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, January 30, 2009

Wissmach Glass Company

Another Glass Company my Dad and I visited monthly when I was growing up was Wissmach. I knew at least a half dozen of the men at Wissmach by first name or nickname. Frequently they would gift me a box of small pieces of colorful glass. Glass at the time was .50 cents a pound. These Saturday trips to Wissmach were great adventures, spending time with the men who made the glass, then having tea in the office with the ladies, and later having lunch at one of the little restaurants in the outskirts of town. Life was simple, pleasures were found in everything, and joys were abudant. Wissmach continues to produce fine glass. The number of workers has decreased. The town is much smaller. The price of scrape glass has greatly increased. The men I knew (except for one) are retired. With their permission I'm reprinting the history of Wissmach. Later I'll do photos of the Company and its product. Another West Virginia Glass Company. Don Lemley http://www.blenkoglass.com/ I think would agree with me, that Wissmach & Blenko are the BEST glass for stain glass Artist.

The History of Wissmach Glass Company

A century ago, on October 13, 1904 the Ohio Valley Glass Company was founded by Paul Wissmach. The company originally manufactured raised glass letters, wire glass and tubing. But Mr. Wissmach had a dream to create beautiful colored rolled sheet glass to inspire stained glass work, today his dream has been built into the manufacturer of the largest variety of colored rolled sheet glass in the world.
The year 1910 marked an important date in the company's history as it changed its name to The Paul Wissmach Glass Company, Inc. Mr. Wissmach's dream had finally been realized.
Wissmach Glass has not been without its share of hardships. A fire in 1927 completely destroyed vital manufacturing and warehouse facilities. The fire turned out to be a blessing-in-disguise as the company quickly recovered with new and larger buildings.

The increased factory area led the company to expand its interest into the field of manufacturing raised white opal letters. The letters were widely used in electrical signs of which theater marquee sales made up the largest volume. The glass letter market eventually gave way to plastics. During the same period of the late 1920's and 1930's, Wissmach Glass continued to manufacture patterned wire glass and also introduced its line of Neo-Flash - the only rolled flashed glass in the country. Neo-Flash was designed and widely-used in the lighting field.
Both Neo-Flash and wire glass were dropped from the line in the early 1960's as company officials decided to concentrate on producing the finest colored rolled sheet glass. Today, over 13,000 square feet of glass is produced in Wissmach's manufacturing facility each day. On average, eight to ten different color runs of glass are made daily.

Throughout the years, Wissmach Glass has built an inventory that includes over 3,000 colors, tints and patterns. While preserving the many traditional colors and mixes of the past, Wissmach constantly introduces new colors and types of glass to meet the demands of the artists of today and the artists of tomorrow.

1 comment:

sweetdoc said...

address please
and do they have artist on staff?