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, March 15, 2009

Benko Rooster

Readers you request a photo of the tea pot and the owner sent this photo.
Thank you!


Anonymous said...

Please pleze pleze tell me all about this rooster, how u found him, how u knew he was blenko, who made him, where you got him, how much you had to pay? Did he have a lid?
This is totally unlike any blenko I have seen.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you in advance.
Sue M.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Make that Kewl!

Anonymous said...

Glad you like him - he's a beauty. He was inherited from my husband's aunt so we didn't have to pay for him, but one sold on eBay a few years ago for $275. He's not really a teapot, as he has a solid glass neck & head, & thus no need for a lid. He 's a Wayne Husted design, #6145, & there is a picture of one in the same color (jonquil)on the Blenko Museum website (blenkomuseum.org) under Husted's designer page.

Anonymous said...


Dr.BOB said...

Add my oohs and ahhhs to the group, this one is a keeper.
I shall give the photo to my fave antique dealer.

bridgett said...

Great color, unique form and design. Blenko of yesteryear.
Will the 2009 Blenko Men compete with object of art such as this?
What is new at Blenko?
Are the men allowed to be creative? If so can you publish items the individuals have created?

Anonymous said...

Katrom do you have other interesting belnko to share?

Anonymous said...

I know you dislike cut and past but these comments on the Milton WV Blog - everyone should aslos read this blog about blenko and Milton daily, interesting and different views. I felt expressed the view of most every person who comments on this blog. If not then you may all send hate mail to each other. Sue M. Here it is: This is days old but new to me. Posted: Sat Feb 28, 2009 11:48 am Post subject: History of a Failing Company


After reading every post on this subject twice, I could not help but to add some comments… I find it fascinating that no one has bothered to dissect the business model (or lack thereof) that was in place before the failure of the business five years ago. Yes, the business failed over five years ago and has been dying a slow death since.

How do I justify saying that? Let’s take a look at the facts. Bill Blenko, third generation, took over the business from his father who had built the glass company into a thriving business model. Bill Blenko had no other business experience or knowledge other than what he learned in school, the military, and working for his father along the way. Richard Blenko, fourth generation, stepped into the family business, because it was his birthright (just as it was his father’s birthright), without any business experience or knowledge other than what he learned working at Blenko. Neither of these men had done anything else in the ‘real world’ to learn about running a business or a manufacturing operation. Thus beginning the demise of the company over 20 years ago.

It is well known that Bill Blenko and Richard Blenko do not get along, or even like each other. These two men could never manage the business in a forward manner. Bill was stuck in the heyday of the old days and thought it would continue as status quo. Richard went along, undermined his father and made decisions that were ultimately counterproductive to the business as a whole. They never came together to run the business; i.e. no long range business planning or financial planning, no modernization or upkeep of facilities, no true accounting system in place, still wrote the daily numbers in a ledger book, and probably do to this day; no fiscal oversight. Where did all the money go? Apparently not back into the business.

Now, let me be clear, I am not putting down Bill Blenko or Richard Blenko. I am just stating the facts as they are. Bill Blenko was always kind to the people that worked for him and did what he could to make the men and women feel appreciated. dlrl2001 has stated this in his posts, and I agree with him.

As there was no cohesive management of the company, the business began to die a slow death. Let’s jump forward to 2005. A summary judgment is awarded to the Big Two Mile gas company by a COURT OF LAW regarding ‘a disagreement of payments due for gas used at the factory’. This judgment was for $500,000. ‘Payments due’? This means that Blenko Glass Company did not pay its bills. A company not paying its bills is called BAD BUSINESS. Instead of immediately collecting the money Ed Maier was persuaded (by Governor Manchin I heard) to hold off and let the company try and rebuild and pay back the debt. He was a decent business man and allowed this. But as any good business man does, he collects his debts, as well he should.

So now Blenko is a dying company, with no management, and no money. In their wisdom they bring in two ‘outside’ family members, Walter Blenko and one other, to invest money into the business. Over the course of three years these two men dump over a MILLION dollars apiece into the glass company. Did they pay off the judgment against the company? No. If they had paid off the debt immediately, the company might not be in the situation it is at this moment.

The family also hired on a new General Manager/CEO and a person to market and sell the architectural and antique glass side of the business. Both of these people had many years of experience in the business world outside of Blenko Glass Company. Business and marketing plans were created (maybe for the first time in company history) and the projected numbers showed that the company would post a profit between three and four years out.

The new CEO worked with Marshall University and brought in student interns to help with other facets of the business. One of those interns was Katie Trippe, who is now the Assistant Vice President of the company. When the Blenko family realized they did not have the patience or the deep pockets to see the restructure through, they fired the President of the company – Richard Blenko, the CEO, the marketing and sales guy, and the Assistant General Manager (who had been with the company for over 10 years). While Mrs. Trippe is probably intelligent, I wonder why the family chose to keep someone just out of college with no true business management experience and promote her to a position of running a large scale manufacturing company? They chose to continue down the same road as they did before with Bill Blenko and Richard Blenko; placing someone in charge that has no true business experience.

As a business person in WV that loves the products that Blenko Glass Company produces, it is hard to watch all of this transpire. But also, as a business person, I understand the value of doing GOOD BUSINESS and paying my debts. I understand the necessity to surround myself with people who are intelligent and have years of business experience. I understand the necessity to keep current with technology and have a Financial Officer handling the books of my company on a daily basis.

The Blenko family began digging their hole many years ago. They have finally reached bedrock and the hole is too deep to get out of. I do hope that they find ‘investors’ to help revive the company. But if I was going to invest my money, I would want to know that there would be experienced management in place, technology at work, and a Certified Public Accountant hired to act as CFO. But it could not continue as business as usual in any way shape or means.

The general public does not understand what has truly transpired at Blenko. People say ‘it’s a shame that this is happening, what can be done?’ If only the truth of the matter would be made public, there would be no outcry of sympathy.

Regarding the impact on the City of Milton… The flea market brings in more people to the city in a weekend than Blenko does in a week. Once upon a time the city basked in the flow of dollars that tourists coming to Blenko spent in town, but that died years and years ago. Those that think losing Blenko is going to have a huge impact on the revenue in Milton are being naive. Just as most other small towns in America have had to learn to exist in this culture of Walmart, Milton will have to do the same without the existence of Blenko Glass.