Available from late 1962 to 1977, Centura Tableware offered outstanding break resistance combined with the appearance of quality porcelain. It carried a three year warranty against chips, cracks, breaks and crazing, a promise that no other dinnerware brand could make.
Centura's innovative glazed glass-ceramic formula is quite different from Corning Ware's composition. Corning Ware cookware has extraordinary resistance to heat shock, but it is not immune to breakage from impacts. Centura's heat-resistance is comparable to that of Pyrex; it may be used in the oven, but not on the stovetop.
Three patterns with a coupe plate style were present at Centura's launch: Blue Cornflower, Classic, and White Coupe. Complete boxed sets were available in addition to open stock, where pieces could be purchased singly or in packs of four, so consumers were free to assemble a set to suit their own preferences.
Centura Tableware cups, tall and short styles. Images from 1972 catalogue.
Initially, two choices in cup style were offered with each pattern, one short & wide, the other tall & narrow. A cream & sugar set with a rounded bulbous shape soon arrived, and by 1964, plain white dessert bowls and soup plates were offered in open stock. Serving bowls also became available.
When it debuted, the Centura product line was a natural extension to Corning Ware, and specially designed Corning Ware cookware was offered as an accompaniment. These distinctively shaped plain white pieces were made for only a few years, but by the early 1970s colourful Buffet Server shaped round cookware would appear in the Cook 'N' Serve series. Some Centura patterns from the early 1970s branched out with square Corning Ware too.
(Photo: White Centura creamer with the original bulbous shape from the 1960s. This creamer and its matching sugar bowl are not made of Centura or Corning Ware. They seem to be ordinary ceramic products, but they carry the Centura brand name.)
Centura cannot be used in the microwave, and although that was not important when it was developed, by the mid 1970s this limitation would make Centura seem impractical. When Corelle combined the benefits of good break-resistance, lighter weight and lower cost, plus microwave capabilities, its popularity eclipsed that of Centura as well as every other brand of everyday dinnerware.
Centura Tableware's discontinuance was announced July 1977, following the launch of Corelle's Expressions Livingware line that spring. Centura's influence is evident in the vibrant multi-coloured designs of Expressions, which were also paired with matching Corning Ware. Centura's glass-ceramic formula was used for cups, creamers & sugar bowls in the Expressions line until 1986. Restaurant ware made of Centura also remained in production up to the mid 1980s.