Steuben: An American Classic
Since 1903, Steuben Glass has been made by hand at its Corning, New York factory. For more than fifty years, Steuben has been the choice of every White House incumbent to present as an official gift of state. In 1993, the Steuben Mobius Prism was presented by the President of the United States as a royal wedding gift to Japan's Crown Prince and Princess Hirohito.
Today, Steuben's state-of-the-art melting process ensures glass that is exceptionally pure and free of even the tiniest visual imperfections. Its skilled artisans work in teams around reheating ovens called glory holes, directed by a master "gaffer." Each gather of molten glass is carried from tank to glory hole, where it is formed "at the fire" with blowpipes, pontil rods, shears, calipers, and other tools little changed over centuries. Finished pieces are slowly cooled in annealing ovens, then cut, polished, and engraved by hand. Each example is minutely inspected before it is signed with a diamond-tipped pen. Imperfect items are destroyed as there are no seconds at Steuben.
Steuben's magnificent 6,100-square-foot flagship store at 667 Madison Avenue was launched to welcome the new millennium in 2000. The store occupies a three-level space in a neighborhood of luxury shops an area recently designated as Manhattan's Crystal District.