This is one of our “Buy It For Life” posts where we feature products that are built to last a lifetime.
Duralex has been manufacturing tempered glassware in France since 1929. Their Picardie Tumblers are known for lasting decades — they will bounce several times when dropped on the floor and survive without a crack. The tumblers can also withstand a sudden thermal shock — the temperate glass can go from -4° F to 212° F without breaking. This means they can be used to drink hot beverages. Duralex glasses are also lighter and more elegant than similar tempered glass products.
Duralex went into court-ordered liquidation bankruptcy in 2006 but has since partnered with Emile Henry, an old French manufacturer of cooking ware, to return to production.
Duralex doesn’t offer any warranty for their products, beyond a 21 day return policy. However, we were unable to find any tempered glass tumblers that come with an extended warranty.
Schott Zwiesel is a German company known for glassware innovation since 1872. They create break-resistant, chip-resistant and scratch-resistant stemware. The crystal glass has added titanium for strength and added zirconium for crystal clarity, making it dishwasher safe.
I have their glassware at home — the pieces are versatile and can be used every day, yet they are elegant enough to use on special occasions. To me, they are slightly expensive, but the investment is worth it.
Fortessa is a dinnerware company line, created by the Germany company Schott Zwiesel. Fortessa specializes in vitified china dinnerware. The china is reinforced with alumina oxide or magnesium oxide for durability and thermal shock resistance. The dinnerware is called Fortaluxe SuperWhite, and it is used in many restaurants around the world, and it is reasonably priced.
Pyrex is another brand of tempered glass products that are renowned for their durability. The Pyrex brand was introduced by Corning Incorporated in 1915. Today, Pyrex is owned by World Kitchen, and Pyrex glass products are manufactured in Charleroi, Pennsylvania. Recently, there has been lot of rumors circulating about Pyrex products. The rumors suggest that Pyrex products made with inferior materials and are prone to breakage, and are manufactured in China. However, this long article on the myth-busting website Snopes.Com, concludes that the rumors are false. Here is an excerpt from the article:
While it is literally true that the material used in manufacturing Pyrex brand glass bakeware has changed from borosilicate glass to soda lime glass, the brand’s current owner, World Kitchen, claims that changeover began back in the 1940s and long antedates Corning’s 1998 sale of the brand, stating that “The Charleroi [Pennsylvania] plant has produced PYREX glass products out of a heat-strengthened (tempered) soda lime glass for about 60 years, first by our predecessor Corning Incorporated, and since 1998 by World Kitchen. In fact, since the 1980’s, most, if not all consumer glass bakeware manufactured in the U.S. for consumers has been made of soda lime glass. Consumers should know that soda lime glass, such as that used to make PYREX glass bakeware, is significantly more resistant to breaking on impact than borosilicate glass and comparably resistant to breakage caused by severe temperature changes.”
World Kitchen itself states that it has received complaints from only “a very small number of consumers” about unexpected breakage, and notes that the Consumer Safety Product Commission has found no safety issue with Pyrex glass bakeware.
Le Creuset have been producing handcrafted French Ovens in their foundry in Northern France since 1925. Their cookware is made with enameled cast iron and is known for lasting decades. The Le Creuset foundry uses standard sand casting methods to produce their cookware. After hand finishing, items are sprayed with two coats of enamel, each fired at 800 °C. The enamel becomes resistant to damage during normal use.
Le Creuset cookware has a lifetime warranty that the products are free from defects in material and workmanship.
If you are looking for an equivalent American-made product, see Lodge Dutch Ovens. We choose to feature the Le Creuset French ovens because, based on our research, they have a edge in terms of quality.