Answered By: Rebecca Hopman
Last Updated: Dec 05, 2016     Views: 233

The Libbey Embassy pattern stemware was designed by Walter D. Teague (1883-1960) and Edwin W. Fuerst (1903-1988) for the State Dining Room in the Federal Building at the 1939 World’s Fair. I wasn’t able to find a photograph of the State Dining Room or a full place setting, but you can read a short description of the room here (it does not mention the glass).

The Toledo Museum of Art has information on the design and production of the stemware. This page states: “The fluted stems of the Embassy pattern were inspired by the Ionic columns on the front of the Federal Building at the 1939 New York World’s Fair . . . the designer intended the stem of the Embassy pattern glasses to be in proportion to the bowl. However, because of time constraints, a single mold was made for the stem, to be used on all of the glasses, no matter their size.” One hundred and twenty place settings were made with ten different styles of glasses and finger bowls.

The stemware later became the White House service used during the Roosevelt and Truman administrations. After the 1939 Fair, Libbey issued the pattern – minus the American eagle and star etched pattern – as the 4900 Embassy pattern in the 1940 Modern American line.

As for Edwin W. Fuerst, he was hired by Owens-Illinois in 1930 as designer and stylist of its design studio. In 1935, after Owens-Illinois acquired Libbey Glass, Fuerst headed its design department. He designed a number of lines, and is perhaps best known for the handcrafted Modern American line. Along with Walter Teague, he designed the 1939 World’s Fair stemware. Teague was unhappy that the stemware was publicized as a collaborative effort, seeing his stem design as the line’s primary feature. Fuerst left Libbey in 1944 to open his own design office, focused on packaging design.

You can find out more about the design, production, and designers of this stemware in The Alliance of Art and Industry: Toledo Designs for a Modern America, Toledo Museum of Art (2002).