During World War II, there were shortages of many things: metal, medicine, rubber, even sugar. Before the war began, a different shortage was already being felt. Because we were at war with Germany, glass Christmas ornaments couldn’t be imported. Germany is where ornaments were traditionally made. To keep the holidays sparkling, the Corning Glass Works began producing glass ornaments.
At the time, the New York-based Corning Glass Works made light bulbs and windowpanes from sheets of glass. The glass artists used the same technology to create geometrically shaped ornaments like spheres and teardrops. “The German ones had a lot more characters, animals, fruits, and nuts. They had detailed painting and surface decorations,” says Eric Goldschmidt, a glass artist at Corning Museum of Glass (GMoG). The CMoG tells the history of Corning, Inc. and glassmaking. “Corning ornaments had their own style,” he adds.