"Ruba Rombic" shape plate

MAKER:
Designer

Reuben Haley ( American, 1872 - 1933 )


Manufacturer

Consolidated Lamp & Glass Company ( American, 1893 )

DATE:
designed 1928
more object details

General Description

The Ruba Rombic pattern marks one of the high points of the prolific career of the American glass designer Reuben Haley (1872-1933). Like many designers of this time, Haley was influenced by the work of cubist artists like Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. In cubist paintings, images are fractured into multiple perspectives and reassembled in an array of geometric shapes; the result often appears as a cluster of faceted or angular forms. The Ruba Rombic line used fractured surfaces in the design of products like tableware.

Ruba Rombic was introduced to the market by the Consolidated Lamp and Glass Company of Coraopolis, Pennsylvania at the 1928 Pittsburgh glass and china show and marketed as the "jewelry" of its art glassware division. Believing that avant-garde cubism would appeal to enough Americans to make the line popular, they produced a relatively large number of pieces in the angular style. In addition to standard tableware, other objects such as decanters, pitchers, compotes, centerpiece bowls, vases, and lamp bases were also made in the nine colors- Jungle Green, Jade, Lilac, Sunshine, Honey, Silver, Silver Gray, Silver Cloud, and Smokey Topaz (seen here). The quality of the glass is very high, each being blown into a mold and hand finished. Although the ware was marketed to the trade and to the public using eye-catching print ads and the slogan "Ruba Rombic-An Epic in Modern Art," the line does not seem to have sold well, and the factory closed in 1932.

Adapted from

  • Charles L. Venable, Ellen P. Denker, Katherine C. Grier, Stephen G. Harrison, China and Glass in America, 1880-1980: From Tabletop to TV Tray (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2000), cat. 162, 458-459.

  • DMA unpublished material, 1993.

  • DMA unpublished material, Label text (1992.522.1, Shaken, Stirred, and Styled: The Art of the Cocktail, November 18, 2016 - November 12, 2017), 2016.