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Heart of Glass - Blenko Glass

Blenko Glass is a West Virginia treasure that spans generations. Nothing symbolizes the state of West Virginia better or more beautifully than Blenko Glass. We will discuss current and former craftsmen and designers and how important it is that Blenko and West Virginia glass be appreciated and valued by the younger generation.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

BUY Today Blenko Glass

Blenko Glass handcrafted in USA. Blenko Glass made in West Virginia - hand crafted glass made by your friends, your neighbors. Buy LOCAL and when Possible Buy Made In USA.
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Here is a list of Glass Companies - many no longer with us. When I read about defunt glass companies it makes me very sad.
Let's support BLENKO - by buying Blenko, and by getting the word out about this beautiful art glass. We should NOT allow another glass manufacturer to close!


AMERICAN VENDORS
• B L E N K O An American company based in Milton, West Virginia; founded in 1921 (after three attempts and failed companies) by William John Blenko. The company was named Eureka Art Glass Company specializing in colored stained glass. In the late twenties and thirties the company changed names and Blenko started making decorative tableware. In 1946 Winslow Anderson was hired as the first design director and elevated the level of artistic achievement. 1952 Wayne Husted came on board as the second design director and introduces oversized stoppered bottles and other fifties icons. 1963 Joel Myers begins as design director. These first three designers were the beginning of a Blenko tradition that is still alive today. Subsequent designers have been and are; John Nickerson, Don Shepherd, Hank Adams, Chris Gibbons & Matthew Carter. Blenko is still doing business out of Milton, West Virginia.Blenko colors include: Amethyst, Antique Green, Aqua, Azure, Charcoal, Chestnut, Cobalt, Crystal, Desert Green, Ebony, Emerald, Grass, Honey, Jonquil, Kiwi, Pine, Plum, Rose, Ruby, Sapphire, Sea Green, Sky Blue, Surf Green, Tangerine (amberina), Teal, Topaz, Turquoise, Violet and Wheat.

• B I S C H O F FA.F. Bischoff Glass Company was founded by A.F. Bischoff in Huntington, West Virginia in 1922. The company moved to Hurricane, West Virginia and again to Culloden, West Virginia where it produced glass from 1942-1963. Bischoff made items very similar to those of other West Virginia companies. In addition to using some unusual, even bizarre, original; shapes, Bischoff copied designs from leaders like Blenko. Lancaster Colony, of Columbus, Ohio, purchased Bischoff in 1963, keeping the Bischoff name and molds. (Blenko’s fifties designer Wayne Husted, joined Lancaster in that year to head its design and production department.) The following year, 1964, Sloan Glass bought Bischoff, and Sloan closed in 1996.Bischoff colors include: Amberina, Amethyst, Charcoal, Copperette, Crystal, Emerald Green, Gold, Lemon, Lime, Orange, Peacock Blue, Poinsettia Red and Wisteria.

• E R I C K S O N G L A S S W O R K SCarl Erickson was a Swedish-born glass artist who brought the spirit of Swedish design to his Bremen, Ohio Factory. This defunct glass factory was purchased by brothers Carl and Steven Erickson in 1943. Carl designed most of the mold-blown glass, distinguished by heavy casing, controlled bubbles, and frequently, a heavy ball of glass for a base. They were identified by a yellow and blue paper label, and free-formed pieces had an engraved signature. The company closed in 1961.

• H A M O NRobert Hamon founded Hamon Glass in 1932 in Scott Depot, West Virginia, where it continues operating today. The company produced crackle glass from the late 1940’s until the mid-1970’s. In 1966 Hamon merged with Kanawha Glass Co. and, although the production was separate, Hamon items were included in the Kanawha catalog. Features which help identify a piece of Hamon include the handles will have a ridge across the end on most Hamon crackle pieces. Like Pilgrim’s style of crackle, the Hamon finish is extremely fine. This easily identifiable finish is also called “onion crackle” or “Swedish crackle.”Hamon colors include: Amber, Amberina, Amethyst, Blue, Crystal, Green, Ruby and Smoke.

• K A N A W H AWhen Dunbar Glass Company in Dunbar, West Virginia closed in 1953, production head D. P. Merritt and others joined to form the Kanawha Glass Specialties Company. Named after nearby river, The Kanawha, the company opened in 1955 and made blown crystal in addition to cutting and decorating purchased glass. In 1957 they changed the name to Kanawha Glass Company. By 1960 they began production of the colorful decorative wares that have become so familiar, especially crackle glass. Soon Kanawha was making 350 production items in seven colors. In 1969 Kanawha purchased Hamon Handcrafted Glass in Scott, Depot, West Virginia. The Hamon Crackle Glass that was added to the Kanawha line retained its identity, which explains why Kanawha catalogs often show two different types of glass-molded and hand-blown. Production continued until 1987, when Kanawha was sold to Raymond Dereume Glass Inc. in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. This lasted for only two years, closing in 1989.Kanawha colors include: Amber, Amberina, Amethyst, Authentic Cranberry, Blue, Cranberry, Crystal, Green, Ruby and Yellow.

• M O R G A N T O W NThe Morgantown Glass Factory (1899-1971) operated under several names-The Morgantown Glass Works, Economy Glass Company, and Morgantown Glassware Guild. Under the leadership of Joseph Haden and his sons J. Richard and Samuel, Morgantown produced high quality handmade traditional “Depression Era” glass and several Art Deco stemware designs until the 1950’s and 1960’s brought a new emphasis to the company. J. Richard Haden, the last vice president, introduced the D├ęcor Line of glassware in modern, often angular, shapes and vibrant colors. But their most typical fifties items were the freeform vases and bowls designed by Steve Britvec in the 1960’s.

P I L G R I MThe Pilgrim Glass Corporation in Ceredo, West Virginia was founded by in 1949 by Alfred E. Knobler. He purchased Tri-State Glass of Huntington, West Virginia and then land in Ceredo (near Huntington) and built the Pilgrim facility, which opened in 1956. From the beginning they specialized in free blown crackle glass in vivid colors. Like other producers of crackle glass, Pilgrim made large quantities of it in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Generally they used colored handles in the 1950’s and crystal handles in the 1960’s. Some items can be identifies as Pilgrim by a mark impressed in the center of the base-either a group of little dots (“strawberry marks”) or a group of wavy lines (“water waves”) Like other companies in the area Pilgrim made a range of decorative objects in both crackled and plain colored glass. Two brothers Alessandro and Roberto Moretti introduced Murano style to Pilgrim in the 1950’s. Their introduction of glass animals, figurines, and other Venetian style items gave Pilgrim another desirable line. Pilgrim colors include: Amber, Amethyst, Blue, Crystal, Emerald Green, Lemon-Lime, Olive Green, Ruby, Sea Green, Sky Blue, Smoke Crystal, Tangerine and Topaz.

R A I N B O WThe Rainbow Art Company was founded in 1942 in Huntington, West Virginia by Joseph Goudeket and Henry Manus. Originally a glass decorating business, the Rainbow Art Co. turned to producing its own hand blown glass in 1954, and it became the Rainbow Art Glass Company. Like other neighboring companies, they produced blown glass in vivid colors, often with a crackle finish. Rainbow made crackle through the 1970’s, which was later than most competitors. In 1973 they were purchased by Viking and continued to make crackle glass until 1970. The Rainbow factory burned down in 1983, and all operations ceased.Rainbow colors include: Amber, Amberina, Amethyst, Blue, Crystal, Golden Amber, New Turquoise, Olive Green, Orange/Amberina, Pink, Ruby, Smoke, and Tangerine.

V I K I N GBased in New Martinsville, West Virginia, the Viking Glass Company emerged from the New Martinsville Glass Company in 1941. They were known for manufacturing hand-made, quality glassware of the Swedish type. Viking was predominately a pressed glass factory. In the fifties Viking introduced colored glass to compliment their crystal lines. Over time a number of people created designs for Viking; Dick Schnacke, Gail Docktor, and Bill Prindle. In the late 1950’s Billy Reinbeau arrived at Viking and developed the “spun mold.” This was an important development at the time and remained so until the factory’s closing in the 1990’s. A spun mold used centrifugal force to raise hot glass up into the sides of a moving mold. The results were abstract and very graceful fluid forms. Color complements form and design. It was critical to Viking’s successes. Kenneth Dalzell, former head of the Fostoria Glass Co., re-opened Viking as Dalzell-Viking in 1987, but it finally closed in 1998.Viking colors include: Amber, Amberina, Avocado Green, Amethyst, Bluenique, Crystal, Honey, Lime Green, Persimmon, Thistle, and Ruby.hjh
glass company info from web.

12 comments:

Teddy said...

Very interesting article! I added it to bookmarks.

Anonymous said...

WHAT EVER BLENKO PAYS YOU
IT IS NOT ENOUGH! aSK FOR MORE, YOU ARE OUTSTANDING.

Rebecca Davis said...

Very informative, made me homesick!
My Grandfather, Jack Thompson of Ceredo, WV worked for Rainbow Art Glass Company when I was a little kid. I still have a few very treasured pieces of that glass.

Anonymous said...

VERY INTERESTING YOU LEFT OUT
OSBURN GLASS
AND HINKLE GLASS
GO BACK AND ADD.

REBECCA SEND YOUR PHOTOS TO THE BLOG. I JUST BOUGHT A BOOK ABOUT RAINBOW.
MOUNTAIN RITA

Anonymous said...

Morgantown Glass in my house is known as the golf ball on the stem of the glassware
the delicate hand blown glass wear in ruby and the crystal golf ball stem on each item.
Suzie

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Osburn could someone please tell me if he went of business? I've been trying to contact him so I can pay him a visit next time I visit Blenko!

Thank you!

Phani said...

I found the link for 2011 Blenko BD piece....

http://www.herald-dispatch.com/multimedia/galleries/x295394057/Gallery-Blenkos-2011-West-Virginia-Day-Piece

Pictures in Herald Dispatch. What do you think B?

Phani

Anonymous said...

Hillary
we want to bring our trailer travel trailer to the birthday event - thinking is folks could get cool or hve drinks or cook out
its not large uses on space DO YOU see a problem with this?
Last year we saw several in the lot but didn't know if you need permission...
Douglas Fidler

Hillary J Homburg said...

Douglas
We
ll wait to hear from Blenko.
My thoughts are if it fits in 'one'
parking space it might be OK.
Great idea. Wish I'd thought of this a few years ago. My parents are over 65 and the heat is often difficult.
Thank you for reading heart of glass, for buying Blenko and for attending the Blenko Glass events.
hjh

Anonymous said...

OSBURN GLASS IS OPEN
THE WEBSITE
WORKS
WHAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH THESE PEOPLE WHO WRITE TO THE BLOG?
VISIT OBURN BEFORE AND AFTER BLENKO
I GOT GREAT PRICES
AND NICE STUFF
LAST YEAR.
ALSO BOUGHT OSBURNS WV PIECE AN lST EDTION
QQQ IS WILL HE DO A 2nd one FOR THIS YEAR???
MOUNTAIN RITA

Anonymous said...

osburn went to work for simon pierce glass about 3 months ago.

Anonymous said...

Osburn's Website does not work! His phone number is also disconnected! The last time I went to Blenko his shop was closed!

The person who stated he works for Simon Piece Glass.. Do you know if he is still going to make is own glass?

I e-mailed him but didn't a response!

Thanks