The oldest makers of luxury lead crystal by hand in America, Steuben Glass has fallen on bad days and has announced that they would be shutting down production after 108 years. Corning Inc., long time owners had sold the business to Schottenstein Stores Corp. of Columbus, Ohio in 2008. The factory located in Corning in western New York employs 60 people making everything from wine glasses to art objects. The company has scheduled the date for closure in November 29. Frederick Carder, the designer had established the factory way back in 1903.
Louis Comfort Tiffany and Rene Lalique were the main players in glass arts scene at the time but Frederick Carder’s richly hued creations turned him into a big player along with the others. The Steuben Glass store in New York City will remain open until its inventory lasts though the shop at the Corning Museum of Glass will close in November. The business had ceased to be profitable for the last decade. There were serious efforts by the management and the workers to restructure and reposition the brand to revive the flagging sales but nothing seemed to work and finally the tough decision to close the entire operations was taken.
The company has a glorious history. It had staged dazzling exhibitions of works in crystal by leading contemporary artists such as Henri Matisse, Georgia O’Keeffe and Salvador Dali. Some of its creations like a trout jumping to catch a fly and an arctic fisherman poised on the ice, preparing to spear his catch had so caught the public imagination that it is still vividly etched in the minds of the people. For the centenary celebrations about 200 rare and iconic Steuben pieces collected from private collections were displayed at the Museum of the City of New York. The business might be closing but the name Steuben Glass will survive as Corning is buying back the brand name.