Glass used to be prized for its ornateness and glitter; today it is important for its usefulness. These contrasting exhibits, in the 100-year-old Corning Glass Works' new museum at Corning, N.Y., show how much times have changed.

Victorians considered sparkling chandeliers the acme of drawing-room elegance, and they would have found Coming's 19th Century room, which looks cluttered to the 20th Century eye, just as artful and integrated as the modern exhibit. An expansive corner window, partly screened by spun-glass curtains, is the main feature of the modern room, where useless bric-a-brac has been replaced by Steuben's simple ash trays and an...

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