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Has anyone actually seen Corning Ware Pyroceram or VISIONS cookware explode?


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Initial post: May 5, 2011 10:50:49 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 5, 2011 12:51:29 PM PDT
Joe Ekaitis says:
As a Corning Ware Pyroceram and VISIONS cookware fan, I'm growing tired of internet rumors claiming these products are ticking time bombs waiting to kill and/or maim unwary cooks. I use structurally sound Corning Ware Pyroceram and VISIONS amber glass-ceramic cookware on the stove, under the broiler and in the oven without fear and without incident, and that makes me leery of tales about its perceived, and no doubt exaggerated, "tendency" to fail catastrophically when used as directed.

So I ask you, world:

Have YOU actually witnessed such explosive failure involving an intact piece of glass-ceramic cookware, specifically brands like Corning Ware Pyroceram, Arcoflam, Pyroflam and VISIONS?

No second-hand accounts, please, because they tend to acquire embellishment along the way or the facts are tainted, i.e.: accidentally using Pyrex amber bakeware (which was sold for a short time to compliment VISIONS and was clearly labeled "NO STOVETOP OR BROILER") on the stove. Similarly, don't confuse mid-20th century white Pyrex with Corning Ware Pyroceram. Lastly, stories about chipped, cracked or otherwise structurally compromised cookware don't count. Cracked cast iron has been known to explode but no one's circulating internet rumors as gospel truth about the "dangers" of cast iron.

Neither Pyrex, Anchor Hocking nor any other brand of glass bakeware are labeled for use on the stove, thus horror stories involving them can usually be traced to misuse. The most common is when someone tries to make pan gravy on top of the stove after removing a roast from a glass baking vessel or sets the hot bakeware on a cold surface, which is specifically admonished against in the use and care instructions. This isn't the place for those stories.

I don't work for World Kitchen and never worked for Corning but I have a feeling if you track down the truth, you'll find mistaken identity, misuse, abuse and negligence as the root causes, not a manufactured-in "tendency" to failure.

What say you, world?

Posted on May 5, 2011 10:57:36 AM PDT
medialint says:
Yes I have personally witnessed a pyrex/glass lasagna pan explode. It literally shattered in an explosion after bringing it out of the oven. I do not know the brand name of this particular pan. However, I do know it scared the living hell out of all of us.

Posted on May 5, 2011 11:06:27 AM PDT
Strange, I've never heard these rumors, but in fact, I have five scars from an exploding VISIONS 4-quart sauce pan. I was heating chili in it, and as I lifted the pot off the burner, it blew up. I got 5 pieces of shrapnel, 3 in my arm, 2 in my chest. As none of them were deeper than a quarter inch, though, I can't see how this type of incident might kill someone, and as the scars are smallish, I hardly count them as having "maimed" me. I just assumed it was a freak occurrence and replaced the shattered sauce pan.

Posted on May 5, 2011 12:36:16 PM PDT
tonyS says:
I've read stories here on the GBF about it. From what I remember, it has to do with air pockets in the material expanding under rapid, high heat. They don't recommend going straight from freezer to oven/microwave for that very reason. No, I've never seen it and we use our products a lot.

In reply to an earlier post on May 5, 2011 2:22:57 PM PDT
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Posted on May 5, 2011 2:46:37 PM PDT
Biscuit says:
My mother has used Corning products religiously since the late 50's, so I grew up with these products. When I first moved into my own place in the late 80's I went to a Corning outlet and was going to buy a Grab-it. I picked one up off of the shelf that looked perfect. It was not part of a stack. I was carrying it around the store and did not hit it on anything when it suddenly exploded in my hand. One of the ladies at the store came and cleaned up the pieces and gave me a Kleenex to dry the blood. They weren't big or deep cuts, but I have never been so shocked in all of my life! I use Corning products with care as a result; however, my mother has literally bounced her 50 year old casseroles on the floor and even then, has only broken a few. So, I don't know what the trick is, but I can attest to the fact that they can break for absolutely no reason!

In reply to an earlier post on May 5, 2011 4:41:30 PM PDT
tonyS says:
Did it break or explode? Maybe there were cracks and/or imperfections in it, and that's how it found it's way into the outlet, and, well, it was just bound to break? I cannot understand how it could explode, but I've also had a ceramic dish in my hand that suddenly disintegrated in my hand, but it wasn't a Corning product.

Posted on May 5, 2011 5:05:44 PM PDT
SavvyShopper says:
I'm a glass artist- I can tell you this- if a piece of glass has not been cooled slowly enough through soak period (called annealing) , it creates stress within the piece. This stress may take a year to finally cause a break, or it could happen next week. It sounds to me like Corning has problems with their annealing process. If a piece isn't annealed properly, it is quite literally a ticking time bomb.

In reply to an earlier post on May 5, 2011 5:35:48 PM PDT
tonyS says:
To suddenly explode with extreme heat or cold, or just to have cracks and then break?

Posted on May 5, 2011 7:59:37 PM PDT
I. Lee says:
Wow, it's new to me, I always think my Corning visions pot is one of the safest cookware in the world. Rarely do I put it in oven, may be just a couple times for baking the no knead bread, the result was not that great so I never used it again. Also, I called the company to check if it's safe to put into the oven before I put the dough in. I love to make soup with it, it's amazing to watch all the ingredients dancing inside the boiling water. Such an enjoyment of cooking!

Posted on May 7, 2011 3:57:55 PM PDT
eXample says:
I just want to add my two cents along with Lorelei's; stressed glass can break without anyone even touching it. A vase will suddenly just explode from the water inside it warming or cooling from the room temperature, a vent, etc.

As far as personal experiences go, nothing has exploded on me, thankfully. My mother once left a pot of eggs on to boil in a 1.5 liter Vision pot, then promptly forgot about it and left the house. When she got back, the eggs had exploded into two different rooms and the ceiling, but the pot was just fine. We still used it for years after that too. That was back in the 90s though, with a set of pots from the 70s. Who knows what cost cutting measures have been taken since then that could affect the quality.

Posted on May 7, 2011 5:46:06 PM PDT
Louise Ross says:
I have an old set of Visions cookware. I use them regularly. I live with my son and one day he lifted the lid of one of the pots off the stove with a pot holder and placed it in the sink. The faucet dripped a couple of drops of cold water on it and boy did it explode. No one was injured but there was glass every were. One piece even gouged a piece out of the flooring. He hadn't meant to get it wet but now it is a rule never put any glass item in of too near the sink until it has cooled. This was been over 20 years ago. We still use the rest of the set.

Posted on May 7, 2011 7:39:28 PM PDT
lizzyanny says:
In 2010 Consumers Union (publishes Consumer Reports) asked the Consumer Product Safety Commission to evaluate pyrex cookware.They had tested the product and had 10 out of 10 pyrex baking dishes break when filled with sand, heated to 450 degrees and then placed on a damp countertop. And yes I have had a pyrex bowl explode. They dont just break, the glass shatters into a gazillion pieces and flys 10 to 20 feet. If you never have a damp countertop, or any of the other things that can shatter pyrex, you will probably be fine. My kitchen can get pretty chaotic. I really dont have time to always be on the lookout to so many "dangers". I replaced my pyrex with borosilicate.

In reply to an earlier post on May 8, 2011 2:36:12 PM PDT
I managed to crack a small Visions bowl completely in half once lighting a pine cone candle in it. I first laid down a layer of salt or sand, then put the wax-dipped very large pine cone in it. But this was clearly a non-cooking usage and it was probably 20 years ago. [At least I think it was Visions; I remember when that line came out. It was colored, either dark pink or amber; I had stuff from both lines.]

Posted on May 8, 2011 6:51:38 PM PDT
I was at my parents for dinner a few years ago and my mom was roasting a turkey breast in a pyrex lasagna pan in the oven. She opened the oven to get the turkey out and suddenly there was a popping sound followed by glass and hot turkey juice flying through the kitchen. It was awful. There was glass everywhere and then the oven started smoking because of the juices that dripped to the bottom of the oven. The pyrex continued to pop and crack for several minutes afterward. Needless to say of course dinner was ruined as the turkey was covered in glass. The only thing we could think was that when she opened the oven cold air rushed in and created thermal shock. We dont use pyrex anymore. It was a pretty scary experience.

Posted on May 9, 2011 6:24:13 AM PDT
T. Hale says:
I assumed pyroceram was excluded from the explosion. Well, I didn't have one explode, but I did drop it on my tile counter, and an explosion of tiny shards hit all the walls of the kitchen. Our government should build them into shrapnel bombs - perfect. Tiny. razor-sharp. Explode with force. I still use it in the microwave but handle with extreme care - and definitely don't drop it.

Posted on May 9, 2011 1:43:46 PM PDT
I was home, it was clearly my fault I had the pan forever with no problems I removed the pan from the oven, about to serve dinner and placed it on the cold metal edge of the sink I might have been running cold water at the time, but the pan got heavy and hot while looking for a place to rest it in the busy kitchen, lots of guest. BOOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It and every thing that was in it exploded into tiny tiny pieces, but interestingly enough it kind of kept its shape, a pain in the you know what to clean up, and we where screwed for dinner. I have tried to replace the pan, but everything feels like it is cheaply made, mine was very heavy, new product are light weigh and poorly constructed.

In reply to an earlier post on May 9, 2011 5:00:07 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 9, 2011 5:02:19 PM PDT
I had a Pyrex brand measuring cup explode in my dishwasher. It shattered in to tiny pieces and I had to vacuum my dishwasher. I heard it shatter and I am happy I did not see it ... I was pregnant at the time. I was just happy no one was cut or injured. And it could have been a disaster if glass had gotten in my eyes or belly.

I purchased mine while pregnant in 1999. The Corning ware and Pyrex I inherited from my grandmother, mom and great aunt is still going strong. I threw out all Pyrex made post 1998 when World Kitchen changed the formula by removing borosilicate and changed the process to cut costs. No other explosions since I got rid of the products made after 1998.

Posted on May 9, 2011 5:07:31 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 9, 2011 5:12:26 PM PDT
ringo says:
http://www.cpsc.gov/library/foia/foia97/idi/in3a.pdf
http://www.consumeraffairs.com/homeowners/pyrex.html

I myself have had a Corningware bowl explode in the *dishwasher* (we have the kind that heats its own water, and I guess the bowl couldn't handle it).

I'll bake in Pyrex and use the stovetop as a landing area (not the countertop near the sink - too much risk of water drops). I would never use Visions.

In reply to an earlier post on May 9, 2011 5:10:10 PM PDT
T. Hale says:
This is consistent with what Consumer Reports said about both Pyrex and Anchor Hocking. Their old stuff was made of a safe glass, and their expensive European stuff still is - but both companies have cheapenedn their glass and it isn't safe, anymore. I was shocked when my pyroceram dish shattered from being dropped a short distance. I figured Pyroceram would be exempt from the problem. Answer - look for the European models, but I have no idea where to find them, and their price is very high.

Posted on May 10, 2011 9:04:18 AM PDT
I had a 9x13 Pyrex baking pan explode in the oven. The oven was set at 350 degrees (baking a cake) , and the pan suddenly "blew up", creating a spectacular mess, since the cake batter was still very liquid after only 5 or so minutes in the oven.

No more glass baking/cooking dishes for me - stainless steel.

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2011 1:07:06 PM PDT
tonyS says:
Sounds like it's Pyrex, and not necessarily all glass cooking dishes? I'd hate to think that I ALSO need to throw out my glass dishes.

Posted on May 10, 2011 2:50:46 PM PDT
Lj Anderson says:
Yes, but it was 15 years ago. I had a 3 quart Visions (amber) pot that was a little over a year old, heating water for a good ol' box of Mac & Cheese. I added the mac and put on the lid and the water suddenly boiled up and before I could take the lid off, the pot exploded in about a dozen pieces. Luckily for me, I had on an apron and I had a mitt on and was quick to turn my hurt, so I wasn't really hurt. But that day I threw the rest of the set out in the trash. I know that putting the lid on caused the rapid boil but some would think a pot would be able to handle boiling water.
Now, was it defective? I don't know and don't care. It frightened me enough I didn't want to mess with it. Do I still use Corningware and Pryex? Yes. Just not on the stove and I am very careful around the microwave or oven. Is it a bad product? No and I don't want anyone reading this to presume that. Even a very low defect rate of a tenth of a percent means that with tens of thousands made, there could be a bad once in the bunch.
So to recap and answer the original question, Yes, I have personally seen a Visions pot explode. End of story.

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2011 2:55:34 PM PDT
It could have been a problem with just that particular dish. I'm just not comfortable with the idea of having wickedly sharp glass shards flying around the kitchen.

Posted on May 10, 2011 8:00:02 PM PDT
Mimi Blake says:
About 10 years ago, I baked a cassarole in a Pyrex baking dish. When it was done, I put it on the counter to cool and went into the living room. A few minutes later, I heard a loud bang. The cassarole had exploded into tiny splinters, incuding a few that melted into the carpet (permenately). I don't know what happened. I thought I was cooling it correctly. If I had been near it, it would have been devastating. I am handicapped and would not have been able to move out of the way quickly.
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Initial post:  May 5, 2011
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