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    

Blenko Husted 5812 Peacock Blue Cut Out Hurricane Vase ShadeRare Vintage Blenko Husted Spool Decanter 587l Hand Blown Mcm Sandblasted MarkBlenko Mid-century Era Amberina 21" Tall Unusual Bottle Ground Glass Stopper Blenko Blue Bumpy Glass Decanter Wayne Husted 1963Blenko 5830l Owl Vase Sandblast MarkLarge Myers Blenko 6741 Tangerine Decanter With Twist Sommerso Stopper.Blenko 8" Full Size Aqua Green Glass Double Spouted Art Glass Water BottleLarge Hand Blown Glass Blenko Handcrafted Pitcher, Emerald Green! #227Blenko Blue Green Teal Glass Double Spout Decanter Pitcher Vase Carafe VintageVintage Blenko Handcraft Glass Candle Holder Vase With Label Husted Mid CenturyBlenko Art Glass DecanterVintage Amber Crackle Glass Flat Bottom Ship Captain's DecanterBlenko Jungle Vase With Cobalt Lip Hank Adams Design 10" Tall 2006 Textured 18" Blenko Glass Antique Green Cylinder Vase W/ Orig Label Designer Don ShephardBlenko Glass Face Green, Art FacesBlenko 8" Full Size Aqua Green Glass Dowble Spout Art Glass Water BottleBlenko Rocket Vase #6024 Sea Green 2/2Blenko Vase Hank Adams Design Celery With Cobalt Lip 12" Tall Textured 2006 Vintage Blue Blenko Art Glass Pitcher / VaseExquisite Rare 1959 Wayne Husted Blenko #991 Persian Optic Ribbed Pitcher SignedVintage Blenko Glass Company Green Art Glass Hand Blown PumpkinBeautiful Deep Amethyst Purple Double Spout Blenko Water Bottle With LabelBlenko Vase 10" Tall Ice Blue With Jungle Lip Hank Adams Design 2006Blenko Ice Block Square Bookend Or PaperweightBlenko Amberina 5932 DecanterBlenko Rocket Vase #6024 Sea Green 1/2Blenko 3 Fishing Ball Floats Art Glass With NetsBlenko Stained Glass Series Vase Multi Color 12" X 4" Signed Richard Blenko Vintage Blenko 7 1/4" Leaf Crackle Glass Beaker / VaseBlenko Double Spout Water Pitcher Bottle Or Jar, Green, 8" Tall Nice Turqoise ~ Ice Blue Hand Crafted Bischoff American Pulled Pinched DecanterVintage Blenko Art Glass Jonquil Gold Crimped Bowl 5428 Ec No ReserveBlenko PaperweightLarge Hand Blown Glass Blenko Handcrafted Pitcher, Blue, Stunning Desgin!Vintage Blenko Glass PitcherBlenko Glass Step Bowl Cobalt Blue 6 3/8"4 Blenko Glass Fishing Balls Aqua, Green, Purple & RedVtg Mid Century Bubble Blown Cut Art Glass Apothecary Decanter Bottle Eames EraBlenko Art Glass Mid Century Modern Bear Bookend Book EndVintage Blenko Blue Crackle Glass PitcherLarge Vintage Blenko Clear Crackle Glazed Vase With Applied Turquoise LeavesColorful Vintage Usa Made Blenko Green Signed Handblown Hankerchief Bag VaseVintage Glass Bookend - Blenko Half Moon Green Bookend - Solid GlassBlenko #366 Blue Leaf Crackle VaseBeautiful & Rare: Vintage West Virginia Glass Hollywood Regency 22kt Candy Bowl

Recent News: Blenko Art Glass

Source: Google News

Weekly Roundup of eBay Vintage Home Finds
Huffington Post, July 20th

Check out these fab eBay vintage and antique home auctions ending soon including items by Frederick Weinberg, Guido Gambone, Blenko and Harris Strong. Don't miss the 1928 Georg Jensen sterling goblets, the Royal Doulton bulldog, the 19th century ...Read more

Story of a boy in the forties: The marble shooter
Huntington Herald Dispatch, July 11th

Those boys went on after winning the Huntington Championships to win national marble tournaments. I was talking to Roy Rood recently and recounted to him that I still have many of my marbles in a large clear Blenko jug. Roy remarked, "well at least you...Read more

New art, glass store opens on Capitol Street
Charleston Gazette, July 11th

When walking into Evan's Capitol Street store, patrons will see a variety of familiar West Virginia Blenko Glass art works and paintings depicting Civil War scenes. “My company is about creativity,” Evans said. “It's a unique gallery — you don't know...Read more

Museum of American Glass
State Journal, July 11th

This year, the museum's calendar is already full of classes and activities for participants including: a Blenko Glass mini-convention; American Glass Auction; the fourth Annual American Mid-Century Modern Symposium; the 23rd Annual Glass Gathering; ...Read more

Second annual road rally to rev up this weekend
Charleston Gazette, July 10th

First, second and third-place winners will receive Blenko Glass trophies, and each car is encouraged to rack up “sponsorship by mile” for the race. The team that raises the most money will win two exotic car driving experiences at Charlotte Motor...Read more

Diane Mufson: Don't be blinded to the area's many positives
Huntington Herald Dispatch, July 8th

Blenko Glass, established in the 19th century, again created a fantastic collector's vase for West Virginia's birthday and continues to produce glass products valued by those near and far. Downtown Huntington is again vibrant, and parking sometimes can...Read more

'Dog days' dreams big for all paws
Beckley Register-Herald, June 27th

The mall will host a drawing of some nicer antique and collectible items, including an early, cast-iron 1900s Hubley Scottish Terrier door stop and a Blenko glass art fish, said Eanes. She added that a drawing for two baskets filled with over-the...Read more

Pep Boys coming to Norwin Town Square
Tribune-Review, June 24th

Blenko said the landscaping waiver doesn't pose a problem. “The area where they are looking to build is asphalt now, so anything they add in the way of landscaping will be better than what's there,” he said. Tony LaRussa is a Trib Total Media staff writer...Read more