A History of the Steuben Glass Company

The Steuben Glass Works officially opened for business in Corning, New York, in October, 1903. It was initially a two-man operation, with Frederick Carder designing the pieces and Henning Overstrom creating them. The blanks were then sent to T.G Hawkes and Company for cutting and engraving. But Carder was constantly experimenting, and in 1904 he filed a patent for his now-famous Aurene. The Aurene glass was a highly iridized colored glass, and it was not long before it was competing directly with the favrile glass of L.C. Tiffany.

World War I was nearly the death knell of the Steuben Glass works. in 1918 the government stepped in and classified it as a non-essential manufacturer of luxury items, and held back all shipments of the raw materials they needed to operate. To prevent closing their doors and laying off 270 people, they sold the company to Corning Glass works. From this point forward, the majority of products produced by the Steuben division was crystal.

Carder remained in charge throughout the 1920's, but was eventually retired in 1933. During this period Steuben created some amazing and influential Art Deco glass and crystal pieces. Carder was replaced by sculptor Sidney Waugh, who was fortunate to oversee a transition to a new formula for crystal. This crystal Formula, known as '10M' was extremely transparent, even to ultraviolet rays. For a few years, the art deco styles of Frederick Carder were continued. In 1940 Corning began collaboration with 27 international artists, including such names as Salvador Dali, Georgia O'Keefe, and Henri Matisse. Sales exploded for these artworks in crystal, and the success of the company continued throughout the 1950's and 1960's.

The recession of the 1970's was a particularly difficult time for the sales of expensive glass and crystal as technology and global trade conspired to drive prices down for decorator items. In November of 2011 the end finally came. The great recession of 2008 had emancipated their sales for years, and they closed their doors. The company reverted back to Corning Incorporated, who essentially run the Corning Museum of Glass. In 2016 they began selling Steuben-branded crystal, made by international artists and concerns, with the proceeds going to operate the museum.

Hover for details...