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    

Antique American Brilliant Period Intaglio Cut Glass Vase Steven & Williams ?Large Vintage Steuben Art Glass Pitcher Or Decanter W/ Cherries *beautiful*Big Carder Steuben Jade Large Swirl VaseSteuben Aurene Blue Glass Iridescent Perfume Bottle Numbered Arts & Crafts Steuben Glass & Sterling Silver Ice Hunter Sculpture By James Houston W/caseAntique Loetz Tiffany Era Art Nouveau Silver Overlay Vase Original SuperbMagnificent Steuben Gold Aurene Vase Shape 7265Steuben Carder Era Calcite And Gold Aurene Vase, Shape 5070, Pristine!Carder Steuben Celeste Blue & Amber Footed BowlAntique Steuben Carder Era Marked 2780 Gold Aurene Saucer / Bowl C1903-1932 Nr1920s Steuben Iridescent Calacite Oyster Color Lamp ShadeAntique Steuben Dichroic Green Vaseline Optic Swirl Vase Etched Hunt Scene 8"Spectacular C. 1920 Steuben 3 Piece Counsel Set Blue Aurene Steuben VaseVintage Signed Steuben #7725 Set Of (6) 5 3/4" Tall Water Goblet Glasses W/ CaseElegant Steuben Glass Wide Flaring Flared Vase W/ Applied PruntsSteuben Tortoise Beaker Glasses Lot Of 31920s Steuben Water Goblet #6574? Clear W/applied Celeste Blue~~signedElegant! Art Glass Steuben Paperweight Apple Signed!Steuben Art Glass Hershey's Company Centennial 100th Anniversary 1894-1994 CocoaIncredible C. 1920 Steuben Aurene Wine Goblet With Twisted StemSteuben Crystal Shore Bird #8303 - SignedSteuben Grapes And Vine Grapevine Yellow Or Topaz Vase Footed 12" Tall Signed Steuben Crystal Scallop Shell Paperweight Etched Signed No Reserve!!! Art GlassAntique Art Glass Threaded Bottle Loetz Steuben Austria German Bohemian AlpaccaVintage Very Large Steuben Art Glass Pelican Signed No ReserveSteuben Glass Olive Dish (john Dreves' Snail Handle Crystal Bowl)Steuben Glass Bear Cub Paperweight-hand Cooler Etch Signed No ReserveVintage Steuben Crystal Glass Pedestal Bowl Platter Centerpiece Signed Mid-century Modern Steuben Glass Candy / Nut Bowl Exc Cond Dust Bag, SignedSteuben Coronet Large Bowl And Candle Stick Great Condition With Original BagsNice Steuben Bowl Dish Signed Art Glass Candy CrystalSteuben Art Glass Crystal Double Sided Crimped Handles Ashtray Rare!!Steuban Art Glass Teardrop Bud Vase. Signed SteubanCarder Steuben Blue Aurene Footed Bowl With Rockwell StampSteuben France Crystal Teardrop Dessert Champagne Stem Set Bowl W/ Liner (6)One Steuben Glass Crystal Martini With Suspended Teardrop Bubble CordialSteuben Model 8037 Art Glass 13" Centerpiece Bowl By George Thompson Swirl BaseVintage Steuben Glass Felt Dust Cover/bag Steuben Glass Bunny RabbitVintage 6" Steuben Glass Pinch Handled Crystal Vase George Thompson ExlntAntique Steuben Or Steven Williams Art Glass Blue Opalescent Dessert Berry BowlSigned Baccarat France Crystal Owl Sculptural Glass Bird Figurine Paperweight NrRare Steuben Stick Vase Signed 'steuben 2556'Steuben Mid-century Crystal Art Glass Lotus Vase Designed By George Thompson Carder Steuben Ruby Selenium Red TumblerSteuben Art Glass Crystal Double Heart "true Love" Paperweight #8737Steuben Glass Owl Hand Warmer SignedSteuben Whiskey Decanter Designed By George ThompsonMagnificent Vintage Steuben Glass Bowl #7793 SignedSteuben Joel Smith Engraved Baseball Scene The Pitch W/ Base & Leather Box Nib3 Old, Vintage Iridized, Opalescent Lamp Shades, Quezal, SteubenSteuben Decanter Designed By Samuel AyersGorgeou Steuben North American Art Glass Blue Aurene Iridescent Stretch Bowl Newv Steuben Signed Clear Glass Crystal Monkey Figurine In Original Box W/ TagsLarge 6" Hand Blown Amberina Pitcher Panneled On Inside!!!Vintage Steuben Glass George Thompson Two Scrolled Handle Bowl Signed For Repair

Recent News: Steuben Glass

Source: Google News

The Next 7: your guide to this week's entertainment
Elmira Star-Gazette, July 19th

With all the exciting events going on this summer, the possibilities are practically endless. Here's a look at what's coming up this week, from July 21 to July 27. In the “Main Attractions” section, you'll find the region's biggest festivals, concerts...Read more

Find the Unexpected at Artemis Gallerys July 23 Discovery Auction
Motor E magazine, July 17th

Online PR News – 18-July-2014 – Boulder County, CO, July 18, 2014 — It doesnt have to cost an Etruscan kings ransom or an Egyptian pharoahs arm and a leg to collect ancient art and antiquities. Theres an entry level ... Standing 3 inch high, it quite...Read more

10 Ways to Repurpose Glass Jars
Steuben Courier, July 17th

Who knew your grocery list could be such a great resource for home décor! Start saving all of your glass jars and jugs, and upcycle them into on of these useful and beautiful items for your home and garden. 1. Apothecary Jars Instantly turn your old...Read more

Small sales whet appetites at local auction houses
Tribune-Review, July 13th

The second day bills itself as a “Fun Antiques, Jewelry and Collectibles” sale with art glass from makers such as Steuben, pottery, Hummels and Royal Doultons, clocks, beer advertising and other goods. Both sales are at 113 Fire Hall Road, Leechburg...Read more

'Biennial' works are personally inspired
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, July 12th

The other featured artists are Richard Hirsch of Churchville, who will exhibit ceramic sculptures and encaustic paintings; Jeff Kell of Rush, a ceramic sculptor; Kumi Korf of Ithaca, who creates prints and artist's books; painter Lynette K. Stephenson...Read more

Summer Estate Auction
Maine Antique Digest, July 10th

FINE ART & BRONZES: Paintings - 3 by Enneking, 2 by Thomas Willis, 5 by Louis Richardson, Geo. Ennis, Geo. Hays, Geo. Whitaker, E. E. Case, Pearson, Jacobi, D. Ruffin, Joe Beeler, Wm. Baldwin, Paul ... CERAMICS, GLASS, METALWARE: Steuben with 18k...Read more

Glass Museum's new galleries take shape
Steuben Courier, June 29th

Two years after groundbreaking, the gently curving walls and towering skylights of the new contemporary glass art galleries are taking shape, marking a new phase in the $64 million expansion wing at the Corning Museum of Glass. The site has slowly...Read more

Book Notes: Julia Glass weaves intricate family tale
Steuben Courier, June 25th

Kit, who teaches art history with a specialty in Inuit art, has been unemployed for a while. He takes care of the kids and the house while Sandy works as a design landscaper. Kit is quietly running out of hope and Sandy is noisily running out of patience...Read more