Circulon and Teflon are both patented trademarks for technologies used to apply nonstick coatings to cookware and bakeware, for the purpose of easy cleaning. A wide range of cooking and baking equipment is available with each type of coating, but whereas Circulon manufactures its own cookware, Teflon is used by a number of manufacturers.
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Circulon's hard-anodized, nonstick cookware was launched in 1985. An electrochemical process converts aluminum into a durable nonscratch coating, which can be applied to both the inside and outside of cookware items.
Teflon is a trademark for PTFE fluoropolymer resin, which was developed by DuPont in 1938. Teflon revolutionized the manufacture of cookware in the 1960s, but it also has many other applications, since the thermally applied coating can be used on metals, glass and other materials.
In many respects, Circulon and Teflon are similar. Both coatings are nonreactive with other chemicals, have food release systems for easy cleaning, and are dishwasher friendly. However, potential safety issues have arisen in connection with Teflon. DuPont now markets its cookware as being suitable for low to medium heat, after it was discovered that high temperatures released toxic fumes. It is also inadvisable to use metal utensils with Teflon cookware, as they can damage the coating, causing flakes to get into food.