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Blenko Glass Company History
Blenko Glass Company History

Blenko Glass Company History
BLENKO GLASS COMPANY, Milton, W. Va. (1921 to the present).

This company was founded by William Blenko to manufacture stained glass. One of his earlier factories, established in Kokomo, Indiana, in 1893 had failed after little more than ten years, due to a reluctance on the part of buyers to purchase American stained glass, which was believed to be inferior to the English or European product. Subsequent factories in Point Marion, Pennsylvania, and Clarksburg, West Virginia, were even less successful, though Blenko received plaudits for the quality of his glass. At 67, in 1921, after working for several other glass companies, he decided to try once again to make glass on his own. Although orders were initially slow to come in, eventually the new factory, called Eureka Art Glass, was able to establish itself as one of the finest manufacturers of stained glass in the world, a reputation they still enjoy today.

The fortunes of Blenko remained precarious throughout the 1920s, however, and they were seriously threatened by the stock market crash of 1929, when new construction - and, therefore, orders for stained glass - ground to an almost complete halt. It was at this time that the company expanded production to include decorative glassware, mostly blown pieces in the brilliant colors developed for the company's stained glass production. The company became known as the Blenko Glass Company in 1930. In 1936, they were authorized by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation to make exclusive reproductions of glassware found at Williamsburg, a partnership that continued for many years. Throughout the 1940s they adapted many traditional glassmaking techniques, such as the use of prunts and applied threads of glass, to modern shapes.

In 1946, Blenko hired Winslow Anderson , who designed all of the company's new patterns until his departure in 1952. From 1952 to 1963, Wayne Husted was the designer, followed by Joel Myers, from 1963 to 1972. John Nickerson (1970‑1974) and Donald Shepherd (1975‑1988) were the next designers to be associated with the firm, followed by Hank Adams (1988‑1994), Chris Gibbons (1994‑1995) and Matt Carter, who currently fills that position. Blenko is still active today, one of the few surviving hand‑made glass factories in the United States. Four generations of the Blenko family have been actively involved in the business to date.

? From The Glass Candlestick Book, volume 1, by Tom Felt, Rich & Elaine Stoer (reprinted with permission)
Date: 28.04.2007 22:57
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Added by: Tom Felt

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