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.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Bill Blenko - Milton Resident

WIlliam H. "Bill" Blenko Jr has spent much of his life in Milton, West Virginia. He loves the town and the people of Milton like Mr. Blenko.

A petition was passed recently to rename the road infront of BLENKO GLASS FACTORY to BILL BLENKO DRIVE. Last summer there was a BILL BLENKO DAY.

Mr. Bill Blenko is a very modest, gentle, man who doesn't like for people to make a 'fuss' over him. His view of BLENKO GLASS is one of 'family' he treats the employees, and volunteers much like a giant group of family members. He acknowledges his concern if they 'smoke' or eat high cholesterol diets. He knows the name of each employee, and will often ask them about their fathers, uncles and other relatives. Mr. Bill Blenko has forgotten more about the Glass Industry than most people will ever have the opportunity to learn.

We had the pleasure of spending an hour or so with him yesterday, just 'hanging out' walking around the plant, and 'talking' about the 'old days.'

William H. Blenko Jr., was born in Lancaster, Ohio in 1921. After graduating from the Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1942 with a Bachelor of Science Degree, Bill Jr. joined the United States Air Force where he served in England as a Captain. This is also where he met his bride to be, Jeanne. In 1946, after serving his time in the 8th Air Force, William H. Blenko Jr., became the 3rd generation to join the family business of glass making. By 1969 Bill Jr. was appointed President of the company. He is a member of several associations including:
One of only 12 Lifetime members of the Glass Art Society **
Lifetime member of the Stained Glass Association.
American association of Glass and Pottery Manufacturers.
American Ceramic Society.
American Legion-VFW
Kentucky Colonel
William H. Blenko Jr. is still active in the company as Chairman.

** Blenko Project friends Marvin Lipofsky www.marvinlipofsky.com and Henry Halem www.artcoinc.com/halem. are Founding GAS Members


westvirginiajanis said...

What a lovely intergenerational photo of two BLENKO pillars!

I just returned from a whirlwind WV road trip, from Morgantown to Bluefield with lots of stops in between. One of the stops was to the WV Museum of American Glass in Weston, WV. This museum is a REAL MUST for glass lovers. Plus, this is a great place for collectors to identify pieces that they own. The window sculpture made out of BLENKO is fun.

The museum accepts donations of glass for the museum as well as donations to sell in their gift shop. If you don't know what to do with a deceased loved one's collection of American art glass, consider donating items to this museum or for them to sell to generate revenue. They don't even ask for a donation to enter!


When visiting this museum, please ask the staff to direct you to the BLENKO!

WV Janis

westvirginiajanis said...

Seeing this picture of Hillary and Mr. Blenko reminds me of the power of a picture (worth a thousand words!).

One place to get the word out about BLENKO, to get people appreciating it, and wanting to buy it, is through FLICKR. Here are a few of the FLICKR photos that feature BLENKO. Especially nice is seeing people comment. If you have some time, you might look at these pictures and read the comments or just put "BLENKO" in FLICKR's search box and find some yourself WV Janis



Anonymous said...

Bill Blenko always was a handsome man known for his generosity to the community and the state of West Virginia.
Janis I agree with you, the 2 people photographed have Blenko always first in their hearts.
Bill and his parents have been pillars of the community at large.
S. Cohen

sweetdoc said...

You are too cute, and too sweet
for words.
Bet Mr. Blenko also finds you
very charming. My Dad is also blessed with youthful friends.
Go You.

sweetdoc said...

Is that a Carole Litton dress?
Expensive for a student No?
Observation in response to your
I am a poor student who can not afford glass remark.

Dr.BOB said...

Somehow I am betting you Ms. Homburg make 'talkin about the ole days' very enjoyable.
Envy WH Blenko this time.

Anonymous said...

Nice picture. Just catching up on the blog and thought I let you know that I am caught up and thinking about going to Blenko one of those days to ckeck it out. Is your Mom going down one of those days? Guess I need to send her a e-mail. Ha Ha lov ya Roxie

Anonymous said...

For sweetdoc, I believe you mean a "Carol Little" dress. You just have to know where to shop, and be in the right place at the right time to snare some real deals. If you have a T J Maxx or Marshalls in your area, they have are great! Often Blenko-like glass, too. Don't be fooled.
Car Girl

Anonymous said...

Well! You do have birthdays and Easter and Christmas and parents who love you alot and who knows a young lady needs a nice dress. I am a Mom and remember my own daughter's college days. Mom's have empty nest most of the time, when their babies leave home so the take care of need still comes out once in awhile. This is not Blenko! So take your daughter/son down to Blenko for some classes, enjoy the day doing something together.I saw the dress and it looked like stained glass window's only in cloth not glass. Nice selection for getting your picture taken with Mr. Blenko. We women all have at least two nice dresses, saving to buy a cobalt blue Blenko lamp, HAVE THHOSE GRANDBABIES to be good too. They love surprises every now and then. My Sage would like to take all those classes, she likes to make stuff. Gotta go. lov ya Roxie

bridgett said...

My bet is the dress is Nicole Miller 2008 summer line. Very nice silk?

saltonannu said...

My vote is Carol Little
or Dana Buckman
I've seen very similar things
in mags this year.
Buckman is using the hand woven
designs alot.
Blenko greenish yellow is the color Correct?

Hillary J Homburg said...

My clothing has never received so much attention.
You ladies have the 'eyes' of a Hawk!