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


"Our memories are the only paradise from which we can never be expelled.'' Jean Paul Richter

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


Anonymous said...


susan said...

Hilary this is perfection, hearing from a retired worker.
When will you have time to do more bios of the blenko people?
The bio is my fave part of your blog. This and the photos.

bridgett said...

Susan I agree, the bio of worker is for me always welcome.

Dr.BOB said...

Regarding the State Legislature's need to honor Hilary.
I have made several contacts, this sort of thing happens frequently.
Brooks McCabe of Kanawha County has indicated he will proceed if we send note of interest with recommendation.
I have also contacted my local people who will support such an endevor.
The rep from Milton area is Evan Jenkins does anyone know him?
Also cc the letters to the Pres. of Senate
Efforts to have Hilary participate in this have met with resistance. She is not a proactive person.
Any reader who is member of Collectors group should also prepare letter from the group.
Blenko should also send letter, suggestions re: contact person, or will someone else contact blenko?
Let us make this happen. To show our support of both Hilary and Blenko.

lewisdvdphd said...

Thank you Monte for sharing your memories, I will await chapter 2.

chitrakahn said...

Please write again, I want to hear page 2 of your story as paul harvey might say.
Hilary would perhaps Rick Blenko
do a bio of Monte?