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.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The bad news is Blenko filed Chapter 11 on Thursday morning.

The good news is Blenko filed Chapter 11 on Thursday morning. Blenko will be protected from its creditors and allowed to reorganize.

Katie Trippe told me in a conversation on Thursday that
"Blenko sales were consistently improving, Blenko is again being offered in a number of major department stores. Blenko Glass is struggling but alive and well and this is just the beginning of a new and better phase. Blenko Glass is doing great! "

In essence everyone who left messages on my voice mail said, " What can we do to help? Will they cancel the June WV Birthday event? Will there be a layoff?

Will they be open for observation of glass making? What does Chapter 11 mean?How do you feel about this? Were you surprised? How will this affect the community?

The answers are:
You can help by purchasing more Blenko directly from Blenko Glass http://www.blenkoglass.com/. Tell your friends about Blenko! If you live out of state

encourage your friends to see your collection and to visit the Blenko Glass website and other websites devoted to Blenko. ( http://www.blenkoproject.org/). Give gifts made only in the USA. Let your circle of friends know you buy only made in USA.

BLENKO is NOT laying off anyone. The WV Birthday Event will take place as scheduled. This event is a money maker for Blenko - They sell all the vases in less than 2 hours. Immediate turn over! If you haven't made a flight reservation or hotel reservation and need help with logistics email theblenkoproject@aol.com and I'll send info.

Observation deck will be open - schedule is located on the http://www.blenkoglass.com/ website or phone 304 743 9081 .

We were not surprised by the decision to file Chapter 11 - we were surprised by the Judge's rulings prior to the Chapter 11. 7 years ago I started The Blenko Project as I felt Blenko Glass was a state treasure and could very easily be out of business in another year. So I can't say I'm surprised. I was sad initially to hear of the Chapter 11 filing. Later upon reflection I realize this is an opporutnity for Blenko . Blenko Glass is made up of families - the men and women who work at Blenko are 2nd and 3rd generation Blenko Glass. The 49 individuals who work at Blenko Glass all feel as if Blenko Glass is a part of their family. The truth is Blenko would not be alive and well if it were not for the dedication of these workers. Blenko Glass workers are skilled craftsmen, they are also West Virginian they work hard, play hard and live a life devoted to work and family.

Blenko most definitely has an affect on the community, the state and the nation. Yearly thousands of out of state folks visit Blenko Glass. 75% of the blog readers live out side of WV.

If Blenko were to stop making glass it would definitely have a negative impact on the City of Nitro, the State of West Virginia .

The good news is

Blenko Glass is open for business - Blenko Glass remains OPEN for Business and Blenko Glass will be open for business years from now.

This week if you do nothing else - Order one Blenko Glass item ask them when you phone or email the order to include a History Of Blenko and also a brochure then give your glass item to a coworker, your boss or someone special.

Giving Blenko is giving a gift of Love.

Photo: Hour Glass made by Blenko Glass thought to be made in the late 60s. photo from the collection of Dr. Salton


sourabh said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

who is Dr. Salton?


Anonymous said...

We all would like to buy this one.
Very nice hour glass.
Last one I saw was on sale for $1,200 in an antique mall.
Needless to say I walked away.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Dr Salton for the photo.
Collectors we should be sending photos to Glassdoc.
My excuse is all my glass is new, I started buying in 2007.
More photos from readers please Glassdoc post photos.

Dr.BOB said...

I've sold glass on ebay to
Dr Salton several time, no actual meeting. Last time was 14 months ago.
The address said Public Health Corp / Med Unit
Hope this helps.

Dr.BOB said...

you didn't mention Blenko management. I've heard you say " Katie is my age, Katie is very brave," and you "admire her willingness to take on the Blenko role" will she continue to lead during the reorganization?
Inquiring minds want to know.
No layoffs? Are the 20 glass workers left working full time?
Can you provide a list of jobs title and number of employees in each job?

Dr.BOB said...

sourabh are you new to glass?

Dr.BOB said...

Effect? or affect?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I also seem to recall Rick Blenko speaking of Chapter 11 during a Blenko Collector meeting
4 or 5 years maybe longer ago.
Many corporations return from Chapter 11 - Think Chrysler ( right?)
We should follow hilary's suggestion and purchase new Blenko.
I'm waiting for Bayliss' 2011 designs. While I know most of you love the re issues I prefer new designs and to buy original vintage.
My best wishes to the Blenko family and to our Blenko collector friends?
Has anyone spoken to Mr. Bill Blenko?
No one is to blame, bigger companies have been failing right and left " its the economy".

Anonymous said...

why don't I get a byline when I send photos?

Anonymous said...

UPDATE 4/1/11
MILTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Blenko Glass in Milton says that a creditor, Big Two Mile Gas, has “garnished and emptied” the company’s bank accounts.

According to Katie Trippe, the company vice-president, the action goes back to a dispute over billings and charges for gas supplied to Blenko by Big Two Mile.

Trippe says Big Two Mile did the same thing just over two years ago and that nearly caused the company to collapse at that time.

In March 2009, WSAZ.com reported that Blenko owed the gas company $700,000.

Trippe said Friday that 13 of the 49 company employees were laid off this week, and another 28 will be laid off next week.

Trippe goes on to say that following the action of two years ago, Blenko representatives met with representatives of Big Two Mile and proposed that the companies enter into mediation in an effort to resolve the problem.

Trippe says a lawyer in Charleston was selected as the mediator.

She says a number of meetings have taken place since then, and that in each of those meetings the Blenko representative stated the condition of the company.

Trippe added that she hopes Blenko can continue to operate and become profitable.

Blenko halted production for six weeks in 2009 due to the gas issue
Hillary you are a liar
you said No Lay offs.
tsk tsk tsk
copy and pasted the newspaper for you
Katie Tripp said Layoffs.

Anonymous said...

??? Will Blenko have the Birthday event?
Will we be able to see the glass before end of month?
Paul J

Anonymous said...

Affect is correct Dr Bob

Anonymous said...

OMG Today my husband discovered I own at least one of each Blenko glass item that Damon Crain labeled Iconic Blenko items.
Credit cards are now in the freezer.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

I won't be attending the Glass Festival or Birthday Event this year.
Combination of professional responsibilities and health issues.
Please post lots of photos from the event.
My thoughts are this will be the last of the Birthday Events!
Any other negative thinkers?
Last year 4 Italian glass makers closed their doors, and its my understanding many are in financial trouble. This is a global problem.
To blame the young management team is evil - Blenko had financial problems before their birth.

Anonymous said...

work hard

play hard

= West Virginia.

I thought this
was WVU only.

Anonymous said...

Is anybody really surprised by this?

Anonymous said...

i refuse to purchase any more Blenko before you agree
to have coffee or lunch with me.

Anonymous said...

The company estimates its assets at $500,000 to $1 million, and liabilities at $1 million to $10 million.

Homburg said Blenko's financial problems have intensified because the company hasn't invested money to improve its plant. For instance, the factory continues to use old gas ovens. Newer electric ovens would lower production costs while still producing high-quality glass products, Homburg said.

"It's been years and years of not spending money and upgrading equipment," she said.

The Blenko family also has shown reluctance to pursue state government grants and low-interest loans to raise capital and turn the factory around, Homburg said.

"It's a family-run company, and they are a proud family," Homburg said. "I'm sure the Chapter 11 bankruptcy has been very tough on them."

Blenko's financial struggles haven't hurt the company's sales, Homburg said.

"It's not a sales problem," she said. "Their sales are up. I'm optimistic they will survive."

Hey Glassdoc you are in the other newspaper. Elle

Anonymous said...

name one other glass company to
go under in the last 5 years.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Bob
Get a life and stop
trying to micro manage

Anonymous said...

i know for a fact they turned down help from the state about 10 years ago. Dave

Anonymous said...

that is one ugly photo

Anonymous said...

Sol my dear buddy Sol
My best guess is you will never
again buy Blenko.
Paul J.

Anonymous said...

When was it manchin came to Blenko?
Wasn't this to help?
Maybe 5 or 6 years ago.
What gives with these people?

Anonymous said...

yes Jeanie,
they wanted to give them money, this was for physical improvement of the plant also another program for tourism promotions. the only thing is they had to keep close records and account for all the spending.

Anonymous said...

I saw Don Lemley at Rick Blenko's house the other day. I wish those guys would open a new glass place. They can run a glass factory. They could when I worked there.
"Milton Resident"

DrAnnu said...

Everyone is in financial difficulty
Our local power company cut salaried employees by 25%
and the Symphony is filing Chapter 11.
Blenko Glass is not an essential for life product.
Sorry for the loss.

Anonymous said...

Is this item being offer for sale?

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

A good number of your readers
are over 60 and I thought learning about meditation would be good for them and those of us under stress and under 30...

Anonymous said...

I ordered
and I'll reorder.
Keep up the good karma for Blenko.

Anonymous said...

In response to A - who left the comment about good karma- will you not come to Cleveland my dear? Assuming A is Annu

Blenko Blenko Blenko

Anonymous said...

Milton Residents who keep taps on one another?
Hilary you suggest Blenko is Mayberry with streets of friendship.
Do you Hilary know Milton?
Just wondering?
Also to Milton Resident I would imagine most people who work together for 25 _ years become friends and visit.
Get a life there in Milton.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Milton is Peyton Place
wanna know who sleeps with ...anyone?
Well listen as you have bkft at the dinner or Tudors and you'll surely hear.
Gossip Gossip
what was Blenko thinking when he settled there?