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Monday, July 27, 2009

Our Soon-To-Be-Very-Famous Glass

Once again, our remarkable Ruba Rombic glass collection is in the spotlight. The crew from the PBS television show Antiques Roadshow visited us last week to film the museum and, in particular our Ruba Rombic pieces, for an upcoming 2010 broadcast. The following essay was originally written exclusively for our members, but we'd like to share it with everyone now that the line is about to arouse the curiosity of a broader audience.

Ruba Rombic on view at Kirkland Museum

Ruba Rombic, the edgy Cubist glassware designed by Reuben Haley for Consolidated Lamp and Glass Company, debuted in 1928. The Consolidated company was in Coraopolis, PA, west of Pittsburgh. According to the company, the name "Ruba Rombic" comes from the combination of "Rubaiy," meaning epic or poem, and "Rombic," meaning irregular in shape. This design is considered one of the most desirable and important of American Art Deco glass. Kirkland Museum recently acquired the rare large vase and the large bowl (pictured above at left) at the New York Modernism Show.

Most of Haley's previous designs were modeled after Lalique glass (see some on view in Kirkland Museum' watercolor room), but Ruba Rombic was truly original with its very art deco look. The strange angular shapes were made by blowing glass into a mold. It was eventually produced in sixteen colors and nearly 40 different shapes from vases and decanters to trays and candlesticks. Colors included honey, amethyst, French crystal, silver, green, topaz, sunshine, lilac, jade, jungle green, and smoky topaz. The pattern was only produced from 1928 until 1932, when the Consolidated company was temporarily closed.

Two shelves of Ruba Rombic, including a few examples of Ruba Rombic ceramics also by Reuben Haley for the Muncie Pottery Company of Muncie, Indiana, are currently on view in the Kirkland Museum corridor between the garden door and the elevator. The Ruba Rombic is displayed adjacent to, and can be compared to, other important designs of American Art Deco glass of the 1920s and 1930s.


From Colored Glassware of the Depression Era 2, published 1974, by Hazel Marie Weatherman, page 48


By Maya Wright
Marketing & Membership Coordinator