The Fenton Art Glass company was formed in 1905 by two brothers, Frank L and John W Fenton, who took over an old glassworks factory in the town of Martin’s Ferry in the state of Ohio with a view to creating the finest Art Glass in the US. To do this they initially created designs on blank pieces of glass from rival glass makers, being unable to make their own at the time. Eventually they were able to start producing their own, being unable to purchase the glass they needed elsewhere. The Fenton Glass company then moved to Williamstown, just across the Ohio river into Virginia. Here they built a brand new Fenton Glass factory and began producing their own glass again here in 1908.
Of the two brothers, the designer and decorator was Frank L, while John W took care of the business side of things. Much is said of the intial designs the brothers came up with for their Fenton Glass pieces, particularly that their influences took in such luminaries as Tiffany and a lesser known company, Steuben. Their unique and beautiful colours are thanks to an amazing glass chemist called Jacob Rosenthal, who is credited with the creation of chocolate and golden agate types of glass.
Creations & Changes
The Fenton Brothers are now credited with the creation of their most popular works, the Fenton Carnival Glass. Fenton Carnival glass pieces are now considered to be great collectors items. Later, due to a change in the world market, Fenton began selling more domestic items, including Fenton Hobnail glass works, such as perfume bottles, and moved on to using the hobnail pattern in their Fenton Hobnail Milk Glass items, a hugely popular item that catapulted Fenton into the big leagues, and ensured a continued revenue for the company.
Move forward some decades, and changes in management also brought about changes in the Fenton Art Glass company fortunes and work practices. On top of great expansion in a time when other glass factories were closing their doors, Fenton introduced it’s dating system in recognition of the collectibility of many of their items.
In recent times, the Fenton Glass co went through an era of instability, with threats of closure being cited during 2007. Clearly, Fenton hadn’t counted on the support and love for their glass works, and a buying frenzy and renaissance in Fenton Art Glass has seen the company go from strength to strength yet again.
In 2009 the current President of Fenton, George Fenton, issued a statement to the effect that there would be no closure of Fenton Glass Co in the foreseeable future. 105 years of family business, owned and run by Fentons, and still going strong!
Dave P Price is a collectible item enthusiast who has researched many different types of collectible and antique and vintage items. Currently working as a part time web administrator and part time article writer, he hopes his first foray into the article world will be a success that will bring him the confidence to continue!
Want info on decorating a glass vase with colored glass pieces?
I saw some beautiful vases and I am so eager to make them, as I have several plain glass vases which I could use to stick the different colored square and triangular pieces using a glue gun. Does anyone have a how to website that explains it, or at least a name for such a project. I don’t know what search words to use to google it
Try searching for Mosaics. 🙂
Jerome Robbins’ Glass Pieces
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