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, May 29, 2009

Blenko Bells?

Mrs. Taylor I attempted by email to ask for photos - the spam blocker returned my email - please send photos of the bells.
hillary, damon crain of the blenko museum suggested i write to you about some blenko pieces belonging to my late mother. i am hoping you can play 'detective' for me and uncover any additional information about them.

in the 1940's my mother was a founder of a local garden club and in time became a nationally accredited flower show judge, both for flower arrangements and horticultural specimens, principally narcissus. as a exhibitor, she preferred to do table arrangements and often entered that category which would always be on an assigned theme, for example a wedding table to be set up with appropriate linens, china, flatware, glassware and a flower arrangement denoting the theme. in the late 1940's or very early 1950's, i believe, she went to milton and asked to have a series of clear glass bells made to be used on a wedding table exhibit. it is my understanding that she designed the bells, specified their graduated sizes and that they could not have a 'clapper.' she intended to use the series of six bells, two of each size, arranged in a long pattern, the two largest back-to-back facing outward, the medium sized next to the largest and the smallest two at each end of the pattern. she would then put increasingly smaller flower arrangements tucked inside each bell.
as a child i was told that blenko agreed to make the bells for my mother, had made an additional set for the company and then destroyed the 'molds.' i've no idea if these bells were blown or in some manner molds were made to produce them. the glass is fairly thin, some have a very few scattered small bubbles and each bell has a glass 'loop' at the top, though one has been broken off that easily could be replaced. otherwise they are in excellent condition.
over time these glass bells were used at a number of wedding receptions, but have been packed away for 30 or more years. i have never seen anything like them and have no way of verifying the manner in which they were manufactured, if the company set of bells still exists, or what the value might be for the set.
i am at a loss as to who to turn to who might be knowledgeable enough to help. obviously these bells were not mass produced, appear in no catalogs, and are now of an age where the identity of the artisan who made them likely will be forever lost.
thank you for any assistance you might be able to give me.
martha taylor


Anonymous said...

Blenko did make bells with clappers I will send photo.

Hillary J Homburg said...

Ms Taylor
I spoke with Shorty Finley today, he informed me Blenko made a number of bells from 1950 to 79 with and without clappers - he doesn't recall a mold, but when you send the photos he will ask Charlie Chapman and Wes Lomack if they have knowledge of your bells.

Anonymous said...

I have 3 blenko glass bells bought at the Factory when the workers could sell their own products in the back. Think I paid $4 each.
Margie Hale

Anonymous said...

Blenko did make bells. I have 2 bells they have handles and a clapper and are of colored glass both were made by blenko in the 60s and given to my father in gratitude for services he provided as a physician to the worker.