Matt Richmond / WSKG

Steuben Glass of Corning officially closed its doors on Tuesday - but the demise of the maker of decorative glass was a long time coming.

The quality of the company's design, a top priority for the firm since its founding in 1903, had deteriorated, says glass dealer Jeffrey Purtell.

"I think the last ten years, a lot of the designs were an embarrassment and they certainly don't compare to the wonderful pieces from the '40s, '50s, '60s and '70s," says Purtell.

The company had tried to change with the times, bringing in young marketing consultants, but according to Purtell:

"They had no clue what they were doing."

wallyg / via Flickr

After surviving for more than 100 years in the high-end glass art objects and functional crystal glass objects (like candlesticks and vases) business, Steuben Glass will close its doors on November 29th. 

The decision to close was first announced in September by Steuben's parent company, Schottenstein Stores, an Ohio-based corporation that specializes in discount retail stores. Schottenstein purchased the glassmaker from Corning Inc. in 2008.

"The fact is that the world changes. A business decision had to be made," says Thomas Dimitroff, a Corning resident who has written about Steuben and its co-founder, Frederick Carder and consulted for the company.

"And the business decision was that it was too expensive to continue supporting the company."

Courtesy photo /

When President Obama announced a new, half-billion-dollar manufacturing initiative last Friday, his goals were lofty:

“This partnership is about new, cutting-edge ideas to create new jobs, spark new breakthroughs, reinvigorate American manufacturing today, right now -- not somewhere off in the future, right now,” he said.

To nurture that spark, the Obama administration is providing the cash, and a handful of top universities and corporations are providing the expertise.

For upstate New York - where manufacturing is a big deal - this would seem like great news.

But of the 6 universities and 11 companies selected to participate in the president's Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP), only one is headquartered in New York state.  

So ... not so great news.

Loïc Twistiti / via Flickr

Google made headlines last week when it picked Kansas City, Kan. for its experimental “Fiber for Communities” project.

But the Internet giant isn’t the only Fortune 500 Company investing in optical fiber as a means of delivering super-fast broadband these days.

Earlier this year - with much less fanfare - Corning Incorporated announced that it was spending $10 million to help three Southern Tier counties build a $12 million fiber ring.

So far, insiders and industry watchers alike say the unique public-private partnership looks like a win-win.

Courtesy photo / Corning Inc.

Corning is probably best known in American homes for its classic CorningWare. The company doesn't make unbreakable cookware anymore, but you might just have its super-tough, consumer electronics glass around the house.

We filed a report on Corning that aired this morning on NPR's Morning Edition, which included a visit to one of the company's research labs in Corning: