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 Glass Cat Decanter 13 1/4" Wayne Husted Design 1955 Mid Century HalloweenBlenko Baluster Persian Blue 22" Decanter 5929-l Wayne Husted DlRare Vtg Blenko Joel Myers Green Stretch Vase W/stopper 26" #6427 Very NiceBlenko Vintage Mid-century Modern Glass Bottle Decanter Olive GreenVintage Blenko Blue Myers Decanter 6528m Ex Cond Designed In 1965 Mcm Modernist Blenko Decanter Joel Myers 60s Coil Lemon TangerineBlenko Art Glass Fire Sale!!!!!Gorgeous Blenko Large Amethyst Purple Art Glass Vase With Original Label Ec NrHand Blown Blenko Mcm Amberina Tangerine Globe-stoppered Glass Decanter Classic!Blenko, Ruby Red Glass Water Bottle/carafe, Doubnle Spout.Blenko Glass Handblown, Fish VaseHtf Vintage Blenko Howard Johnsons Turquoise Glass Bubble Two Spout Water BottleSky Blue Huge 31" Decrative Decanter Made In Italy2 Blenko Decanters Crackle Glass PurpleVtg. 1980's-90's Blenko Hand Blown Art Vase Tangerine/green Pontil Stickered NrVintage Blenko #9355-l Topaz Amber Large Optic Glass Pumpkin 1993-2007Blenko Glass Mini Water Jug Green Carafe Double Spout BottleBlenko Art Glass Fire Sale!!!!!Vintage Blenko Glass Topaz Floor Vase DecanterBlenko Art Glass Fire Sale!!!!!Blenko Glass Fish Vase Vintage Blenko Decanter Topper Reddish Orange Crackle Stopper Lot 1960s Mid Century Modern~3 Blenko Blown Glass Mini Vases~4"to5"Vintage Blenko Art Glass Amberina Pitcher Joel Myers Rare #709 1970. No Reserve!Vintage Blenko Rainbow Pilgrim ? Blue Crackle Glass Decanter! No Reserve! Blenko Tall VaseBlenko Amber DecanterBlenko Art Glass Fire Sale!!!!!Blenko Hand Blown Amberina Art Glass Vase Orangina Tequila SunriseSet Of Five Blenko Lime Green Pinched Crackle 5 1/2" Tumblers - 16 Oz. Huge Red Blenko Decanter Stopper, Wayne HustedBlenko Deep Honey Amber Brown Bear Bookend Paperweight W/sticker 4 7/8" TallBlenko Art Glass Fire Sale!!!!!Blenko Art Glass Fire Sale!!!!!Large Blue Blenko Glass VaseLovely Large Blenko Hand Blown Deep Ruby Bowl Compote With Crystal FootBlenko Art Glass Fire Sale!!!!!Blenko Art Glass Sea Green Square Decanter Pitcher Carafe Double SpoutBlenko Handblown Green Bottle With StopperBlenko #384 Double-spout Water Bottle, Emerald Or Spring GreenVintage Stelvia Wayne Husted Design Yellow Water Pitcher Bottle Jug Carafe RareBlenko #9912 Topaz "bow" VaseVintage Blenko Amberina Decanter W/ No StopperSet Of 2 Old Blenko Crystal Solid Art Glass Candle HoldersBlenko Glass Emerald Green NappyBlenko Green Joel Myers Water Jug Mid CenturyHuge Blenko Hand Blown Glass Cowboy HatLarge Vintage Mid-century Blenko Glass Chartreuse Flame Stopper..8 7/8 InchesVintage Murano Blenko? Orange Crackle Glass Apple? Pumpkin? 4.5" Tall

Recent News: Blenko Art Glass

Source: Google News

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

Health Fair, Chilifest set for August 22-23 in Hamlin
The Logan Banner, August 18th

HAMLIN — The 2014 Heat'n The Hills Chilifest, featuring free music, food, family fun, fireworks and more will take place on the grounds of Lincoln Primary Care, 7400 Lynn Ave in Hamlin, Sat. Aug. 23. Proceeds benefit Lincoln Primary Care Center's...Read more

Hamlin to host a Chilifest Saturday with Georgia Satellites playing
Huntington Herald Dispatch, August 17th

HAMLIN, W.Va. — The 2014 Heat'n The Hills Chilifest, featuring food, free music, family fun, fireworks and more will take place Saturday, Aug. 23, on the grounds of Lincoln Primary Care Center, 7400 Lynn Ave., Hamlin, W.Va. Proceeds benefit Lincoln ...Read more

Seeking Blenko history
Huntington Herald Dispatch, August 4th

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

Annual festival gives fans chance to craft own art glass
Huntington Herald Dispatch, August 1st

MILTON -- As Blenko Glass Company Vice President Andy Blenko watched Sue Parker of Huntington blow her molten glass into the mold of a vase, he said she looked like she had done it before. Parker isn't a professional glass crafter, but rather a first...Read more

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

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, glassblowing...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

The seventh annual Festival of Glass is set for Aug. 1-2 at Blenko Glass in ...
WCHS-TV8, July 24th

Signing events are scheduled with with Blenko vice-president Andy Blenko, as well as guided factory tours, glassblowing demonstrations, live radio remotes with B97.1 and glass giveaways. Limited edition pieces will go on sale Aug 2. A 15 percent...Read more