Nonex, which Bessie Littleton used to bake a cake in. The favorable results led Corning scientists to attempt to create a safer, lead-free formula for glass bakeware, which resulted in the creation of Pyrex.
While it required some work to convince customers that it was safe to bake in glass (reflected in its early advertising), Pyrex eventually became very successful. Pyrex bakeware appealed to homemakers, as it was durable, affordable, easy to clean, and attractive enough to serve out of.
CorningWare cookware and ovenware was introduced in 1958. CorningWare products were made out of Pyroceram, a new glass ceramic material introduced in 1957; it was conceived of as a material that could rival the quality of both china and earthenware while also withstanding the heat of stovetops, as Pyrex products could only be used in ovens. Pyroceram was known for being lightweight, hard, and strong, and could be taken directly from the freezer to the oven. This inspired many classic commercials touting CorningWare’s ability to go “from the freezer to the oven to the table.”
Introduced in 1970, Corelle dishes are made of three layers of laminated glass consisting of a thicker layer of opal glass sandwiched between two thinner exterior layers of clear glass, making the dishes lightweight yet resistant to breakage. The fact that Corelle dishes were sold in affordable sets made them attractive to middle-class consumers, as did their distinctive “ring” when flicked, which reminded people of the sound of fine china.
Corelle’s first line of dishes, called Livingware, came with a two-year warranty that guaranteed stores would keep each pattern in stock for two years after its discontinuation. Corning later introduced a warranty on Corelle dishes that promised to replace any broken dish within two years of purchase.
Corning’s fourth prominent product line, Visions, was introduced in France in 1983 and the U.S. in 1985. It was a line of clear glass ceramic pots and pans that came in two colors: amber and cranberry. While Visions products were initially very popular, their popularity soon waned after it became apparent that the pots and pans were good for boiling, but not as good for frying, and were prone to sticking and uneven heating.
In the mid-1980s, Corning added another line of products called Crown Corning, which were upscale dishes and tableware intended to be sold in department stores; the Crown Corning line also imported items not made by Corning.
In 1989, the company changed its name from Corning Glass Works to Corning Incorporated. In early 1997, Corning Incorporated exited the consumer housewares business in order to focus on its science and technology division, which included the research and development of photonics, optical fibers, and telecommunications technology.
The housewares division of the company, called Corning Consumer Products—which included the Corelle, CorningWare, Crown Corning, Revere Ware, Pyrex, and Visions lines—was sold by Corning Incorporated in April 1998 to Borden, Inc. (a division of the investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Co.) for $975 million. The new company was renamed World Kitchen Inc. in January 2000, and incorporated other well-known housewares lines such as OXO and Ecko under its umbrella. World Kitchen was known as Corelle Brands from 2018 to 2021. Corelle Brands merged with Instant Pot in 2021 and is now known as Instant Brands.
Dyer, David and Gross, Daniel. The Generations of Corning: The Life and Times of a Global Corporation. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.
"Marketing Gives Corning a Boost," _The New York Times_, April 2, 1988.
208 Linear Feet (73 flat boxes, 13 records cartons, 68 half records cartons, 8 half Hollinger boxes, and 1 oversized folder)
Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
Researchers should be aware that the bulk of the audiovisual recordings in this collection have been digitized, but are not available to watch online at this time, and therefore the files have no physical locations or links in the finding aid. Please contact the Rakow Library for assistance with access to the digitized media. In addition, many of the remaining video recordings are on obsolete formats (Betacam and U-matic tapes). The Rakow lacks the necessary playback equipment to screen these tapes; therefore, some of the tapes are unwatchable, especially the majority of Series 07, Sub-series 02: Manufacturing Videos and Series 07, Sub-series 03: Field Testing.
In Series 01, Sub-series 03 (Other Product Promotion), many of the Cornelius and assorted product placement videos have a black box in the center of the screen that blocks some of the picture. This box disappears after several minutes in most of the videos.
In Series 05 (Technical Drawings), Boxes OV 109-110, 146-148, and 152-158 contain a large number of plastic pieces with printed decorative patterns that were taped to the drawings and easily fall off. Some of the pages can’t be separated due to lamination, and many of the B drawings also have light water damage. Please also note that all of the largest boxes in this series (Boxes OV 146-151 and Boxes OV 169, 170, 176, and 180) are extremely heavy and should be lifted by two people.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Received from World Kitchen, Inc. in 2018. Accession 2018.011.
Processed by Sarah Alender in 2021 and 2022 with assistance from Colleen McFarland Rademaker.
All technical drawings featuring Revere Ware were offered back to Corning, Inc.
About 207 duplicate and component (i.e. not completed ads) VHS and U-matic tapes of advertisements were discarded during processing, along with 93 35mm films, about 120 open-reel magnetic tape duplicates, B-roll, and audio. In addition, about 125 tapes that were not related to Corning Incorporated, World Kitchen, or either companies' products were discarded. Approximately 50 focus group tapes were discarded, along with about 70 tapes that recorded meetings and quarterly sales reports. A handful of other internal corporate videos were offered back to Corning, Inc., along with all Cornelius Revere Ware videos (40-50 tapes). Approximately 15 of the Other Product Promotion and Internal Corporate tapes were discarded due to duplication and the bad quality of the video.
CDs and DVDs that were unlabelled or contained product placement, news clips, logos, and packing guides were also discarded, as were any cassette tapes featuring focus groups, radio promotions and giveaways, and scientific lectures. This totalled roughly 50 CDs/DVDs and 30 audiocassette tapes.
- World Kitchen, Inc. Media and Design Records, 1915-2011
- A Guide to the Collection
- Sarah Alender
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description