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, July 31, 2011

Husted miniatures

Hi HIllary,

Shot a few more photos over the Forth of July Holiday and wanted to share. A nice pair of Husted designed miniature vases. Blenko # 60-D (5 1/4") in Tangerine and "61 Charcoal. Picked up the Tangerine piece just a couple of weeks ago at a small shop in Dallas, TX.

Hope you enjoy,

Bruce S

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Harry Thompson

Larry Thompson sent the following information about his Father - Blenko Craftsman Harry Thompson. Harry was known as one of the best Blenko craftsmen.

Someone once said that a man was born many men but died only one. I'm not sure that I agree with that, Harry Thompson was the second born of nine children with three different last names. When he was young he loved to play baseball, but took a lot of ribbing, had a short temper, and so he got into a many fights according to his brothers and sisters.

In 1929, he was in Chicago in a boarding house, he was awakend by machine gunfire in the middle of the night. The next morning when he read the paper it told about the St. Valentines Day Masacure and he emedietly found a way to get back to Huntington.

According to the 1930 Cencus he lived in a boarding house in the west end of Huntington and worked at an unknown glass factory.

Like half a million other people, he was displaced by the 1937 flood. He went to another town to find work, to support the family and again referencing his brothers and sisters, played minor league baseball and they say he also played against Ted Williams(records show that Ted Williams played on the minor league Minisota Millers).

When Harry came back to the Huntington area, the factory he had previously had worked at had not yet been rebuilt so he went for work at Bishoff and in 1939 he went to Blenko.

Harry Thompson was a glassblower, instructor, and finally ran a handshop here in Indiana with Tom Connaly as

He was a fighter and a trainer, he trained his brother in law to a golden gloves state runner up.
He was a baseball player and a coach, he couched his oldest sons team to an undefeated season.
He was a Hunter, Fisherman, and a fishing guide in Florida, but most of all he was a husband and our father.

Larry T.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Readers Blenko Collection

Hello there!
I wanted to share some of my personal collection with you. I am a long time Blenko lover and just can'g get enough! :)
Attached are photos. I also wanted to let you know how much I enjoy reading your blog. Thanks so much for keeping the spirit of Blenko alive!
I also sell Vintage Blenko, Decorative and many other interesting items on my Etsy vintage shop Jenzee09 - http://www.etsy.com/shop/jenzee09
Great job! Best wishes!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Husted Vases

Hi Hillary,

A nice pair of Husted designed small vases. On the left is the '61 Charcoal version of Blenko's #609 (8 3/4") with a #607 (10") in Jonquil.


Bruce Specht

Friday, July 22, 2011

Glass Gathering 2011 - Westin,WV in October

Glass Gathering 2011

Photos below story

Weston, WV – The 20th Annual Glass Gathering, a meeting of glass lovers and collectors, is scheduled for October 21 and 22 at the Museum of American Glass in Weston, West Virginia. The Gathering returns to Weston every other year after alternating with other locations that offer opportunities to study glass. Such opportunities abound in West Virginia as shown in the plans for Friday, October 21, which is touted as a day of travel, discovery and glass fellowship. Attendees will visit glass artisans in Doddridge and Ritchie counties including Eddie Seese in Ellenboro, Davis Marbles in Pennsboro and Boyce Art Glass in West Union. Special features of the day include locally prepared food and digging for glass shards.

Saturday, October 22, is a day of presentations and more glass fellowship. Topics tentatively scheduled include Fry Glass, Pioneer Glass, glass insulators, and the stained glass church windows of Weston. Others topics will be announced as confirmed. There will also be time to focus on some of the favored objects from the MAG collection.

Those who have attended past Gatherings know that Dean Six, Executive Director of the Museum, puts together two jammed-packed days that are both fun and educational. Looks like 2011 will be no exception ending with the ever popular silent auction, which is always more raucous than silent, following the banquet. Auction items are both donated and purchased by attendees with the proceeds benefiting the museum. Space within the Museum limits attendance to 100 people, so mark your calendars now and be sure to watch for information on registration.

Details regarding the Glass Gathering program, registration and lodging can be found at the website for the Museum of American Glass in West Virginia at http://www.magwv.com/ or call 304-269-5006 to receive a registration form for the Gathering.

The Museum of American Glass in West Virginia is open daily Memorial Day through Labor Day noon to 4:00pm. The balance of the year the museum is open daily noon to 4:00pm and closed on Wednesday and Sunday. Admission is free. It is easily accessible off I-79 exit 99 onto US 33 West for two miles to Main Avenue. A left turn onto Main and the museum is on the left at 230 Main Avenue. Begun in 1992, the museum relocated to its present location in 2007 and occupies 12,000 square feet with over 12,000 pieces of glass on permanent display. The museum is home to the National Marble Museum and The American Flint Glass Workers Union Archives. The museum holds an annual marble festival and numerous special exhibits throughout the year. More information can be found at http://magwv.com/. Questions about programs or the museum can be directed to 304-269-5006.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Can we help this new collector?

I've recently stumbled on Blenko, and I think I'm hooked. My first piece was a 16" 2003 Sea foam colored vase I picked up at an estate sale. Then, two weeks later I ran into this piece (missing the stopper):
I've been doing some research and I've been told that it was a specialty line done by Don Shepard (signature on bottom) and also signed by W.H. Blenko. I was told it was sold through the Biltmore Estate in Asheville NC. I was wondering if you knew any other history on this piece? Was curious how many where made like this one?

Thanks for your time,

Monday, July 18, 2011

BLENKO from 1965

Can anyone tell Yvonne K of Culloden about her blenko? See photo.

This Blenko piece was given to me in 1965.

Yvonne K.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Blenko Glass

Blenko Glass is open today.
The Blenko Gift Shop is open - phone 304 743 8091.
Observation deck is not open.
The www.blenkoglass.com website / shop is open 24/7.
Buy 'new' Blenko on the Blenko Glass website and in the gift shop, is often less expensive than purchasing Blenko from vendors.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Blenko Birthday Event - Photos and Comments by Phani

A Texas Collector (Phani) was kind enough to send these photos and comments.
Thank you to everyone who allowed the photos to be taken.
Blenko Collectors enjoy being together. If you didn't come to WV for June 20th celebration this year - plan to do
so next year. The glass grows in value, you make great new friends, and who knows what wonderful stories you'll hear.
ps Thank you Phani for being our reporter in 2010 and 2011.

Top 20 for the Blenko Birthday event. These are the Blenko BD piece 2011 buyers in numerical order:

20. Randy Layneclark: Lives in Hurricane; 1st time to blenko BD event. He is getting this piece for his son.

19. George Jackson: supports his wife Brenda and made it this year with his grill. See pic attached.

18. Brenda Jackson: First time to BD event. Lives in Scott depot. Been collecting blenko for 10yrs and has over 30pieces. Lived in WV for 5yrs.

17. Larry Burley: His first BD event. Lives in Huntington, Wv.

16. Danny Dawson: his story and pic is published last year.

15. Danny Dawson's Wife: (no pic)

14. Scott Sharp

13. Cindy Sharp: was #11 last year and her husband Scott Sharp is #14 this year and #13 last year. Her story and pic along with her husband is published last year.

12. That would be me (Phani). Was on vacation and timed the event as a part of my vacation.

11. Mart Greathouse: Lives in South Charleston; he collected 9-10 BD pieces till now and been collecting Blenko for 16yrs.

10. Patty Stewart: Sis-in-law for Mary Douglas, is also #10 last year.

9. Mary Douglas: Who was I believe #9 last year as well and her story was published last year in June or July 2010. She is back this year for the BD piece.

8. Matthew McDonald: Freshman (9th grade) and from Milton, WV; first time to Blenko. His sister works at the visitor center. Its his first time to the BD event.

7. Debbie Deweese: She is a dedicated collector; She needs 1981, 1983, 1984 & 1987 Blenko BD pieces to complete her BD collection. If anyone is
interested, they can send info to Hillary or post it in the blog. She lives in Columbus, IN. She came with her Daughter last 2 yrs and now her daughter
is in Yale for College and Debbie is a proud mother.

6. Chris Shifflett: Bought a jug on yard sale and got interested in Blenko. First time to Blenko BD event.

5. James Shifflett: first time to Blenko; From Charlottesville, WV

4. Christian Kimworthy (Leslie's Husband)

3. Leslie Kimworthy (#1 last year); arrived 11:30pm 16th June with her husband Christian. Her story is
published last year. She is a fan of Blenko.

2. Ralph Borror (No pic) Pertersburg, WV; Same time as above.

1. Abbey Borror (No pic) Petersburg, WV; arrived 6pm on Thrusday 16th, June.

Arlon Bayliss came back and most of us didnt know who he was until he told us that he was the designer. He was working late that day and was just leaving and came by to greet us all and kind enough to let us take his picture. You can see couple of pics with Chris Shifflett (#6) in couple of the pictures. I asked Mr. Bayliss about the inspiration behind the colors and the design: His comments were, the colors represented WV tangerine and cobalt and the design was a tilted guitar and which represents Appalacchian music theme. He wanted it to represent a guitar but also wanted to make sure its still glass art and not just guitar itself. He said he was lucky enough to have the opportunity to design the BD glass which is unique in this country. He also came back the next morning and signed the BD cards.

Scott Sharp and Danny Dawson brought in Corn hole game to pass time at the parking lot. Couple of pics are attached. They also brought it a grill on which they made hot dogs on 17th evening and were kind enough to make b/f sausage sandwiches on English muffin's the next morning. The top 20 recognized each other from the last couple of years and had stories to share and jokes to laugh at. It was fun evening at the parking lot with ducks on the back and stars to keep us company at night.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Blenko Annual Festival of Glass Aug 5&6

4th Annual Festival of Glass
August 5-6, 2011

4th Annual Festival of Glass is a family oriented event that brings the art and skill of glass work to the public. Blenko offers a wide variety of classes for all ages and skill levels.

Have you ever wanted to blow a piece of glass? How about make a stained glass panel? Well the Festival of Glass is your chance to try your hand at what we do here at Blenko! This event is a family oriented weekend that offers a wide range of classes for every age group and skill level. Below you will find descriptions of the various classes we will be offering this year. Classes fill up early so call (877) 425-3656 to reserve your space today. Payment must be secured at time of reservation by credit card, cash or check.

To view more details and the class schedule, visit

*photo from 2008 festival of glass

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Blenko www.blenkoglass.com


How do I determine if the glass is Blenko or not Blenko ? Handmade or not handmade? Made in USA? So many questions? Help! I want to make no mistakes.

James B.


Your note made me think of the Hasidic Proverb 'One who looks for glass ( a friend) without fault will have none.' We all made and continue to make mistakes when buying glass. Things are not often as they appear ( art work by Carie Humphrey of Charleston, WV ) I'm incline to agree with a statement by Roy Adjak ' Good Art is not what it looks like but what it does to us.' Buy what you like.

My suggestions (a) purchase books, (b) visit Blenko - handle the glass, observe the weight, the style, the colors (c) join a group - a group of glass collectors (d) buy only from 'known' dealers - you didn't include an address, in the Tri State area I would immediately recommend the South Charleston Antique Store - Dreama Wood and Kissin Kate both have booths.

I'll be the first to admit I'm not an expert in Blenko or any other field - therefore I befriend and rely on people who have knowledge. Thank you for reading Heart of Glass, I hope you will check out the Blenko Project http://www.theblenkoproject.org/ to learn more about Blenko Glass - the history, the current glassworkers and for photos of Blenko Glass collections. hjh

blenko blenko blenko

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Blenko Decanter?

Readers Can we help this new collector with a year and designer for her decanter?

Hi, I came across your website while I was looking for some information about a Decanter I recently bought at an antique shop in Charleston, SC. I'm originally from Charleston, WV and spotted this decanter and knew it was Blenko! I believe the piece I have is the 587 Spool Decanter, tangerine in color. I've been searching around just trying to place a value to this piece and thought I would email you to see if you could give me any idea. Any information would be helpful! Thanks so much, Carrie

Monday, July 11, 2011

Blenko Glass 1970 - Can we help?

My brother won this reddish/orange pitcher (photo attached) in the early 1970s and asked me to see if I could find any information about it. It's about 18" and marked 'Blenko." I noticed in Mr. Rick Pulcrano's collection that he had an amber one that looked similar in design.

Thanks for your help!

Valerie S, Woodbridge, VA

Sunday, July 10, 2011

More Myers

Hi Hillary,
A couple of Myers designed hexagon bottles from '66. Blenko #6613 in Turquoise and Tangerine (16 5/8").


Saturday, July 09, 2011

Blenko Myer's 705

Hi Doc,
Just wanted to share this shot of three Myer's designed 705's. From left to right the colors are Charcoal, Turquoise, and Olive Green. I need to break out some flowers to add a little more color to the shot but Kayla hasn't been out picking in the yard lately. Maybe next week after school dismisses for the summer.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Is It Blenko? www.blenkoglass.com, www.blenkoproject.org

Help! I'm bidding at the local goodwill for this. I think its blenko will

you confirm that it is? Allowing me to play a higher bid.

Thank you.
Thank you for writing - looking at the bottom I can definitely say it was handcrafted as appears to be Blenko.
Wishing you luck with the bidding.
HJH blenko.blenko.blenko.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Sad News from Fenton Glass

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Hand-blown glass maker Fenton Art Glass Co. says it is shutting down its traditional glassmaking business.

The company, based in Williamstown near the Ohio River, has struggled with rising costs, competition and the sluggish economy. It has furloughed workers several times and in 2007 was on the brink of closing.

It said Wednesday it will soon shut down its main furnace and over the next few months it will be finishing existing glassware from its inventory.

Company president George Fenton says most of his employees will lose their jobs. The company is exploring the sale of one or more product lines.

The Fenton Gift Shop, which operates separately, will re-evaluate its future once it sells through its existing inventory.

from Charleston Daily Mail

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Blenko Glass - water bottle

Hillary, Recently at Blenko I bought a water bottle that had strange lines, the price was $25 (blenko gift shop) I saw no other like it. The lines made rectangles and diamonds. Is this rare? GS
GS From your description - perhaps you bought a Blenko water bottle in the new diamond optic - below are photos of diamond optic water bottles in the colors currently available at http://www.blenkoglass.com/. While the water bottle isn't rare - the price you paid was very low. hjh
Water bottles are a fun and inexpensive way to enjoy Blenko handcrafted Glass. hjh blenko. blenko. blenko.

Festival of Glass information

Note from Christy at Blenko

saying: Check out the blenko glass website for information on Festival of Glass.

More info will be added to website daily.

I apologize for the brief note but I'm posting verbatim what I was given.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Blenko Boot?

Reader Mike found this boot / shoe that he believes to be Blenko Glass. Comments?
Note: I have a crystal bootie made by Jessie Carpenter ( baby bootie very small)
in honor of the birth of a co worker. I'll upload photo this week -
If you have knowledge of this item please either comment or write to theblenkoproject@aol.com.
Thank you

i thought this might be a one of a kind piece
and maybe you would like to see it -
let me know if you have any thoughts - thanks , mike

Sunday, July 03, 2011

JPM - For Blenko? What's the # for this design?

Hi Hillary,
A nice grouping of Joel Phillip Myers Specialty Line pieces. I do not have the numbers for these designs. Maybe one of our more scholarly readers will be able to assist.
Bruce, While I don't know the #s I do know two very similar pieces were owned by Governor Arch Moore a gift from Blenko Glass. Another vase similar to those in photo is on display at Blenko Glass - a gift from WH Blenko.

Can you help Bruce ID these pieces?

Saturday, July 02, 2011

July 4th

Are you gearing up for the July 4th holiday?

Red White & Blue everywhere!

Its a West Virginia tradition to visit the Arts n Craft fair near Ripley, WVa. Each year for some 26 years my parents and I go for the day, its great fun to see the new crafts and visit a more rural part of our beautiful state. The Appalachian Glass Co yearly has hands on glass blowing events - take your children - Chip will often allow them to blow glass.

Fiddle music, funnel cakes, square dancing, booths with hand made belts, purses, quilts, photos. One can find most anything at the Arts n Craft Fair.

Each year we buy 6 bags of stone ground cornmeal - freeze 5 for use later and immediately have fried green tomatoes using the stone ground cornmeal.

Visit http://www.blenkoglass.com/ today and purchase red / white and blue tableware to be prepared for the month of July. We use our red - white - blue again in Sept for Labor Day, then use the Red at Christmas and Valentines' Day. When you purchase hand crafted glass you're making a long term investment. The glass you buy today you'll be using to serve your grandchildren 20 years down the road. Blenko Glass handcrafted in West Virginia by West Virginia craftsmen.


blenko . blenko. blenko.

Red - White - Blue

July 4th - you'll find everything you need for table scape at Blenko Glass.
www.blenkoglass.com with over night shipping you might just have the red - white - and blue
before July 4th.
Everything but the fireworks can be obtained at Blenko Glass.

Friday, July 01, 2011


Hi Doc,
Sending on a few more shots from this week. A nice couple of Don Shepherd designed decanters from his "Barnwood" series. The smaller is a #7915 S (10") with it's big brother a #7915 L (16"). The color is Wheat. Our collection also includes the square jug in Wheat. The jug and smaller decanter were found in small antique shops in our travels and the larger one is a new addition from "Ruby Lane", an online antique store.