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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, October 30, 2009

Harry Thompson - Glass Worker From West Virginia


Why Did Harry Thompson leave Blenko, and what was his life like after - this was the most often ask ' Harry question' in my mail box . Today Harry's Son Larry Thompson writes about Harry's life. Larry also sent these photos from his collection of Harry's work. I'll post the other two later - Blogger is having difficulty with photos this day.

DR. Hillary, Many readers have asked why Harry Thompson (my Dad) left Blenko and what he did afterwards. I n the summer of 1966 a man came to our house named Jules Schanga from the head company of Indiana Glass, I watched them talk and saw Harry shake his head in the negative several times in the conversation. the next two times they met I wasn't able to watch them but the end result was that Harry was offered a 50% increase in pay and they would pay to move us to Indiana so that Harry could set up the handcraft shop and run it. Harry was also asked to find workers for the hand shop. Harry told me that he did not wont to personally talk to the Blenko men that he wanted because he did not want to influence their decision to move so he put typed notes on the cars of the workers he would to work with that read (meet me at the dodropin, something important) and Mr Schanga met the men that showed up. These men never new that Harry was involved until there first day of when they were told that they would meet there Forman. When they rounded the corner into the hand shop there stood Harry. They greeted like long lost brothers. The first items the made were from the old Bichoff molds. Harry wanted to make some fancy stemware but they would not make a good cristal fore him. Tom Connely and Harry worked on the GFC line. I was in the Service 1969 to 1971 so I dont know all the details but Harry had to get a halve a dozen people to agree on any thing he suggested, and when Virginia was diagnosed with Cancer he did not wont to argue with them any more so he went th work at Sinclair Glass in Hartford City In. Virginia passed away in 1972. Harry remarried in 1976 , retired, moved to Okachobee Fl. where he became a fishing guide and was an acquaintance of Rolan Martin. Harry passed on the day before fathers day 1999. Here are some of the first items made at Indiana Glass Hand shop.

Thank to all Larry T.

Hearing about and from Blenko Glass workersm learning their stories is one of my favorite activities and we're preserving the history of Glass Making in West Virginia.

Have a story to share about Glass making in West Virginia? Know a retired glass worker whose story should be told email me: theblenkoglassproject@aol.com HJH

10 comments:

annu said...

The taller bottle looks like a Husted design? Is it.

annu said...

Glassdoc
I noticed the Blenko Forum/Blenko
hosted by Blenko has been raided multiple times by spam and is very
stale. Does this mean Blenko has an awakening re: the depth of time committment involved in a daily blog? Perhaps this will result in more photos and co ordination of info from Blenko to Heart of Glass?
One can only hope for positive outcomes.
Thank you for my weekly Blenko
fix. One of my three addictions - all positive addictions.
Long live Blenko Glass. Long live made in the USA. Long Live . .. .

Anonymous said...

is the stopper original?

Anonymous said...

Hilary
Should I get the new flu
shot? HN1?
They are giving this one at my senior center, we have taken the regular flu shot in oct.
Margie Hale

Anonymous said...

Annu
Read the d___ post. The man said his father designed and made the item at Indiana Glass.
Great job he did. Blenko lost some wonderful men to Indiana Glass, Mr. Thompson can you tell us about the other men?
Sol

westvirginiajanis said...

Thank you Hillary and Thompson family for sharing this story. It is so important to have these stories and to know just exactly what influences in glass production came from where. From this story we learn that WV Glassworkers really influenced production in other states as well! We also learn that while the Blenkos were easy going about giving their blowers and designers free reign to create, other companies got stuck in the bureaucracy of it all. I love Harry Thompson's integrity about not influencing workers and the brotherhood they felt when they reunited. All very touching. What a way to start Friday!

WV Janis

Anonymous said...

More Harry stories please.
Ted E.

Anonymous said...

harry thompson my great grandfather (i'm larry's grandaughter) was a fine glass maker and made many beautiful pieces .i have heard many stories about him .me and my grampa and grandma have collect many of his peices over the years .you should how happy larry is each time a piece arrives but he is very upset when its chiped or broken

Kylee Thompson

p.s. larry loves to here your comments about the storys

Anonymous said...

harry thompson my great grandfather (i'm larry's grandaughter) was a fine glass maker and made many beautiful pieces .i have heard many stories about him .me and my grampa and grandma have collect many of his peices over the years .you should how happy larry is each time a piece arrives but he is very upset when its chiped or broken

Kylee Thompson

p.s. larry loves to here your comments about the storys

Dr.BOB said...

Hilary
We love this story.
Please continue to do research and pass on the information.