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    

A Vintage 1958 To 1961 Sandblasted Signed Art Glass Blenko BowlLarge Original 1970s Blenko Topaz Yellow American Art Glass Bottle & Stopper, Nr2 Heavy Blenko Handblown Glass Buffalo Bookends/doorstops In Clover,stickerBlenko Hand Blown Decanter Bottle Coin Dot Pattern Green Art Glass A Must Have!Double Rare Vintage 1957 Wayne Husted Blenko Art Glass Bamboo Architectural Vase6 Blenko Air Twist Colonial Williamsburg White Wine Goblets Rare 2 Color AquaSmall Green Crackle Decanter. Very Large Blenko Azur Decanter - Almost 38" Tall. RareBlenko Handcraft Glass Decanter With Stopper 1960’s Blenko Tangerine Amberina Martini Shaker Vase Wayne Husted Vintage Blenko Amberina Long Flame Stopper DecanterBlenko Handblown Glass Large Snowman Paperweight In Crystal & Ruby Red, StickerCollectible Cobalt Blue Blenko Crackle Glass Fat Round Vase Bottle , Has StickerRare 2 Spout Blenko 384 Water Bottle In Dreamsicle, Sticker, Signed 2013Retro Mcm Emerald Green Crackle Glass Decanter W/ Vintage Stopper Scarce Blenko Art Glass Raindrop Vase Specialty Line Made One Year Only Husted6 Teal Vintage Colonial Williamsburg Reproduction Tavern Glasses By Blenko RareGorgeous Vintage Blenko Glass Amberina Ice Tea / Water Pitcher SetBlenko Handcrafted Vase - BlueAmberina Decanter Stopper Large Blenko? 9" Hand Blown Glassnice Blenko Hand Blown Glass Rhombic Shape BottlePair Of Vintage Art Glass Decanters Hand Blown Crackle Glass Different Styles!! Rare 2 Spout Blenko Mini 384 Water Bottle In Yellow, Sticker#809 Blenko Glass Diamond Series Decanter Crystal Rare 10" Art Glass Blenko Colonial Williamsburg Repro Cw-09 Hurricane Shade Inturquoise CrackleGroovy Mid Century Glass Decanter W/ Stopper Blenko? Pilgrim? Rainbow? Italian?Blenko Handmade Blown Open Mouth Art Glass FishGreenwich Flint Craft Glass Decanter Mid Century Modern Thomas Connally Blenko Blenko Glass Decanter With Stopper TangerineBlenko Large Lightable Christmas Tree In Clover Green. Stunning, StickerXl Vintage Hand Blown Blue Glass Pitcher - Blenko? - 14" TallVintage Blenko Handmade Glass Block Paper Weight Sign ClearBlenko Lighter #6320 Crystal - Lucky Roll!Blenko Tangerine Amberina Glass Decanter With Stopper Genie Bottle Red, Orange5 Teal Vintage Colonial Williamsburg Reproduction Tavern Glasses By Blenko RareLarge Vintage Mid Century Mod Blue Blenko Glass Vase Ewer Pitcher 18" Exc.Vtg Blenko (?) Art Glass Amberina Mid Century Genie Bottle Decanter W/stopperRare 4 Spout Blenko Mini 384 Water Bottle In Turquoise Blue, SignedBeautiful New Blenko 384 Water Bottle In Clover Green, Sticker, SignedBlenko Handblown Glass Twisty Stem Pumpkin In Topaz, Signed & Sticker, HeavyBlenko Vintage American Studio Art Glass Bookends Ducks Bird Rich Blue SculptureVintage Pair Of Amber Blenko Owl Bookends Blenko Amethyst Vase 13 Inches Tall Perfect Condition Signed Richard Blenko 2001Beautiful New Blenko 384 Miniature Water Bottle In Crystal, Sticker & SignedAwesome Blenko Free Form Hand Blown Crystal Decanter W/matching Stopper, StickerBlenko Purple Glass Cat- Absolutely Gorgeous, Deep Purple Color- Collectable!Rare 2 Spout Blenko Mini 384 Water Bottle In Cinamon, StickerVintage Hand Blown Studio Art Amber Glass Wide Rim Rectangle Vase Blenko? EamesPair Of Blenko Handcrafted Amber Bookends ~ Vintage Blenko Amber Glass Elephant Book Ends Mid Century 6 X 6.75" HeavyVintage Blenko? Amber Crackle Glass Bottle Decanter With Stopper Rare ExcellentBlenko Glass Limited Edition Pink Ribbon Breast Cancer Necklace (2009)Blenko Candle HolderVintage Blenko Amberina Decanter Vtg Blenko 6212 Green Genie Decanter Husted Mcm No StopperVintage Blenko Large Paper Bag Vase Crackle Cobalt Blue (lamp)Vintage Hand-blown Blenko Glass Decanter W/ Stopper - Yellow / Amber2 Spout Blenko Mini 384 Water Bottle Peacock Limited Edition SeriesBlenko Glass - Decanter Without Stopper - TealBischoff Golden Amber 10" Pitcher W/ Controlled Bubbles

Recent News: Blenko Art Glass

Source: Google News

Tune in for Festival 2015!
Iowa Public Television, March 4th

Blenko Glass: Creating Iowa Sunrise—Premieres Monday, March 2 at 6:30 p.m. Iowa Public Television follows retired architect Mel Shivvers' journey from long-time Blenko Glass collector to first-time Blenko Glass creator. Iowa's Century Farms...Read more

ALLEN, Deborah M.
Marietta Daily Journal, March 3rd

Deborah was known as the “Blenko Lady” in this part of Georgia, and also was a consultant on costume jewelry, real jewelry, and glass collecting. She is survived by her loving husband of 42 years, Roderick Allen; sister; Gale Moody, brothers; Barry...Read more

Wise Buys Antiques Owners Share Hobby, Livelihood and Nearly 30-Year ...
Left Hand Valley Courier, February 23rd

Tim bagged a four-panel beveled wall mirror (“with finial”), and Carrie a three-piece Blenko art glass set—the large green vase suitable for a spray of long-stemmed lilies in the foyer of the Vanderbilt mansion. Asked for the secret to their nearly 30...Read more

Blenko Glass Creating Iowa Sunrise
Iowa Public Television, February 7th

Iowa Public Television follows retired architect Mel Shivvers' journey from long-time Blenko Glass collector to first-time Blenko Glass creator. Our cameras join Mel in his home studio where he designed the 2015 Blenko Glass “Iowa Piece”, and they'll...Read more

Trendspotting: Watercolor-Inspired Home Decor
Columbus Monthly, February 4th

Whether pastel or jewel-toned, abstract interpretation or full-on Impressionist look-alike, we love everything about watercolor-inspired home decor. Here's how you can update your interior with local finds...Read more

Federal bankruptcy judge Pearson to retire
Charleston Gazette, February 3rd

Pearson said being judge has been very rewarding, pointing to overseeing cases like Blenko Glass Co.'s bankruptcy several years ago. The Milton-based glassmaker filed for bankruptcy protection in May 2011, listing debts to at least 50 creditors...Read more

Capitol Market has exclusive Blenko Valentine's vase
Charleston Gazette, January 31st

West Virginia Marketplace, at Capitol Market, will offer this exclusive, limited-edition Blenko vase for Valentine's Day. Walter Blenko, owner of the famous glass company, will be present for a glass-signing event at Capitol Market from 10 a.m. to 2 p...Read more

Blenko Glass slates holiday open house
State Journal, November 23rd

30 Blenko Glass Co. will present its annual Holiday Sale and Open House. The three-day event will offer shoppers an array of holiday glass items as well as demonstrations and classes in which visitors can view and/or participate in the glass making...Read more