100 Years of PYREX

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Pyrex glass brand, considered today as the quality standard for laboratory glassware around the world. SciLabware is delighted to be celebrating the 100th anniversary of this illustrious brand.

There are very few products made so well that the brand becomes a generic name for everything similar. Pyrex is one of the few.

Trusted by scientists for 100 years

Since its introduction in 1915, Pyrex glass has advanced the research and development of science, medicine and space exploration; playing a pivotal role in many historic achievements through its reliability, strength, performance, safety and chemical resistance. In the 1950s, the Pyrex Fernbach flasks were used to grow the original cultures for the polio vaccine, and the first radio message from the South Pole was transmitted over radio antennas using Pyrex insulators.

After first receiving its registered trademark in 1915 the Pyrex name has become a world famous brand in science, thanks to its well documented thermal and chemical resistance properties that continue to be trusted throughout the scientific community around the globe. Not bad considering its origins.

Pyrex borosilicate glass was the result of an early twentieth century research project to develop a material for use in the railroad industry. Glass manufacturer Corning Glass Works was established in Massachusetts, US in 1851. By the early 1900s it was developing heat resistant borosilicate glass that was being used in railroad lanterns.

Winter's cold air, against heat from the lantern flame was causing the glass to shatter, and Corning scientists were tasked with developing a glass that could handle these extremes of temperature.

A new Corning research laboratory founded in 1908 would soon solve this problem, with the development of the successful low-expansion glass we know today as Pyrex . Corning Glass Works registered the name Pyrex in 1915 and later registered a patent for Pyrex glass in 1919. 1915 brought the initial range of borosilicate glass laboratory products from Corning Glass Works, consisting of beakers and flasks that were distributed across the United States.

Over 90 years of production in the UK

In 1921 the company 'James A. Jobling and Co. Ltd' secured an exclusive agreement with Corning Glass Works to manufacture Pyrex borosilicate glassware under license. After returning to the UK with the rights to supply Pyrex brand glassware for the British Empire, Jobling & Co began production in 1923 after successful trials of the Pyrex formula at the Flint Wear Glass Works in Sunderland.

Within a few years the Pyrex ascent towards its status as a globally recognised brand was well underway. In 1962 manufacture began at the company's new purpose built factory in Stone, Staffordshire, after merging with a local jointed glassware manufacturer Quickfit & Quartz Ltd.

The site became the head quarters for the laboratory division of James A Jobling & Co. After several acquisitions and a number of changes in ownership the company became the widely reconised name of Barloworld Scientific.

In 2008 the glassware and reusable plastic labware part of the business began trading as SciLabware. In 2013 SciLabware relocated to new facilities in the city of Stoke-on-Trent where the company continues to produce Pyrex laboratory glassware under licence from Corning Inc. using traditional glassblowing techniques and the latest in glass production technology.