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.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
This is from FAMILY CIRCLE MAGAZINE page 42 this month.
Photos of BLENKO Glass accompany the article.
NOTE: VINTAGE BLENKO can be purchased in a number of places locally - IN MILTON along the main street of town
more than 6 shops sell BLENKO vintage. In Charleston THE PURPLE MOON has a very nice collection.
If you know of other ' special ' Vintage Blenko sellers - make a comment.
Thank you Jinny Spann of Charleston, W.Va for this post.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
I'm sure almost everyone already knows the wonderful story of how William Blenko first named his glass company Eureka Art Glass Company in honor of his ruby formula discovery. He eventually renamed the company Blenko Glass Company in the mid-1920s. One of the rarest non-Blenko items a Blenko collector would love to find is a Eureka Art Glass Company label. By the way, notice the first Blenko label resembles the Eureka label. Of course the label was eventually redesigned to look like a hand. The Eureka label will most likely be found on a piece of stained glass.
I'll be blogging from the Blenko Collectors Society convention in Milton, WV starting on the weekend of August 10, 2007. Hope to see you all there.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Friday, July 27, 2007
My world the next four days is a cubicle at the WVU-Charleston Campus Library as I prep for Dental Boards.
Tim Alonzo Blenko Glass Collector from TEXAS, has agreed to host this BLOG during the Blenko Convention and several other collectors have offered to provide BLOG updates for the next 7 days. I'll occasionally do a short post. I expect to return to normal schedule after 8/14. Thanks for reading, I enjoy your email and comments. I'm certain Tim will also enjoy your comments. Hillary
This information was provided by Tammy Kosla - who is President and Founder of the Blenko Collectors Society. I wish I had a photo of Tammy to post, so when you attend the convention you would immediately recognize her. Tammy and her husband John are from Chicago. Their BLENKO GLASS collection is featured on the BlenkoProject website.
Blenko Collectors - like all collectors are extremely friendly, passionate, and want very much to make new friends, and meet new collectors. Everyone is most willing to share information and knowledge. They also 'help' one another complete collections! hjh
BCS 2007 Convention Agenda
Thursday, August 9th, 2007
Sunrise - Flighthouse balloon inflation and flight
The Flighthouse balloon has a painting of vintage Blenko as one of the windows and is a great sight to see! The balloon will be near the 4-H building on the Fairgrounds. Weather permitting, the balloon will inflate at sunrise (approximately 6:30 AM), stay inflated for approximately 45 minutes, then take flight.
7:30 AM – Blenko Visitor Center opens, visit the BCS welcome table on the second floor of the Visitor Center
10:00 AM to Noon – Stained Glass Class
Call Blenko at 304-743-9081 and ask for Don Lemley in stained glass to reserve a place in the class. Up to 25 participants will create their own 12" x 12" panel with Blenko Dalle de Verre. Materials fee is $75 and will be paid directly to Blenko. Panels will be available Friday morning for pick-up at the Visitor Center. Be prepared! Come with an image in mind or a drawing of what you would like to make. Wear closed-toe shoes and clothes that you don't mind getting dirty!
Noon to 1:00 PM – Lunch on your own, information available at the welcome table
1:00 PM to 2:15 PM – Factory Tours
Meet on the 2nd floor of the VC. These tours, limited to 10 people per group, will take you behind the scenes to see how the glass we love is made. See the blowers, finishers, glory holes, molds, mold carving, the stained glass department, and much more.
2:30 PM – Blenko Collector Society meeting
Location will be the 4-H building. The 4-H building is located on the fairgrounds across from the Blenko factory. This meeting is for paid BCS members only
Your evening is free. Enjoy the malls, restaurants, and more. Information will be available at the welcome table.
Sunset – Flighthouse balloon inflation
Weather permitting; the Flighthouse balloon will inflate 2 hrs before sunset
Friday, August 10th, 2007 - Bill Blenko Day
Sunrise - Flighthouse balloon inflation and flight
The Flighthouse balloon has a painting of vintage Blenko as one of the windows and is a great sight to see! The balloon be near the 4-H building on the Fairgrounds. Weather permitting, the balloon will inflate at sunrise (approximately 6:30 AM), stay inflated for approximately 45 minutes, then take flight.
7:30 AM – Blenko Visitor Center opens
8:00 AM to 9:45 AM - Master Glassworkers Shop
Retired Blenko workers will be set up in a shop near the Visitors Gallery. Collectors may watch these master glassworkers at work. There will be a drawing for the chance to purchase one of these creations.
9:00 AM – BCS information and membership table opens in the 4-H building
10:00 AM to noon – Presentations
Bill Blenko Day presentations, including Tammy Kosla & Deborah Allen
Dawn Weber – To Label, or not to Label?
Meet three members of the new design team!
Barry DiLibero - Movie, “Batching Blenko”
Question and answer session with Scott Davis, Blenko’s lead batcher
Noon to 1:30 PM – Lunch will be offered for sale by the 4-H club
1:30 PM to 3:00 PM - More Presentations
Walter Blenko – What’s next for Blenko?
Randy Rider – Blenko history through a current day employee’s eyes
Drema Wood – Postal changes and how they affect collectors
Brent Aikman – Blenko in Architecture
3:00 PM to 5:00 PM - Group fun activities involving Blenko. Stick around and get to know your fellow collectors and more about Blenko!
Your evening is free. Enjoy the malls, restaurants, and more.
Sunset – Flighthouse balloon inflation
Weather permitting; the Flighthouse balloon will inflate 2 hrs before sunset
Saturday, August 11th, 2007
8:00 AM – Set up begins for glass show & sale, 4-H building on the Fairgrounds
9:00 AM - Blenko Visitor Center opens
10:00 AM to 2:00 PM - Blenko and other collectible glass show & sale, 4-H building on the Fairgrounds
Noon – Lunch will be offered for sale by the 4-H club
3:15 PM to ? – Blenko Visitor Center
Raffle drawing, meet Blenko employees and the Blenko family, and take advantage of one last chance to chat with fellow collectors. Refreshments will be available.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Friday, July 20, 2007
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
Friday, July 13, 2007
-In the long run, the pessimist may be proved right, but the optimist has a better time on the trip. Daniel L. Reardon.
Optimism - 1) the belief that this world is the best possible world. 2). an inclination to anticipate the best possible outcome.
In Creating Optimism * by Bob Murray PHD and Alicia Futreberg MS.
the author states he always was envious of people who see the silver living rather than the clouds, had these recommendations.
#1. Go for a walk in the park and take in the beauty around you. ( I suggest a drive to BLENKO GLASS in Milton, WV - where you can walk around a large lake, watch the swans, and ducks, visit the glass garden, enjoy nature, and be engulfed by the beauty around you.)
#2. Head out to a family owned corner restaurant - rather than a chain - strike up a conversation with the cashier. ( I suggest visiting a family owned glass factory, strike up a conversation with the cashiers in the Gift Shop - Angie or Diana. Ask questions, learn about West Virginia Glass).
As a prophetic ending for my week, I received tonight an email from a Panhandle Glass Club member in which she used the 'words' optimistic and happy heart and bright young thing' to describe my presentation.
One of my goals is to always have a 'happy heart' - and to be more optimistic. I dunno about bright young thing .. . . . .think - - - - BRIGHT YOUNG THING..I ask my friend Steve to help with a list. * 1. Annie of the play Annie 2 ZACK -Saved by the Bell 3) Steve Urkel - Family Matters
4. Sandy in Grease. Can you think of more?
* Thank you Steve~
Personally, I believe Friday the 13th, is a great day for new beginnings - begin a collection of BLENKO! Begin a tradition of 'washing your car' on Friday. Begin to drink 'decaf' . . . .do something positive today!
A brief summary of Friday 13th sent by my friend Steve:
Friday the thirteenth is considered the unluckiest of days in many superstitions, unless you were born on Friday the thirteenth in which case it is your lucky day.
The fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskavedekatriaphobia or paraskevidekatriaphobia, a specialized form of triskaidekaphobia, a phobia (fear) of the number thirteen.
The origins of Friday superstitions are many. One of the best known is that Eve tempted Adam with the apple on a Friday. Tradition also has it that the Flood in the Bible, the confusion at the Tower of Babel.
The origins of the Friday the 13th superstition have also been linked to the fact there were 13 people at the last supper of Jesus, who was traditionally crucified on Good Friday, but it probably originated only in medieval times.
It has also been linked to the fact that a lunisolar calendar must have 13 months in some years, while the solar Gregorian calendar and lunar Islamic calendar always have 12 months in a year.
- Thank you Steve!
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Could be a Sat or Sunday. There will be someone available to instruct the volunteer (ie where the water hose is ...etc.) Let me know if you have an interest. hjh
*Beautification - A term LADY BIRD Johnson coined - but the Editors inform me PLAGIARISM isn't an ISSUE in BLOGGING.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
( primitives, folk art, antiques etc.)
JULY 21st 2007
mark your calendar
Bob and Kay Huffman (304 743 8300) are having their 4th anniversary sale and we're all invited!
It's an open house. 'Uniquely Yours' from Teays Valley will serve gourmet goodies all day with hot dogs, watermelon, and lemonade.
They tell me this is an open house full of the 'most wonderful finds.'
I won't be there - so IF you go, send photos and let us know what you bought. hjh
Monday, July 09, 2007
The greatest of faults is to be conscious of none" - Thomas Carlyle.
"You cannot run away from weakness; you must some time fight it out or perish; and if that be so, why not now, and where you stand?" - Robert Louis Stevenson.
"Know your major defect. Every talent is balanced by a fault, and if you give in to it, it will govern you like a tyrant. You can begin to overthrow it by paying heed to it: begin to conquer it by identifying it. Pay it the same attention as those who reproach you for it. To master yourself, you must reflect upon yourself. Once this imperfection has surrendered, all others will follow" - Baltasar Gracian.
Recently I wrote about the new BLENKO GLASS LINE - On Sunday we ran PHOTOS of the NEW LINE...
The comments about the NEW LINE were almost all positive, but I didn't react well to the one or two that were not.
Henry Halem called me "BLENKO CHEERLEADER" for a long time Science Nerd
this was not a compliment....and while I am indeed a very vocal advocate for Blenko Glass and West Virginia Craftsmen. The comment by Mr. Halem lead me to concede; perhaps due to a character flaw I actually find the flaws in Blenko glass to be delightful - the marks made by the tools, the occasional air bubble, the rough pontail etc.
It's an age old questions - Which comes first the head or the heart? When a new object intrudes into our horizons, do we know it first, and then we like it, or do we like it first, for how could we possibley like or dislike something before we know it? I have no answer for this riddle - but -
I find myself always loving BLENKO!
Below are the comments from the post -which lead to the self reflection.
HillaryI do not like thesenew designsThe victoria looks a biglike older glass.Solomon
6:37 AM, July 05
Hillary J Homburg said...
SolomonTake off the surgical maskturn on the lights and look atthe pictures again - or better yet - don't.Do show the site to your Mom and Grandmother, you mentioned they both love glass and enjoy the arts.Thank you for your comments, the line you mention is suppose to be retro (older) look.Keep reading, and telling others about BLENKO GLASS.Hillary
7:49 AM, July
Henry Halem said...
Very pedestrian designs. In a word dull. The Victoria line is a riff on Roman and Middle Eastern temple glass but has some potential. Hillary, while you're obviously a cheerleader for Blenko Glass, I dare say your critique of Solomons posting is unfair. He has a right to express himself without being criticized for an honest opinion that was solicited by you. Henry Halem
12:08 PM, July 05, 2007
Hillary J Homburg said...
Solomon,Henry Halem, professor, glass designer, author and my friendbelieves I owe you an apology.Solomon, please accept my apology - my reply to your comment was less than gracious. Your opinion and your unedited comments are always welcome.Thank you Mr. Halem for 'calling my hand' on the comment to Solomon.HJH
3:59 PM, July 05, 2007
I am sure the good professor would agree that most designs are derivative of something else. It's the spin on the design that is really the showcase. I think it's a wonderful color palette selection with good clean designs. No doubt these pieces can be made any number of ways, but for the time being this is how Blenko made them. Not to make excuses, but one has to remember that Blenko is working under the constraints of producing "production line" glassware, with all that implies i.e. production time per piece, color selection available and other production variables. It is obvious some corners were cut. Were these strictly art glass pieces I'm sure these pieces would have looked quite different. I guess it's like the difference between eating a hearty stew or a plain and simple broth. Both can be delicious for very different reasons.-Tim
8:41 PM, July 05, 2007
sharon reed hill said...
I really like this line: it reminds me of my past. That's how I first remember Blenko glass.The colors are wonderful.I'd like to add that until you, Hillary, started The Blenko Project, I really hadn't appreciated what I have or did have. It was after the first newspaper article, that I decided to take a second look. Always had an appreciation for Blenko but now more so thanks to your making everyone more aware of our state treasure. Thanks!
11:53 PM, July 05, 2007
Ms. HomburgDrove to Milton, they did not havemany of these items in the store.We did very much like the new lines.Bought several items, you tell themthey should have at a minimum a display of all new items or what you write about.Ted S. Kellner
Sunday, July 08, 2007
Saturday, July 07, 2007
"Your problem isn't karma, Sheldon, it's attitude!" "Well, Lonnie, maybe it's attitudinal karma !" ?Anonymous from a off broadway play - can't remember the name.
I always say " BUY BLENKO - for GOOD KARMA!" It (Blenko) has been around for a long time - always doing good.
Did you ever think about KARMA - this time last week - my vet and a pet spa were rescusing me - this afternoon A DEP engineer. My first thoughts were about 'bad luck.'
When in reality my 'luck' is very good. Good Samaritians (angels) always appear in the few times of crisis.
Karma - today another angel entered my life . a DEP engineer, . . . . . .while returning from a visit to my Popaw (90 miles away in Southern WV) my rear tire blew. The tire is less than a year old, and has under 9 K. Strange! After pulling to the curb, we phoned AAA (auto Club) they estimated the wait to be between 90 - 130 minutes - it was HOT 90+ degrees. After about 10 minutes, the
good Samaritan Mr. Dan Bayes, Department of Environmental Protection employee drove up. He quickly assessed the problem. Asked if I had a spare, if he could replace the tire. Then suggested I drive 'slowly' to the service station for air. When we arrived at the station. Mr. Bayes was sitting there, " Just wanted to make sure you'll were safe." He then rode off in his large white truck.
While AAA would have arrived it was nice not to wait the 90 additional minutes. My schedule wasn't really altered by the 'blowout'. I returned to Charleston in time for dinner at Quaker Steak and Lube (a first for me) with my friends.
On my next break from school I plan to enroll in a "powder puff' mechanic course, so I might change my own tire and/or perhaps offer assistance to someone else in distress. hjh
Friday, July 06, 2007
BLENKO GLASS COMPANY in Milton, West Virginia has been making 'Water Bottles' for a very long time. It is known as the longest running item - made before Blenko had its first designer. Water bottles are available in a dozen or more colors - are an expensive way to start a collection - or to add color to your table.
Many 'water bottles' have become highly collectible - the water bottle with handle, the rose', the ebony, the tequila to name a few. (photos follow)
Blenko Water Bottles - Tequila, Rose', Water Bottle with Handle, Ebony Water Bottle, The WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY ' mountaineer and WVU LOGO,' a multi spout water bottle
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Thanks to TK for the link and info.
Hope to have photos to post on the blog of these designs early next week.
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
BLENKO TOP HAT for holding 'fine Wine - Champagne - Ice - Coke "
Blue Challis A Vintage Blenko
Item - Great for
FLOWERS - Roses / RED from MILTON FLORAL in Clear BLENKO VASE
These red white and blue one of kind pieces are WAYNE HUSTED 2006 designs. These Husted items are 'pure art' don't use them...just ENJOY THE VIEW! Or if you aren't going out to see 'fireworks' enjoy the brilliance of your glass !
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
On Sunday we were fortunate enough to attend a preview event for the Vintage Car Grand Prix. Over 3 dozen cars, my favorite was the FIAT 1500 a 1970 - in a Blenko orange!*
Most of the cars were 60 - 70s the time JOEL P MYERS AND WAYNE HUSTED were designing at BLENKO! Vintage cars are a passion for me, I love cars, not necessarily the muscle cars, but the cars with lots of 'chrome' and heavy design, and also the 'cute' little cars!
My love of the German 'beetle' remains as strong today as it was in 1990 when I saw my first
VW Convertible and declared my self a HERBIE fan!
Standing out as a crowd pleaser was the epitome of sports cars the 1967 Shelby GT1500 KR Convertible. There were there 6 other Mustangs, Corvettes from 1950s to 90s (a dozen), MGs, A Lotus, Mercedes Benz. These cars were for the most part hauled on trailers to the site. Pampered by their owners. Either completely restored or near mint original condition, proud owners stood close by to speak with interested visitors.
So many of the cars were very LARGE - I found myself thinking mpg - These cars were built in a time when the thoughts were about "performance' rather than energy efficiency! hjh
* Anyone know the history of the 1970 Fiat 1500 ?
Sunday, July 01, 2007
Holiday Inn University Center - Pittsburgh, Pa.
When we checked in my thoughts were, its an over priced HOLIDAY INN (over $140 single room) - but BRIDGES the bar/restaurant had a wonderful collection of vintage Blenko Glass from the 70s and 80s, probably 20 very colorful pieces housed in a very large window shelf designed to hold the glass. We spoke with the manager about the Glass - it seems the General Manager was a collector of 'colored glass'. The restaurant manager knew very little about the glass or its value. We were feeling much better about the hotel. Vintage Blenko in the bar, my thoughts were this place has great Karma.... Miss B and I enjoyed lunch as we admired the reflection of the BLENKO in the sunlight.
Within 3 hours of checking in we received a call: Ms. Homburg? Do you have a dog in your room? Yes I do. We have a policy against dogs at the Holiday Inn. Since when? I ask. Miss B has stayed in the Holiday Inn on many occasions. Well it seems 2 months ago according to the Hotel manager ALL HOLIDAY INNS ARE DOG FREE ENVIRONMENTS*. He then told me if I expected to spend the night, Miss B would have to go!
While we have been ask to pay a pet deposit (up to $100 ), Miss B has never been ask to leave a hotel. At this point, I must admit the manager was nice, he gave me a list of twenty kennels in the Pittsburgh area.
A BICHON CLUB of Western PA member recommended , THE GOLDEN BONE PET RESORT, after many calls, they agreed to open on a holiday, and accept Miss B. My vet from Charleston agreed to go to his office and fax B's health records so that she might get into the GOLDEN BONE. So many wonderful people working together to assure Ms B was in a safe environment.
The GOLDEN BONE PET RESORT is a lovely place, heated floors, central heat and air conditioning, TV and radio, grooming on the premises. Three exercise periods per day. The attendant used B's favorite words "cute, sweet, darling" when speaking to her. I left feeling Miss B would be very well taken care of.
My trip was saved by the acts of many good Samaritans.
Returned to the Holiday Inn University Center to discover the pool, sauna, and exercise rooms were CLOSED also without any notice....just a hand printed sign...saying closed due to unforeseen circumstances. What a check in day! I will not be returning to the Holiday Inn University Center on my next visit to Pittsburgh -
If you plan to visit Pittsburgh with your pet, may I recommend the Wyndham, Doubletree,
Westin or the Marriott Residence Inn where I am happy to report Miss B is an accepted guest (though after this weekend she may demand to stay at the doggie-spa!).
*in defense of The Holiday Inn, this new pet policy is listed on their website. Having stayed there before without issue, it simply had not occur to me to check again.
Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the actions stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the highest form of living.
Blenko Glass in Milton West Virginia was a dream for William Blenko, from his actions and belief in himself and the people of Milton this dream became a one of the United States most noted glass manufacturers of tableware and antique glass.
William Blenko - proof that in America with hard work DREAMS DO COME TRUE!
William J. Blenko- The Blenko Glass Company was founded in 1893 by William J. Blenko in Kokomo, Indiana. He was born in 1853 in London's East End, on 36 Wharf Road. He worked in London glass houses when he was 13 years old and eagerly learned about glass formulation. In 1893 he came to America with the intention of starting the first glasshouse that could supply mouth blown (Antique) sheet glass for stained glass windows. At this time, all antique glass was produced in Europe (France, England, Germany) With the exception of Blenko Glass, it is still the same today.
William J. Blenko arrived in Kokomo, Indiana and set up a small shop. In time, he hired and trained other glass workers. William remained in Kokomo until 1903 when economics in America forced the factory to close. As a curious side note- William Blenko gave a solo piccolo performance on the evening of Tuesday, Feb. 13, 1894 in Kokomo.
Over the years, William became aware of the prejudice against American-made glass. Since the studios were owned by former Europeans, they had a natural bias in favor of European glass. William Blenko faced this prejudice until he died.
In1909 he started a factory in Point Marion, Pennsylvania, and later in Clarksburg, WV. Unfortunately, both of these ventures failed. A letter indicates he was working in Bellaire, Ohio in 1919 at an unknown glass factory for $40.00 a week. William was at some time offered a job at Tiffany's in New York for $50.00 a week and he apparently took this job. Finally in 1921, he decided to move to Milton, WV because of the low natural gas prices there. William was now 67 years old, an age when most people retire. Working by himself, he blew the glass cylinders, flattened them into sheets and then went on the road in his Model T car to sell them.
The original name of the company was Eureka Glass Company. It was called this because William J. Blenko spent years trying to find a ruby red sheet glass that would not change colors when painted and fired. When he developed this color, he threw his arms in the air and said, "Eureka, I've found it!" In 1923, his 26-year-old son William H. Blenko Sr. , with wife Marion and two-year-old son William Jr. joined him in Milton. This is when the factory finally took off.
William H. Blenko Sr. had the energy, ideas and an astute sense of sales. By 1927, Eureka antique sheet glass was specified for the Liverpool Cathedral. In 1929, sales were slow due to the depression in America. Bill Sr. seeing a need to make more business, contacted a Boston Importer, named Carbone. Carbone was importing his glass vases from Venice, Italy. Bill Blenko told him he could manufacture them, and save Carbone money. In reality, Bill Blenko did not have the skilled men to make them. When he returned to Milton, he found two Swedish glassworkers to work part-time. They were brothers Axel Mueller and Louie Miller. These two men were highly skilled in stemware manufacturing, and set the standard for all craftsmen to follow. The first samples were made in 1929. Thereafter, hand blown tableware was a major aspect of the Blenko .* The entire history of BLENKO GLASS COMPANY can be found on the BLENKO GLASS CO WEBSITE - William Blenko story was taken from this source.hjh