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”)



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    

Rare Undamaged Husted Charcoal Decanter Blenko Art Glass Huge Mid Century ModernRare 20" Tall Blenko Tiered Blue Glass Bottle With Stopper And Label - MintRare Blenko Flat Top Rim Bubble Lines On Neck Smokey Green Husted Bottle VaseBlenko Azure Blue Hand Blown Glass Decanter Vase Vintage Bottle With StopperVintage Playboy Bunny Blenko Art Glass Decanter Joel Myers Rabbit Ears Blenko Blue Glass Large DecanterVintage Blenko Peacock Color Art Glass Decanter With StopperBlenko Husted Purple Handled Huge Glass Pitcher #6030 Eames EraBlenko Long Stretched Neck Vaseline Yellow Myers Glass Vase Wow3 Vtg 1960's Mcm Blenko Gold Blue & Purple Crackle Glass Decanter Bottles SetVintage Blenko Chess Piece Stopper Only Amberina Art Glass 5.5" Tall FinialVintage Blenko Glass Amberina 7 3/4" Decanter #708 Tangerine Red Orange YellowRare Blenko Handblown Glass Limited Ed. Violin Vase In Kiwi Fade Sticker, SignedVtg 1960's Mcm Blenko Rose Pink Crackle Glass Decanter Bottle & StopperVintage Blenko? Blue Glass Ball 2-3/16" Decanter StopperNew Blenko 2 Spout Miniature 384 Water Bottle In Pink Ice, Rare, WowNew Blenko 2 Spout Miniature 384 Water Bottle In Pink Ice, Rare, Last OneVintage Blenko Rams Head Stopper For Blenko 7050 Decanter, RareBlenko Bowl - Vtg Blenko Yellow Gold 537 With Sticker Label - Mcm Anderson GlassBeautiful Blenko 2 Spout 384 Water Bottle In Bermuda Blue, Signed, StickerVintage Viking Handmade Glass Table Lighter In Blue Original Sticker, Blenko EraVery Rare Vintage Mid-century Etched Bottom Blenko Glass Flared Vase/compoteNew Blenko Handblown 6812-v Textured Vase In Cobalt Blue, SignedBlenko Handcrafted 9 Inch High Green Bottle VaseBlenko Water Container Pitcher Bottle Blue Green/teal With Original TagVtg Blenko Pinched TumblersBlenko Glass Double Spout Water Pitcher Light Blue Decanter Vase Decoration 8" C1958 Blenko Bubble Water Bottle~~amethyst W/early Mark3 Vtg 1960's Mcm Blenko Pilgrim Retro Blown Art Glass Decanter Bottles Set Of 3Vintage Blenko Hand Blown Glass Pitcher #598- W. Husted - Persian Blue - Ex.cond4 Vintage Blenko, Rainbow, Pilgrim Wv Crackle Glass Shot Glasses, Candle HoldersVintage Pair Of Blenko Bear Bookends In Crystal, 2 PiecesNew Blenko Handblown Owl Figurine, Paperweight In SeabreezeScarce Htf Blenko Wayne Husted Disk Foot Jade Glass Vase 5715Great Clear Blenko Art Glass Fish Blue Eyes Vase Bowl Mid CenturyNew Blenko Handblown Small Glass Heart Vase In Emerald, SignedConsolidated Glass Catalonian Emerald Green Vaseline Water JugSmall Emerald Green Crackle Glass Vase Vintage Blenkohandblown Glass Paperweight In Pink, Crystal And WhiteBeautiful Blenko Cobalt Blue Double Spout Water Bottle Jug Pitcher DecanterVintage Teal Mid Century Tall Blenko Blown Glass Pitcher-polished Pontil-exc!Rare Blenko Art Glass Dark Emerald Green Beehive Bowl With Sticker - Excellent !Vintage Blenko Teal/aqua Green Crackle Glass Vase~10.75" Tall~estate Find~pp107New Blenko Handblown Frog Figurine, Paperweight In Clover, SignedVintage Blenko Tangerine Amberina Ashtray - Mid Century Modern 9" Freeform ThickNew Blenko Handblown Paperweight In Multi Color Frit, Beautiful ColorsBlenko Art Glass Cowboy Hat Vintage Blenko Glass Orange Hand Blown Bubble Vase. Vintage Blenko Glass Cannister Lid - 996 - Anderson Design - Moma Good DesignBlenko Cobalt Blue 7" Tall X 4" Across The Top Glass Vases - BeautifulAwesome Blenko Handblown Paperweight In Red & Yellow Frit, SignedVintage Amberina Tangerine Glass Spiral Optic Swirl Jug Pitcher Blenko 6 1/2"