Wednesday, September 18, 2013

PYREX Passion

As mentioned in my last post, I visited the DC Big Flea this past weekend. I didn’t even know it was scheduled until I saw a photo and a post by Michael Barber on his PYREX Passion Facebook page.  (If there's such a thing as a Pyrex celebrity, I guess Michael's it. How goofy are we collectors?) But in the photo, he had just set up lots and lots of colored and patterned opal Pyrex for sale, and he was ready for business. 

His book, “PYREX Passion: The Comprehensive Guide to Decorated Vintage PYREX,” was released this year, something I'd learned about from another blogger (I just wish now that I could remember which one!). The book can be ordered from Michael here, but I decided to pay the eight bucks to get into the flea market both to check out his booth and to buy his book from the man himself.

I walked the entire floor full of vendors and found that it wasn’t really a flea market like I’m used to. (You know, no junk sitting there for 25 cents an item. No offensive tee-shirts. No baby chicks in a cardboard box.) Instead, most of the booths were selling antiques, artwork, or vintage items priced higher than I’m willing to pay. I like my vintage when I'm getting a deal, which is why I shop at thrift stores. I did have fun browsing, though.

I will say that I was surprised at the lack of mid-century items and design available. There was one booth devoted entirely to mid-century stuff, including some beautiful furniture. I also saw my favorite mid-century magazine rack there, priced at $36. I paid $2.98. (See. I like thrift stores.)

Then I found Michael's booth.

Pretty Pyrex color was everywhere. In fact, his was the brightest booth in the place. He had so many patterns on display, including some I’d never seen in person and even a couple I’d never seen, period. (And check out the wicked-cool mid-century occasional table Michael's book is displayed on in the photo up there.)

According to Michael’s book, this is Navajo (a promotional pattern).

Michael says this is Floral Bubbles (another promotional one).

I picked up a copy of his book and flipped through it, and Michael (dressed in a tie-dyed shirt, as was his booth partner) came over to talk to me. I told him that I had seen his book online and that I was a member of his Facebook page. So we talked for a few minutes, mostly about Pyrex. I think he spent lots of the weekend talking with folks who wanted to wax nostalgic about this pattern or that one. He also signed my book: "Remember everything looks better in PYREX!" Cute. And true.

I hadn't felt comfortable asking permission from any other vendors to take photos of their booths, but when I asked Michael, he had no problem with itwhich is why I have these to share.

I had never ever seen this lid before. Michael says this is Sol Flower (again, a promotional pattern).

I know I’m in the minority here, but I love the Pyrex browns.

 I spy a turquoise Hostess Set serving bowl with ramekins up there.

He had so many promotional patterns (read: somewhat rare) for sale . Michael also has an Etsy store, at which he sells his stock, by the way.

Until this moment, I had never seen a White Snowflake on Charcoal in person. True.

After I left, I thought of a something I should have asked Michael about, an issue I have with Pyrex: I've never seen a standard Pyrex pattern in purple. 
Why the heck not?


  1. Good question, why no purple?

    I love your blog, right up my vintage alley.

    1. Awwww. Thanks for the encouragement, Melissa. I'm having fun with it.

  2. NICE collection! :D This really inspires me to learn all the patterns. I encounter a lot of Pyrex while hunting but don't scoop it up often due to my severe lack of knowledge.

    1. Greetings, Van.
      Michael has a pattern reference page on his site for help with identification. I also like Corelle Corner’s Pattern Profile page ( Occasionally, I’ll refer to them via I-Phone in the thrift store. Mostly, though, I just buy what I like, regardless.

    2. I should have written that Corelle Corner's Pattern Profile page can be found by going to at the homepage. (It's handy-dandy, though!)