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Steuben Crystal Elephant Figurine by Paul Schulze
Originally issued in 1980, this figurine is one of three from Paul Schulze "Herd of Elephant" series (where the elephants have straight, up-turned or down-turned trunks). This somewhat comically stylized elephant is the one with the straight trunk.
Dimensions: Approximately 24 cm (9 ½ in) in length.
Condition: Excellent. No chips, cracks or repairs.
Signature: "Steuben PS 1" script on the base.
Reference: This design is depicted in Mary Jean Madigan's "Steuben Glass – An American Tradition in Crystal" page 286 (see photo)
A Note About the Artist:
Paul Schulze was born in New York in 1934 and graduated from New York University and the Parsons School of Design, where he later taught. After working in industrial design, Schulze joined Steuben's design department in 1961 and was made Director of Design in 1970. Among his major works in crystal are "Cross" commissioned for St. Clement's Episcopal Church in New York, "Rotating Square" for the collection of North Carolina State University, and the "Einstein Memorial" for the Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC.
A Note About the Manufacturer:
For 100 years, Steuben had been at the forefront of glass design, balancing state-of-the-art technological advancements with centuries-old traditional glassmaking techniques. Founder Frederick Carder was born in England and was a self-trained chemist, physicist, draftsman, and potter. He became passionate about glassmaking as a child growing up in Staffordshire and spent time sketching, modeling, and playing with clay at his grandfather's pottery factory.
In 1878, his grandfather died and his father and uncles inherited the factory not appreciating the talents of the ambitious 15 year old. He left and took a job as draftsman and designer at a local glassmaking firm, Stevens & Williams. Here, he was allowed to experiment with colorizing agents and create new designs in colored glass, cameo glass, and engraved glass. The company put his designs into production, and they were such a commercial success that it eventually sent him on "fact finding" trips to Austria, Germany, and the United States.
In 1903, Carder was on his way to meet Thomas E. Hawkes, the president of a Corning company that bought glass blanks from Stevens & Williams. When Hawkes offered to establish a glass factory for Carder, Carder accepted. He named the company Steuben after the county where it was located and began production almost immediately. Steuben Glass Works specialized in colorful Art Nouveau glass just coming into popularity, and the early years were the most productive. In 1918, the Corning Glass Works acquired Steuben as both companies positioned themselves for the years following World War I, and Frederick Carder continued in his capacity of Managing Director of the new "Steuben Division" of Corning Glass.
In 1932, Steuben made one of its most significant technological advances, a glass they named "10M" which had extremely high refractive qualities that permitting the entire light wave spectrum to pass through the glass, including the ultraviolet range. In 1933, Arthur A. Houghton, Jr. became Steuben's new president, and he introduced to the market this clear, pure 10M glass now known as Steuben crystal. Houghton collaborated with sculptor Sidney Waugh and architect John Gates. With the introduction of Steuben crystal, colored glass was gradually phased out of Steuben production, and the Steuben Division became known as simply Steuben Glass. Gazelle, Steuben's first major engraved design, was introduced in 1935 and reflects the influences of Swedish simplicity and the massive geometry of Art Deco; this is the first Steuben pattern that utilizes all of Steuben's renowned glassmaking techniques: blowing, cutting, polishing, and copper-wheel engraving.
Having made glass for over 100 years, Steuben had always sought to balance state-of-the-art technological advancements with the centuries old craft of glass making and the skills of the craftsmen. Regrettably Steuben is no longer in production as of 2012.
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