When William J. Blenko came to the United States from England in 1893, his vision was to produce and sell American-made "antique" (mouth-blown) flat glass instead of having it imported from Europe. After a few failed ventures, he started The Eureka Glass Company in 1921 and produced stained glass from its Milton, West Virginia glassmaking facility until the Depression. Struggling to stay afloat, Blenko switched his product line to glass tableware, and in 1930, Eureka became Blenko.

Before Blenko employed designers, it had expert finishers on its staff. The first artisans hired for these important positions were Axel Muller and Louis Miller, a pair of Swedish glassblowers who had the background in stemware that Blenko and his son, who joined his father in 1923, lacked. Blenko’s output from the pre-war years is characteristically clean and spare. Its footed goblets and tumblers were uniform in color and simply proportioned. Even the stems were straightforward, though elegant in a casual, distinctly American sort of way.

As the 1930s progressed, Blenko's pieces got a bit fancier. A clear iced-tea glass, for example, would have a colored glass leaf on its outside surface, while dusty-green highball glasses were sometimes wrapped with threads of vivid red. These objects, as well as Blenko’s candleholders, rolled-rim plates, and crackle-body decanters, caught the eye of the folks running Colonial Williamsburg. In 1933, Blenko became the exclusive manufacturer of table and stemware for the historic site.

By the end of the decade, Blenko was also producing amphoras and vases. A new shop foreman named Carl Ebert Erickson had now joined the company. Blenko's line of "Heavy Swedish Type Vases," which have been attributed to Erickson, gave the company its identity just before the war.

After World War II, Winslow Anderson took the company’s design reins. He introduced indented vases of various sizes and colors, bent-neck cruets, and slender, flat-bottom decanters with teardrop stoppers. Anderson laid the groundwork for one of Blenko’s most influential designers, Wayne Husted, who was with the company from 1953 until 1963. During that decade, Husted pushed both forms and color to bring Blenko into step with the prevailing Mid-century Modern aesthetic.

Of particular interest are Husted’s wedge-cut decanters, portrait vases, the Echoes series from the late 1950s, and the Spool decanters, which recall Brancusi’s "Endless Column." In fact, decanters and vertical pieces became something of a Blenko trademark during this period—some pieces stood three feet tall.

In the mid-to-late 1960s, Joel Philip Myers, who is now a well-known artist in his own right, designed for Blenko, injecting the company’s sensibility with humor and whimsy. Especially charming are some of the clear decanters with green or turquoise spouts and stoppers, the lovely coiled and mushroom pieces, and the decanters with cowboy hats and longhorn skulls for stoppers...

One of the tricks about collecting Blenko is to know how to identify the company’s marks since most of its pieces are not signed. The exceptions to this rule are the engraved signatures on the bottoms of pieces in 1958, the sandblasted Wayne Husted-designed logo used between 1958 and 1961, and the pieces signed "Blenko Joel Philip Myers," which grace the bottoms of products made for Gump’s in 1964.

Instead, the company practice has been to affix a foil, hand-shaped label to its pieces with the words "BLENKO HANDCRAFT" on it—paper was substituted during World War II. This label was used from the 1930s through 1982. A different paper label of a stylized Blenko glassblower was glued to the Raindrop, Regal, and Rialto Specialty Lines in 1960 and 1961.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Blenko Museum

Blenko Museum

This beautiful and easy-to-navigate website on Blenko art glass includes a detailed history on the company, informa… [read review or visit site]

Loetz.com

Loetz.com

This fabulous site is a guide to Bohemian art glass makers from 1885 to 1920. Loetz was the premier Bohemian glass … [read review or visit site]

Cloud Glass Reference Site

Cloud Glass Reference Site

Chris and Val Stewart’s impressive attempt to create a complete catalogue of all known cloud glass, a decorative … [read review or visit site]

Antique Glass Salt and Sugar Shaker Club

Antique Glass Salt and Sugar Shaker Club

The heart of this website, home of the Antique Glass Salt and Sugar Shaker Club, is the Identification Project, whe… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Blenco Pink DecanterVery Large Vintage #6138 Blenko Olive Bottle With Huge Stopper By Wayne HustedNew 2014 Blenko Handblown Glass Optic Pumpkin In Honey, Sticker & SignedBlenko 561 Wayne Husted Large Green Decanter With Stopper Tall (over 24") Blenko Crackle Glass Narrow Decanter, Catalog #628s1962 - 65 Vintage Blenko Turquoise Blue Crackle Glass Decanter 627l Wayne HustedVintage Emerald Green Blenko Blown Art Glass Wide Collar Flat Top Ball Vase 6"Vtg Blenko Winslow Anderson Glass Pouch Huge Vase 50's Mod Amethyst PurpleVintage Blenko Bumpy Decanter In Tangerine, Catalog Number 6310, 1963, EcBlenko Water Bottle - Very Limited Gorgeous Light Blue & Burnt Orange FritBlenko Glass 1985 West Virginia Birthday Piece - Signed And Numbered- Limited!Vintage Blenko Don Shepherd 828 M 9" Balloon Swirl American Art Glass Ball VaseNew 2014 Blenko Handblown Glass Pumpkin In Dreamsicle, Sticker & SignedVintage Blenko Hand Blown Glass Decanter Amethyst Mulberry Purple Mid CenturyVintage Blenko Green Art Glass Fish Vase / Sculpture Vintage Blenko Pitcher 578 Charcoal14 Kanawha Blenko American Studio Art Glass Tumblers Pinched Tangerine Orange Lot Four Vintage Modernist Crystal Glass Owls Blenko Bookends Austria Sweden YqzVintage Blenko American Art Glass Amethyst Purple Indented Pinched Decanter # 49New 2014 Blenko Handblown Glass Pumpkin In Optic Yellow/ Amber, Sticker & SignedBlenko 384 Water Bottle In Tangerine, Signed, Sticker, Very Rich ColorVery Scarce Blenko Person Amber Optic Art Glass Decanter No ReserveBlenko Glass 1960's Sea Green Flower Shaped Large Salad Bowl & 3 Small Bowls SetVintage Blenko Glass Handblown Elephant Figure / Paperweight, TurquoiseVintage Rainbow Handblown Glass Strawberry Paperweight In Ruby W/ Green Stem Great Pair Of Vintage Blenko Blown Glass Pieces...decanter And Squat VaseVintage Blenko Green Glass Owl Bookend Blenko Wayne Husted Honey Vase Crackeld Vintage Blenko Crackle Glass Vase 9-1/2"Blenko Handblown Glass Cat Paperweight In TagerineCoral Blenko Water Bottle - Rare Color - Made For Only A Short Time In 2013Blenko #971l 20-1/2" Architectural Blue Fish Vase With Original LabelBlenko Green Crackle Glass Decanter Teardrop Stopper 14 1/2 TallVintage Mid-century Olive Green Blenko Art Glass Decanter #49 Hand Blown PinchedSigned 2002 Blenko 384 Water Bottle In Seabreeze W/ Sticker Huge Vtg 60s Mid Century Blenko Wayne Husted Art Glass Genie Floor Decanter 43"Blenko Handcraft Large 23" Tall DecanterBeautiful Ruby 4 Spout Mini Blenko Water Bottle!Vintage Blenko Or Rainbow Teardrop Stopper In Tangerine, 6 Inches, Non GroundVintage Pilgrim Glass Handblown Designer Fish In Orange, Mid Century, Blenko EraBeautiful New Blenko 384 Water Bottle In Clover Green, Signed, StickerBeautiful Blenko Handblown 9 Inch Christmas Tree In Tangerine, Sticker Blenko 12 Oz Pinched Tumblers Hand Blown Cobalt/ Blue Set Of Six Beautiful Blenko 384 Water Bottle In Cobalt Blue, Signed, StickerVintage Blenko Art Glass Amethyst,purple Double Spout Carafe-nice!-l@@k!Blenko Hand Made Crackle Finish Bud Vase 5Blenko 384 Water Bottle In Tangerine, Signed, Sticker, Very Rich Color,2Blenko Handblown Mold Blown Display Sign In TopazVintage Set Of 5 Blenko 18 Oz. Tumblers Blue Crinkle Glass Pinched Dimpled 6"h Blenko 2017 Dark Amethyst Vase With Original Ball Label1960s 70s Vintage Blenko Large Cylinder Vase Tangerine Amberina Modern Glass N/rBlenko Amberina Frog PaperweightVintage Blenko Glass Amberina Water Bottle Blenko 8oz Pinched Tumblers Hand Blown Cobalt/ Blue Set 2 Blenko Glass Older Dark Green Apple Paper Weight Estate Mint Condition Vintage Blenko Glass Handblown Rabbit Figure, Mid Century, GreenGreen Glass "rainbow" Premim Decanter Liquor Whiskey Bar Man Cave Blenko ? Blenko Angel Painted Vase Original By Patty Wolford ArtroxNice Blenko Mid-century Modern Large Hand Blown Studio Glass Clear Fish Eames ErLarge Vintage Emerald Green Optic Melon Glass Pitcher Jug Blenko Handblown

Recent News: Blenko Art Glass

Source: Google News

Festivals, leaf peeping top free W.Va. events
Kankakee Daily Journal, September 17th

The Shay No. 11 train makes its way up the tracks taking passengers on a scenic ride at Cass Scenic Railroad State Park in Cass, W.Va. Brilliant foliage can be seen all over West Virginia in autumn, with leaf-peeping and scenic drives one of a number...Read more

5 free things to do in West Virginia in the fall
Houston Chronicle, September 16th

Free tours are offered at the Blenko glass factory in Milton and the Homer Laughlin China Co. factory in Newell. Blenko has been making hand-blown products since 1893, including glass for the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Homer Laughlin, ...Read more

Blenko photos, oral histories sought
Huntington Herald Dispatch, September 14th

The Blenko Project, www.blenkoproject.org, is a nonprofit group that focuses on archiving Blenko Glass and preserving the history of Blenko Glass, the craftsmen and the designers. It was founded by Dr. Hillary Homburg, a Charleston dentist, in 2006...Read more

Festivals, leaf peeping top free West Virginia events
The Daily News Online, September 13th

Free tours are offered at the Blenko glass factory in Milton and the Homer Laughlin China Co. factory in Newell. Blenko has been making hand-blown products since 1893, including glass for the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. Homer Laughlin, ...Read more

Chilifest champs punch tickets for national competition
Huntington Herald Dispatch, September 10th

Cooking up ICS Red (no beans), as well Chili Verde (green chili) and salsa, the cooks battle on their portable stoves for more than $3,000 in prizes including $1,500 and the WV Grand Champion Blenko Glass trophy for ICS Red, $700 and the Blenko trophy ...Read more

Request from North Huntingdon automotive dealership prompts debate on ...
Tribune-Review, September 10th

“I was particularly concerned about the curbing along the eastern edge of the site adjacent to Buttermilk Hollow Road because if storm water is not captured and routed into the detention tank at that point it's left the site,” Blenko told commissioners...Read more

Art auction promotes local artists and benefits the HCW Animal Shelter
Huntington Herald Dispatch, September 4th

"Several Shelter supporters have donated Blenko and Pilgrim glassware as well as artwork. We have originals and prints. We offer watercolors, oils, pottery, sculpture, an amazing clock, wearables, autographed books and more." Contributing local artists ...Read more

Chilifest heating things up in Lincoln County
Huntington Herald Dispatch, August 21st

I've got a little change in my pocket going jing-a-ling-a-ling. Do you really? Well, have we got the festival for you. Just a short drive for anyone in the Huntington or Charleston area, Hamlin, over in Lincoln County is throwing some heat into the...Read more