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]



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 Decanter Blue 34" Tall With Stopper Hand Crafted 1960'sBlenko Tri-color Bowl Mid Century Modern Incalmo Husted Signed Art GlassVintage 44 3/4" Tall Architectural Floor Vase Decanter Blenko Chartreuse GreenBlenko Tangerine - Amberina 11.5" Signed Handblown Glass Decanter | Vintage VasePair Vtg Signed Blenko Hand Blown Blue Glass Lamps W/ Finials Mid Century ModernBeautiful And Rare Desert Green Blenko Water Bottle!Vintage Blenko Art Glass 5815-l 30" Very Large Decanter Tangerine Orange StopperRare Vintage Rose' Blenko Water Bottle. Produced Only In 1963 & 1964!!!2 - Vintage Handblown Art Glass White Opalescent Vases W/ Applied Red Glass Band3 Beautiful Frosted Blenko Water Bottles In Cobalt, Seabreeze, & Deep Peacock!!!Rare Vintage Blenko Decanter #6212 Wayne Husted Ground Stopper2013 Blenko West Virginia Birthday VaseBlenko Water Bottle In Rare Limited 2013 Color Made Exclusively For Horchow!!!Blenko Blown Glass Fish 12" Clear & GreenBlown Glass Stopper 9" Green Blenko?Big Blenko Amberina W/starburst Design Bottle With StopperPair Vintage Glass Blenko Owl Bookends Green Danish Mid Century ModernVintage Capricorn Zodiac Blenko Paperweight Ocean Blue Sun Catcher Signed CvMid Century Modern~blenko Art Glass Decanter~large Amber With Stopper 22"Vintage Mid Century Modern Possible Blenko Glass VaseBeautiful Orange Dreamsicle Fade Blenko Water Bottle!4" Deep Ruby Red Handblown Glass Vase/bowl W/fluted EdgeBlenko Yellow Owl Ice Floe Don Shepherd Mid Century Modern Art Glass Rare ColorBlenko Blown Glass Fish 12" Clear & TurquoiseLarge Blenko Glass Squiggle Vase 16" Sticker Cobalt BlueLarge Blenko Glass Vase 13" Blue Orange YellowVintage Blue Blenko Art Glass Double Spout Water Pitcher Carafe Vase1960s Blenko Glass Joel Myers Decanter Stopper Blue MidcenturyVintage Blenko Emerald Green Rosette Decanter 3 Blenko Blown Glass Mushrooms Amber With Green AccentBlenko Hand Blown Amberina Glass Decanter Bottle Beautiful Modern DesignVintage Blenko Cobalt Dark Blue #384 Water Bottle CaraffeVintage Hand Blown Tangerine (amberina) Dimpled Glass Drinking Tumbler Blenko!Huge Art Glass Blenko Whale Yellow Green With Original StickerLarge Blenko Glass Pitcher Blue Amber 12" Sticker SignedRare Blenko Hand Blown Art Glass Teapot Whimsy Paperweight Signed Applied HandleVintage Blenko 3 Finger Trigger Handle Art Glass Pitcher-blue-exc!-13 1/2in!Large Blenko Glass Squiggle Vase 16" PurpleBeautiful Vintage Blenko 384 Mid-century Tangerine Water BottleBlenko Double Spout Water Jug Pitcher In Peacock Blue/aquamarineW Vtg Blenko #489 13" Air Twist Goblet Emerald Green Crystal Art Glass VaseBlenko Handmade Cobalt Blue Art Glass Graduated Ribbed Bowl. Amazing!Blenko Rocket Vase #6024 Sea Green 1/2Blenko Rocket Vase #6024 Sea Green 2/2Vintage Large 12" Blenko Crackle Art Glass Smokey Grey PitcherVintage Blenko Handcraft Green Crackle Glass Decanter - Hand Blown Art Glass4 Spout Cobalt Blenko Water Bottle!Blenko Glass Bowl With 4 Small Bowls Leaves Blue Set4-gorgeous Vintage Blown Glass Tumbler Seeded (bubbles) ~20oz.~Vintage Blenko Cobalt Blue Ruffled Top Vase 7 1/2" Tall, SignedRare Vintage Blenko Pineapple Bookends ~ Cobalt Blue W/tagsArt Glass Fish Vintage Blenko Or Itailan Murano Amber Glass Hand Blown 9.5"x 4.5Blenko Juniper Jade Emerald Nile Green Sailboat Sail BoatVintage Blenko Amethyst Purple 8 Petal Lotus Bowl Blenko Amethyst 18" Tall Glass VaseBlenko? Amethyst Glass Flared Pulled Loving Cup Urn Footed Vase PontilColorful Blenko Mid Century Large Emerald Green Floor Vase 15"Vintage Blenko Green Art Glass Figural Angel Decanter Bottle With StopperBlenko Cobolt Blue 26" Tall Glass Vase Cowboy Hat Ice Bucket, Wine Chiller, Vase, Bowl

Recent News: Blenko Art Glass

Source: Google News

August blows in with some smokin' activities in the area
Huntington Herald Dispatch, July 30th

The family-owned Blenko Glass in Milton hosts its seventh annual Festival of Glass on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 1-2, with a huge variety of hands-on fun, including make-your-own glass workshops. There are signing events with Vice President Andy Blenko, ...Read more

Arts Notes: July 27, 2014
Charleston Gazette, July 26th

MILTON, W.Va. — Blenko Glass Co. will present its seventh annual Festival of Glass on Friday and Saturday, featuring a variety of classes for both children and adults, signing events with company Vice President Andy Blenko, guided factory tours, ...Read more

Classes, discounts and more offered at Blenko
Huntington Herald Dispatch, July 26th

MILTON -- One of the highlights on Tri-State calendar is the annual Festival of Glass of Blenko Glass. That time is here again as the 7th Annual Festival of Glass is set for Friday and Saturday, Aug. 1-2 at the Blenko factory in Milton. "We hope that...Read more

WV Bad faith case archive launched
State Journal, July 26th

Registration is now open for hands-on classes at the seventh annual Festival of Glass, scheduled at the Blenko Glass Co. factory in Milton on Friday, Aug. 1, and Saturday, Aug. 2. Registration is now open for hands-on classes at the seventh annual...Read more

Philanthropy award deadline soon
State Journal, July 26th

Registration is now open for hands-on classes at the seventh annual Festival of Glass, scheduled at the Blenko Glass Co. factory in Milton on Friday, Aug. 1, and Saturday, Aug. 2. Registration is now open for hands-on classes at the seventh annual...Read more

Hands-on glass classes
State Journal, July 26th

New at this year's festival will be a lecture by Blenko designer Arlon Bayliss, who will show images and videos and talk about his life working with glass and what it's like to design for Blenko. Admission to his lecture is free, but space is limited...Read more

Blenko To Host Festival Of Glass Aug. 1-2
WCHS-TV8, July 24th

The seventh annual Festival of Glass is set for Aug. 1-2 at Blenko Glass in Milton. A wide variety of classes will be offered, including a glass workshop, make your own Christmas Ornament, make your own frit waterbottle, glass chimes, dichroic jewelry...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