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Steuben Glass: Stories Engraved in Crystal

Steuben Glass: Stories Engraved in Crystal

Ongonig from Wednesday, April 5, 2023

This exhibition features clear crystal Steuben Glass.Frederick Carter founded Steuben in 1903. Under Carter, the company produced glassware in a variety of colors. During the Great Depression, Steuben suffered from lack of sales for its glassware.

A restructuring of Steuben Glass saved the company. Steuben made a dramatic shift in its production and aesthetics in the 1930s. It pivoted to make works only of clear crystal. The new president, Arthur A. Houghton Jr., brought architects and artists into the firm. They brought an emphasis on beautifully designed forms. Their work was sophisticated and modern, yet simple. They also brought a new emphasis on pictorial imagery. The transparent glass worked as a surface for engraving. Artisans used copper wheels to cut images into the glass surface. Steuben artists often created images that told American stories.This exhibit presents selections of Steuben’s Americana. The United States in Crystal by Steuben provides other examples.

Steuben Glass also took new directions in marketing. The company promoted the idea of luxury and status. It arranged exclusive exhibitions. Houghton encouraged the use of Steuben Glass for official gifts. U.S. Presidents have given Steuben items to royalty and heads of state. The American subjects and the quality product make ideal symbols for the nation.