The PYREX® kitchen brand may owe its popularity over the past 100 years to a letter written to Corning in 1929 by a college home economics instructor.
Dr. Lucy Maltby, on Mansfield (Pa.) State Teachers College faculty and a Corning, New York, native, chided the company about PYREX products, saying they weren’t kitchen friendly enough.
She pointed out “that some PYREX pieces came in awkward sizes and shapes“ and encouraged Corning to apply home economics research, along with consumer feedback, to improve the product, according to “The Generations of Corning: The life and times of a global corporation.”
Sales of the cookware were down significantly, and with the Great Depression looming, many U.S. families considered PYREX too expensive. Corning leadership knew that PYREX needed a revamp, and after reading Maltby’s letter, they hired her to manage a new consumer service department.
Maltby, holding degrees from Cornell, Iowa State and Syracuse, spent her early days at Corning corresponding with consumers and creating instructions on how to use PYREX. But by 1931, she expanded her team and launched Corning’s first consumer test kitchen.