Object Timeline

  • We acquired this object.

1927

  • Work on this object began.

1937

  • Work on this object ended.

2015

2017

2019

  • You found it!

Lens Bowl

This is a Bowl. It was designed by Walter Dorwin Teague. Its medium is mold-blown glass. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

For the year of 1932 that Teague was engaged on a design contract with the Steuben Division of Corning Glass Works, he primarily worked from his office in Manhattan and sent his designs to be carried out on the factory floor. Once a moth, Teague visited the town of Corning. Riding by train, it is likely that Teague would have observed the pressed-glass lenses that Corning Glass Works produced for railroad signals and locomotive lights. Or once he arrived at Corning he may have also seen these designs in production.[1] The concave shape of this shallow stepped lens was designed to disperse light so that it could be seen from a distance. This design was patented in 1877 by Charles F. Houghton. The concentric lines and simple geometry of the bowl appealed to Teague, who adapted it for domestic use. This design concept must have been particularly appealing to Steuben since it took advantage of design tools and materials already in production, therefore making its overall cost comparably low. Teague used the same molds as the factory did for the railroad signal lights. The original patent number from the mold has been ground off at the bottom of this bowl, leaving a visible spot on its base.

This object was donated by George R. Kravis II.

  • Bowl
  • glass.
  • Gift of Paul F. Walter.
  • 1991-30-12
  • Bowl
  • ochre glass.
  • Gift of Rodman Wanamaker.
  • 1919-24-26

Our curators have highlighted 3 objects that are related to this one.

  • Bowl, 1932
  • mold-blown, sand-blasted, acid-etched, and wheel-cut glass.
  • Gift of George R. Kravis II.
  • 2018-22-34

Cite this object as

Lens Bowl; Designed by Walter Dorwin Teague (American, 1883–1960); mold-blown glass; 2018-22-35

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/404536675/ |title=Lens Bowl |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=23 September 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>