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.
Friday, December 19, 2008
The day before THANKSGIVING I received this email. After some discussion Monte agreed to allow me to share with readers. He also promised to write as time allows what he remembers from his time at Blenko. He also promised to look for photos of the workers , I'll add these as they arrive. This oral history - recording the craftsman is a major part of The Blenko Project. hjh
Good to hear from you and know someone cares about history and the craftsmen that made the glassware that is appreciated today. I started at Blenko right out of high school in 1950. My starting pay was .95 an hour and it was hot, hard work. I started as a carry-in boy on the antique or stained glass shops on the evening shift with Pearl (Pat) Lemley and Haskel (Has) Chaney as the blowers and "Pooch" Spurlock and Sy McCallister as the gatharers. Perhaps you have heard of some of these guys or maybe all of them. An onrey bunch who delighted in teaching a kid bad habits.
After a few months I moved up to day shift and carryed-in for Leroy (Grandma) Jenkins blower, and Alva Keefer finisher. Pooch Spurlock was gatharer, Lonnie Morriss was bit gatharer, Bill Cooper was stick up boy and I carryed in. Grandma was wounded in WW2 and missed work often with his wounds. Alva was very religious and sang at the top of his voice and sounded quite good. The other blowers there at that time was: Hubert Blake jr or "Junnie', Harry Thompson, Hardy Vicker, Bill and his brother Carl Bailey, and Clayton Lunsford. Finishers were Arnold "Muck" Henderson, Bud Dillon, "P-nut" Holly, Blackburn "Blackie" White, and Forrest Bledsoe. Charles "Rabbit" Windsor made stoppers and Frank Hunt was foreman.
That was pretty much the way it was untill 1952 when I joined the Navy. I served in the far east, Korea, South China Sea, and French-Indo China, (Viet Nam) untill 1956 when I returned to West Virginia and Blenko again.
Will pick up there next time...............monte