Glass Study Interactive

The Silhouette pattern, 1933

Designing It

A glass designer starts with an idea for a product, which is turned into a detailed shape drawing. Each element is planned out and measured. This candlestick is part of the Silhouette pattern of stemware. Stems include a kangaroo, cat, rabbit, giraffe, and monkey.

Look for examples in the American Glass display in the Glass Pavilion Study Gallery.

 

Shape Drawing for Six-Inch Candlestick, Silhouette Pattern, 1933. Libbey Glass Manufacturing Company. Gift of Libbey Inc., 2009.367

Making It

Silhouette stemware was part of Libbey’s 1933 “New Era in Glass” line of part handcrafted and part machine-made products. The complicated animal stems were machine-pressed in molds. This allowed the stems to be reproduced easily, making Silhouette one of the less expensive “New Era” patterns.

 

The Designer

The Silhouette pattern is attributed to French designer Frederic Vuillemenot. Libbey Glass and other American glass companies hired prominent European designers to keep their competitive edge and to appeal to consumer taste. Vuillemenot worked part-time for Libbey in the early 1930s, when he likely created the whimsical but elegant animal-stemmed glassware.