Clearly Color: Frederick Carder's Transparent Glassware
In September, 1997, Frederick Carder's 134th birthday, the Rockwell Museum hosted an exhibition celebrating an aspect of Carder's work that had never received the attention it deserved. Transparent glassware in every color of the rainbow was displayed, revealing Carder's never-wavering belief in the power of color to enliven glassaware.
Glassware in colors Carder called Bristol Yellow, Selenium Red, Flemish Blue, Pomona Green, and Amethyst are testimony to Carder's skills as a glass chemist. Many of these colors also served as the backdrop for ornate engraved or cut patterns that tested the talents of Steuben's workmen.
Carder initially made his mark in the field of American glassmaking with his iridized wares, such as Gold Aurene, Blue Aurene, and Verre de Soie, and decorated iridized wares remain among his most sought-after products by collectors. In the 1920s tastes in household decor changed to favor the lighter, more "glassy" look of transparent colors and even entirely colorless wares. Consequently, Steuben Glass Works stepped up production of these types.
In addition to use for vases, candlesticks and other purely decorative objects, transparent colors were especially suitable for tableware. Carder designed stemware and all accompanying items for formal place settings in a dizzying array of sizes and types. The vast majority of early Steuben tableware was produced in transparent colors.
From top to bottom: Frederick Carder, Ed Oliver, Robert F. Rockwell, Jr., and Calvin U. Smith on the golf course in Corning, NY, 1940; Colorless and Rosa goblets, c. 1923, "Verdun" and Van Dyke" patterns, optic ribbed, engraved lead glass, 5.75 inches high; Amethyst table ware, c 1928-31, optic ribbed lead glass.
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