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Does anybody use a vintage Pyrex percolator on their stove? Electric? Gas? Is it 100% safe? I just saw it in an old movie, which is what gave me the idea to look for one.

  • I don't know for sure, but my grandma always used hers on the stove. She had electric and then gas. – Mr. Mascaro Feb 2 '15 at 14:28
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Pyrex percolators made after 1940 were not intended to be used directly on a heating element as stoves made after 1940 had a higher burner heat level that those made in previous years. (Presumably, those made before 1940 were placed directly on a burner.)

The Pyrex percolators I remember had a wire 'grid' or 'heat spreader' that was to be placed on the burner and then the percolator sat directly on that. If memory serves me correctly, they came in a variety of shapes. See below for an example.

enter image description here

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    The story I had heard was that Pyrex used a different glass formulation before 1940 that was more resistant to thermal shock; around 1940 they changed their formulation to be more resistant to physical shock (at the expense of thermal resistance), which also made it less expensive to produce. Therefore, I'd recommend finding a percolator made before 1940. – ESultanik Feb 2 '15 at 15:50
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I have a couple of them, and have used them on both gas and electric stoves with no trouble. Using a heat spreader isn't a bad idea, but I have found no issues using them without. I do not even know how old mine are -- pre-1940s or not -- but either way, they work really well.

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I think I have the definitive answer to this question. I found the Pyrex percolator at the Corning Glass Museum. It came with a metal heat diffuser. If you scroll through all the pictures (links to the other images are to the lower right of the main image), you’ll even see the paper sleeve the diffuser came in.

If you search the museum collection for glass percolator, a number of them come up and most have a metal heat diffuser in the full set.

We’ve been using our vintage coffee pot on an electric stove without a diffuser for a week. It hasn’t damaged it but we’re now using the diffuser that came with our Chemex coffee maker.

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Mine blew apart over medium-high heat. Glad top burner.

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