20100630

What Happened to the Glass Double Boiler?

I decided to buy a double boiler for making salves etc. I made the decision to buy a glass one based on the ease of use I experienced when making salves in a workshop with Cathy Hope, founder of Iris Herbal. Glass and the rounded edges it produces seems so logical when using thick substances like honey, wax, and oils. The shape and texture is conducive to using a spatula to get all the material from the boiler. I was surprised to find that these glass Corning double boilers can only be obtained vintage. I always favor buying used goods but I am left scratching my head, "why did Corning (and Pyrex and the others) stop making glass double boilers?" Was there a problem with them or is this more evidence of the decline of American made goods for reasons none other than profit? Does anyone have a clue about this?

The glass double boiler is not easy to find so run dont walk if your interested in getting one. I picked this one up in pristine condition (ebay) for $15.00 and another $15.00 in shipping.

4 comments:

Joel said...

One big obstacle to Corning's business has been the spread of personal electronics, which consume a lot of the lithium that had previously been used to make the low-thermal-expansion substances that allow for safe use of ceramics on the stove top. See thermal shock and glass ceramic for a few more details...I wrote the former article, and I'm glad to see it has improved since I first wrote it.

Only so much Li is mined each year, and the more cell phones, laptops, and Tesla roadsters we make, the fewer corningware items we can make.

Wendy Jehanara Tremayne said...

Curious. . thanks for such an interesting response. We're wondering if lithium leaches from the glass, if we humans ingest it via our food.

Dean W. Armstrong said...

Corning sold its pyrex business off a number of years ago and the new owner doesn't make pyrex out of real borosilicate glass.

Joel said...

>We're wondering if lithium leaches from the glass, if we humans ingest it via our food.

An educated guess would be "maybe the very first time it is washed."

A tiny amount of sodium leaches out of glass, for example, but not enough to make a visible difference in surface finish. As the first tiny bit of leaching occurs, the other, much less-soluble components of the glass remain on the surface, preventing any further leaching.

Dean's answer would explain more than mine, though: I hadn't known that recently-made Pyrex is cheaper stuff.