All About Glass

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Frederick Carder: A Biography for Young Audiences

All About Glass

Frederick Carder was born in England on September 18, 1863. Fred, as people called him, was fascinated with his family’s pottery factory. At the age of 14, he insisted on quitting school so he could work there. His father was very unhappy about this, so he made Fred work from six in the morning until six in the evening shoveling wheelbarrows of coal to fuel the big %%kilns%% (ovens for making pottery). After just a few days, Fred realized that he had made a bad mistake, but his father would not let him quit his job. Fred wanted to keep learning, so he enrolled in night classes at the School of Art in Stourbridge. As a young man he not only studied art, but also chemistry, electricity, and metallurgy.

Frederick and Annie Carter

Frederick Carder soon became as fascinated with glass as he was with ceramics. There were many glass factories near Stourbridge—much like the community of Corning used to be. Carder designed glass in England for a company named Stevens and Williams. On his time-off he went to Europe to see how other people made glass. When he traveled, he visited many famous museums. He always carried a small notebook and pencil so he could sketch what he saw—sometimes glass, pottery, sculpture, or just a detail from a painting or another work of art he liked.

Fred Carder married Annie Walker in 1887 and they had three children, Stanley, Cyril and Gladys. In 1903, he moved with his family to Corning, NY, where he became manager of Steuben Glass Works.

Carder loved to make glass in many different colors and in unusual shapes. He designed more than 6,000 glass objects in 140 colors. He was often inspired by nature and art from other countries. He gave his glass fancy names like Oriental Poppy, Intarsia, and Cluthra. Carder designed glass to be used in different ways, including glass for the dinner table and for decoration.

Fred Carder did many things in Corning in addition to making glass. He had a beautiful flower garden. He started the Corning Rotary Club and was a member of the School Board. Carder loved to paint and golf. He also loved children. On Halloween he gave out nickels to children who came to his house to trick-or-treat.

Carder designed glass for more than 80 years of his life. He lived to be 100 years old. On his 100th birthday he received birthday wishes from President Kennedy, Governor Rockefeller, and the Queen of England. Frederick Carder died in Corning in 1963. 

Published on December 1, 2011