When collectors think of Steuben glass, two distinct styles come to mind. The first was pioneered by Steuben co-founder Frederick Carder in 1903. As Steuben’s chief designer, Carder created a new form of iridescent glass called Aurene. Unlike Tiffany’s dense and dark Favrile line of iridescent glass, which was introduced in 1894, Carder’s Aurene pieces were luminous and lustrous, seeming to radiate more light than they absorbed.

So distinctive was Aurene from Favrile that Steuben was granted a patent on the technique in 1904, the year after the company’s founding. That did not stop Tiffany from filing a lawsuit against Steuben, although the case was tabled when Carder pointed out that the Bohemians had been using iridescent techniques since the middle of the 19th century.

It’s likely Tiffany would not have prevailed anyway: Not only were Carder’s Aurene surfaces different from Tiffany’s, the shapes of his objects were unlike Tiffany’s, too. Favrile forms and surface decorations tended to the organic and naturalistic—they were pure Art Nouveau. Steuben’s Aurene vases, bowls, and candlesticks flirted with Art Nouveau, but Carder never strayed far from classical forms and used decoration sparingly.

So successful was Carder’s Aurene that Steuben’s earliest years were largely devoted to its production. Gold was a favorite color, sometimes paired with white or shades of green or red. Blue Aurene was a Steuben glass mainstay—some blue Aurene Steuben vases had concave bodies and ruffled rims; others were squat and almost utilitarian looking. By the 1910s, Egyptian shapes (tall vases with collared necks and high shoulders) were added to the company’s repertoire.

In 1918, with World War I still raging, lead, an important component of crystal, was rationed for the war effort. Steuben quickly needed a partner to weather the resulting economic downturn, so it sold to nearby Corning Glassworks, which made it a division of the larger company.

Carder remained in charge of Steuben during the 1920s, and though his style evolved, he did not shake his classical predispositions. Many Steuben vases from this period were acid etched and suggested the influence of Art Deco. One alabaster, urn-like vase featured an acid-etched scene of leaping deer in a stylized hunting landscape on a red background. Other pieces resembled ginger jars from Asia, with green-on-green patterns of curly-cues and cartoon dragons. Even Steuben’s Cluthra vases, with their distinctive air bubbles trapped just below the surface, were acid-etched with decorative, floral designs.

It was beautiful stuff, but the public mostly yawned, which is why in 1933, three decades after he had helped found Steuben, Carder was replaced by sculptor Sidney Waugh...

During his time as Steuben’s chief designer, Carder had been extraordinarily prolific, producing more than 5,000 shapes and some 60 unique colors and designs. As a result, a lot of glass had piled up in the Steuben warehouse. As if to dramatize the changing of the guard, great volumes of Steuben glass from the Carder years were sold as factory leftovers, after which most of the rest was destroyed in what Corning locals called "The Smashing." It was literally out with the old and in with the new.

Waugh would help give Steuben its second great look—clear crystal. The change was partly due to Waugh’s different aesthetic sensibility from Carder’s, but a major factor in the shift at Steuben was a technological breakthrough on the part of Corning Glass chemists. Known as 10M, this new glass recipe permitted the full spectrum of light to pass through it, including ultra-violet waves, creating unprecedentedly clear crystal. Almost all Steuben crystal products produced in the years following this innovation were made out of 10M—from stemware to bowls to drinking glasses to urns.

The designs that came to mark this era of transition were heavily influenced by Art Deco. Large cut or blown bowls and vases were routinely engraved using copper-wheel techniques. Right away, Waugh made his mark, just as Carder had done years before. His watershed was a 1935 piece called the Gazelle Bowl. It featured a large circular crystal bowl set in four rectangular bottom pieces, with engravings of twelve gazelles prancing around the bowl’s circumference. That year, Waugh’s Gazelle Bowl, Zodiac Bowl, and a vase called Agnus Dei were added to the collection of the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

Until this point, Steuben had been a fairly insular world, but in 1940 the company collaborated with 27 internationally renowned artists, including Georgia O’Keefe, Henri Matisse, Isamu Noguchi, Salvador Dali, Paul Manship, and Thomas Hart Benton. The two-month exhibition of engraved glass objects created by these artists was so popular that Steuben had to lock the doors of its Fifth Avenue store several times a day to control the crowds.

Sales sank during World War II, but Steuben participated in the post-war expansion that followed. Steuben designer Walter Teague turned to the drawings of John J. Audubon to create a series of 10-inch plates, each of which featured an engraving of a different bird on its base. In 1947, President and Mrs. Truman presented a set of the Steuben Audubon plates to Princess Elizabeth as a wedding present.

Tasteful design, even tasteful packaging, became a hallmark during the 1950s, and crystal hand coolers in the rounded shapes of animals became a Steuben trademark. Also during the 1950s, Steuben designers began to individualize their art glass pieces, playing with shape, proportion, and even asymmetry. This experimental aesthetic continued into the 1960s, reflecting the abstract geometrical trend that was popular at the time. Steuben even produced a series of pieces inspired by such poets as W.H. Auden, Marianne Moore, and William Carlos Williams.

In November of 2011, the Steuben Glass factory in Corning, New York, which had been operated by Schottenstein Corporations of Ohio since 2008, closed its doors. The rights to the Steuben name were sold back to Corning Incorporated, but it's unclear if signature pieces such as the Gazelle Bowl will ever be produced again.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Pattern Glass School

Pattern Glass School

If you need schooling on Victorian-era pressed glass tableware aka EAPG (Early American Pattern Glass) aka Pattern … [read review or visit site]



This fabulous site is a guide to Bohemian art glass makers from 1885 to 1920. Loetz was the premier Bohemian glass … [read review or visit site]

Cloud Glass Reference Site

Cloud Glass Reference Site

Chris and Val Stewart’s impressive attempt to create a complete catalogue of all known cloud glass, a decorative … [read review or visit site]

Antique Glass Salt and Sugar Shaker Club

Antique Glass Salt and Sugar Shaker Club

The heart of this website, home of the Antique Glass Salt and Sugar Shaker Club, is the Identification Project, whe… [read review or visit site]

Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Rare Signed Steuben Studio Crystal Dinosaur Prehistoric Figural Sculpture Jjh NrRare Signed Steuben Studio Art Glass Elephant Crystal Figural Sculpture # 1 JjhRare Signed Steuben Studio Art Glass Elephant Crystal Figural Sculpture # 3 JjhSteuben Signed Hankerchief Crystal Vase Original Box & Bag 6"Pair Of Signed Steuben Baluster Form Teardrop Art Glass CandlesticksRare Signed Steuben Studio Art Glass Elephant Crystal Figural Sculpture # 2 JjhVintage Steuben Art Glass Cigarette Jar Holder SignedSteuben Crystal & Sterling Silver Arctic Fisherman Sculpture Eskimo Ice FishingSteuben 18k Mouse On Swiss Cheese Designed By James HoustonSigned Steuben Studio Art Glass Sea Otter Wildlife Crystal Figural Sculpture JjhSigned Steuben Seeping Cat Hand Cooler # 5520Steuben Art Glass Signed Crystal Large Rose Vase 11 3/4 Signed Steuben Studio Art Glass Swan Duck Bird Crystal Figural Sculpture Jjh NrC.1920's Steuben Green Threaded Optic Crystal Pair Of Candlesticks. SignedVintage Bohemian Loetz Moser Steuben Favrile Iridescent Vase Iris Detailed (pow)Steuben Hand Crafted Teardrop Set Of 6 Crystal Tumbler GlassesSteuben Clear Art Glass Hexagon Six Sided W/ Bubble Paperweight On StandRare Steuben Art Glass Horizontal Mink W/ Diamond Eyes Paperweight Steuben Art Glass Pulled Feather ?light ShadeSigned Steuben Studio Art Glass Eagle Bird Clear Crystal Figural Sculpture JjhVintage Steuben Glass Sleeping Cat Figural Paperweight In Box6" Large And Chunky Signed Steuben Glass Koala Bear Original Steuben BoxAurene Blue Bowl Gold Base Iridescent Footed Bowl Or Compote Unsigned Steuben? Steuben Crystal Vase With Two Scrolls At Base 7" Tall Signed Steuben Elephant With The Trunk Up In Original Steuben Box4-1/2" Rare Signed Steuben Fox With Original Steuben Box And Store ReceiptSteuben Tall Bowl Vase With Scrolls At BaseSteuben Clear Glass Frog Hand Cooler Figurine Paperweight MarkedSteuben Clear Glass Dolphin Hand Cooler Figurine Paperweight MarkedSteuben Clear Glass Owl Hand Cooler Figurine Paperweight MarkedSteuben Clear Glass Mouse Figurine Handcooler Mib MarkedSteuben Art Glass Whale Paperweight FigurineQuezal Art Glass Lamp Shade, Tiffany, Steuben, Durand PeriodRibbed Signed Quezal Art Glass Lamp Shade, Tiffany, Steuben, Durand Period.Tall Pair Antique Steuben Art Deco Glass Candlestick Candle Holders 16"Signed Steuben Glass Figural Snail #7974Vintage Steuben Glass Horse Head Figurine/paperweight-chess KnightSteuben Signed Solid Crystal Glass RabbitRare Steuben Purpe Art Glass Ginger Jar With Original Lid 5.5" Tall PerfectAntique French Portieux Vallerysthal Pv Steuben Yellow Opaline Decanter BottleSteuben F. Carder Green Jade Glass Vase, Alabaster Lions, Jardiniere PlanterSigned Steuben Studio Art Glass Fox Clear Crystal Wildlife Figural Sculpture JjhSpectacular Rare & Large Modernist Steuben Crystal Glass BowlSteuben Groundhog HandcoolerSteuben Spanish Green Wine Glass With Controlled Bubbles And ThreadingA+ Beautiful Modernist Steuben Clear Art Glass Bowl With Swirl BaseSteuben Crystal Mid Century Bud VaseMinty Set 2 Two Steuben Double Teardrop 7737 Antique Signed GobletsAntique Steuben Carder Rosaline Alabster York Pattern 6" Engraved Glass Plate Cobalt Blue Stueben Blown Glass Compote SignedSteuben Clear Glass Goose Figurine Handcooler Mib MarkedGold Aurene Textured Art Glass Heart Paper Weight In Red Velvet Box BeautifulVintage Strini Aurene Vase Signed 10" Tall Mint Condition!Steuben Crystal Bowl With 4 Scrolls At The BaseSteuben * Vintage Clear Crystal Glass Individual | Personal Ashtray * Signed3 Beautiful Vintage Art Deco Perfume Bottles With StoppersLarge Steuben Art Glass Crystal Low Snail Scroll Footed Bowl Signed Modern 1940Signed Steuben Turtle Hand Cooler #5514 Steuben Rhino HandcoolerVintage Signed Steuben 3 Footed Glass Bowl Mid 20th Century 7 3/4" Dia.

Recent News: Steuben Glass

Source: Google News

Arts in Bloom event to showcase work of Steuben artists
Press & Sun-Bulletin, April 23rd

There will also be drawings taking place for pieces of art, including two pieces of hand-blown glass donated by The Corning Museum of Glass, as well as work from more than 15 trail artists. Event organizers will use the sign-ins from each stop as entries...Read more

Corning Watch: Corning Inc. provides a vision for itself and its community
Elmira Star-Gazette, April 16th

Scheduled to open later this year, the North Wing Addition will replace the site of the former Steuben Glass factory. It will provide a new 26,000-square-foot contemporary art gallery and one of the world's largest indoor areas for glassblowing...Read more

Neighbors: Stebbins family donates Thomas Buechner painting to Corning library
Elmira Star-Gazette, April 14th

and Pauline Emery, library director. / SOUTHEAST STEUBEN COUNTY LIBRARY PHOTO ... Thomas Buechner, who died in 2010, was the first director of the Corning Museum of Glass and an internationally recognized artist. He painted the portrait in 1991...Read more

'A major milestone': CMoG opens reinstalled Heineman Gallery
Corning Leader, April 11th

Closed since early January, the large upper-floor gallery used to showcase most of CMoG's large-scale contemporary glass art pieces. They were put into storage, and they'll be moved this fall to their new home, the 26,000-square-foot new contemporary ...Read more

Theatre Collective brings incentives to cooperative effort
Bryan-College Station Eagle, April 10th

Through April 6 -- Aurene: Steuben's Iridescent Art Glass and Come to the Table: American Pressed Glass, Forsyth Galleries in the Memorial Student Center at Texas A&M, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and noon to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and ...Read more

Exhibit to shine light on the beautiful intricacy of glasswork
Bryan-College Station Eagle, April 10th

Glass is for more than windows and windshields. Glass can be a beautiful expression of an artist's vision and creativity. If you love glass, you will enjoy the Forsyth Galleries' magnificent exhibit, Aurene: Steuben's Iridescent Art Glass, which is on...Read more

Peter Chianca: Spinning into middle age on vinyl records
Steuben Courier, April 8th

“Hello I Must Be Going” by Phil Collins “Glass Houses” by Billy Joel “Picture This” by Huey Lewis and the News. If you're detecting a predilection for melodic, not-especially-challenging pop rock, welcome to my early teens. Within a few years I was...Read more

Home Help: Spring into simple DIY home decorating trends
Steuben Courier, April 6th

Metal, wood, glass, ceramic - all of these key materials play essential roles in making your home the center of attention. Mixing two, or ... Recycled wooden pallets and cable spools are trending now as DIYers turn them into coffee tables, desks and...Read more