Fenton Glass Company started in 1905, when brothers Frank and John Fenton set up shop in an old glass factory in Martins Ferry, Ohio. Their initial business model was to paint glass blanks supplied by other manufacturers, but when the brothers ran into supply snags, they decided to make their own, setting up a glassblowing facility in Williamstown, West Virginia.

Of the myriad manufacturers of carnival glass, a type of colorful molded glassware that was popular in the first half of the 20th century, Fenton Glass Company is arguably the most influential and important. Fenton basically introduced the category in 1907, when company co-founder Frank Fenton and factory manager Jacob Rosenthal created an iridescent, "poor-man’s Tiffany" called Iridill.

To make the Iridill vases and bowls—some footed, some flat-bottomed—molten glass was pressed into a mold. In some cases the resulting relief sits on the exterior of the vessel, but there are many more examples in which the relief projects from within the object. The line was an immediate hit thanks to the eye-catching surface treatments, as well as the patterns and designs that jumped from the pieces to create rich reliefs. Most of Fenton’s early patterns came from nature. These included Waterlily and Cattails, Butterfly and Berries, Peacock Tail, Wreath of Roses, and Thistle.

When looking at Fenton's antique or vintage carnival glass, it helps to be able to identify the various characteristics and traits. For example, patterns could be stamped onto the outside of a piece (also called the back), the inside (front), or both. The bases of pieces were also varied—some had flat collars while others sported ball or spatula feet.

The edges of carnival glass are another differentiator. Some are smooth with gentle undulations, others are divided into alternating sections of unbroken curves and sharp points to create what is known as a bracket edge. Other pieces feature edges that appear crimped, ruffled, pulled, or resemble the teeth of a saw.

While carnival glass was made for everyday use, many pieces seemed suited to special occasions or the serving of treats. Thus, Fenton made a great number of ruffled candy dishes, high-sided nut bowls, and low nappies.

In the 1920s, Fenton introduced a red carnival color that would prove to be a hit with customers of the day and contemporary Fenton collectors alike. But as the 1930s arrived and the Depression deepened, Fenton dropped its carnival lines in favor of household items such as plates and mixing bowls. Other designs produced during the late 1930s and throughout the 1940s include the ruffled-edge Crest pieces and the twisting Spiral Optics...

It was tough going, and the company almost didn’t make it. What rescued Fenton was a Victorian style of glass called Hobnail, whose uniformly bumpy surface resembled the bottoms of hobnail boots. It had been out of fashion for decades, but Fenton found a new audience for this "retro" glassware. A pattern called Diamond Lace combined the bumpy surface of the Hobnails with the optical qualities of the Spiral Optics. And then Fenton produced a milk glass Hobnail. Sales eclipsed even those tallied during the heyday of Iridill, and the company’s future was once again secure.

By the 1950s, many Fenton bowls were adorned with handles to turn them into baskets. Up until that decade, no Fenton piece had carried its maker’s mark, but now Fenton decided that the work of the handler (the gaffer who takes a band of molten glass and with a few deft moves fashions it into a handle) should be recognized. This helps collectors of vintage Fenton to identify the date and pedigree of pieces from 1953 to the present.

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Fenton Rare!! Sapphire Blue Hobnail Cake Stand Selling With No Reserve!!Fenton Cranberry Opalescent New World Wine Decanter And Wines 1953-54 No ReserveVtg 4 Piece Fenton Glass Iridescent Carnival Topaz Diamond Lace Epergne Set Nr!!Rare Fenton Atlantic City Elks B.p.o.e. Carnival Glass Plate In Blue! Fenton Cranberry Opalescent Hobnail Mini Oil Lamp Selling With No ReserveFenton Purple Slag Fan Vase !!!!!!!!!!!!!!Fenton Mulberry Overlay Diamond Optic Perfume Cologne Bottle 1942 Pre Logo RareVintage~50s"fenton Glass"src"plum/cranberry"opalescent"hobnail"10"ruffl Bowl~xltFenton Thumbprint Pink & Green Iridescent Art Glass Basket Signed Bill FentonVintage Fenton Burmese Poppy Gone With The Wind LampFenton Favrene Vase The Howling 1997 Limited Edition #40/75 Selling No Reserve!Fenton Dave Fetty Footed Mosaic Hanging Hearts Vase 2005 Selling With No ReserveFenton Art Glass Ooak Opal Satin Vase With Hummingbird Design By Robin SpindlerFenton Dave Fetty Feather Vase Limited Edition #214/850 Selling With No ReserveFenton Halloween Ghost Figurine - Opalescent "gasper" - 2003Nice 3 3/8" Fenton Glass Cranberry Opalescent Hobnail Salt & Pepper Shakers Fenton Purple Slag Glass Grape And Cable Tobacco JarFenton Dave Fetty Vaseline Opalescent Pumpkin Signed And Dated 2001 No ReserveFenton Art Glass ~ Tye Dye Cat ~ Carolyn's CollectiblesFenton Art Glass Purple Fish Hand-painted Orange Red Green - New RareDlf Fenton Glass Christmas Mosaic SnowmanFenton Ruby Red Glass Christmas Tree Vintage Art Glass Holiday Figurine Free Sh!Fenton Art Glass ~ Miniature Blue Opalescent Basket ~ 1940sFenton Glass ~ Iris Garden Mulberry Vase ~ Sample/1750 ~ 2004Fenton Glass ~ Hp Mulberry Vase ~ 100th Anniversary Sample Vase1950 Fenton Art Glass Co. Catalog ! Wow !!Fenton Art Glass Shiny Rosemilk Overlay "poppy" 33" Pillar Lamp - NrFenton Snowman Fairy Candle Lamp Hand Painted W/rosesCarnival Super Dark Bouquet Bulbous 7 Piece Water Set "outstanding Color"Fenton Art Glass "luv Bug" Figurine In Opal SatinGorgeous And Massive Fenton Burmese Pillar Lamp / Embossed RosesCarnival Nice And Rare Blue Persian Medallion 10 1/2" Chop Plate "tuff Piece"Fenton Glass ~ Blue Opalescent Daisy & Fern Creamer Pitcher ~ L G WrightBeautiful Fenton White Opalescent Coin Dot Decanter Set With 6 Glasses Fenton Rosalene Donkey And Cart Selling With No Reserve!!!!!!!!!!Fenton Custard Hanging Hearts Sample Pitcher Circa 1976 Selling With No Reserve!Old Fenton Art Glass French White Hobnail Opalescent Master Jug & Five GlassesFenton Art Glass ~ Tye Dye Dog ~ Carolyn's CollectiblesFenton Burmese Candy Hand Painted Ooak With Flowers By Marilyn Wagner No ReserveFenton Black Satin Alley Cat Hp Sunflowers/pumpkins/lady Bugs Ooak Too Cute !!Fenton Burmese Vase Limited Edition Signed By George Fenton #1054 Of 1500.Fenton Art Glass Mouse Pink Cute Hand-painted - New RareHolly Ruffled Bowl Marigold On Moonstone *deep Pumpkin* Vintage Glass FentonFenton Frank Workman Bands Of Glory Vase # 114/500 *mint* With Fenton Box Fenton Hand Painted Cat With Hidden Mouse Le 500 Rare And HtfMint Perfect Vintage Fenton White Opalescent Diamond Lace 9" Cake Plate StandFenton Burmese Cruet Hand Painted Ooak With Flowers By Marilyn Wagner No ReserveRare 1959 Fenton Plum Opalescent Hobnail Pre-logo 3 1/2 Inch Fan Vase Fenton Orange Slice Cat Hand Painted Tiger Cat! Selling With No ReserveFenton Glass ~ Chameleon Green Reclining Bear ~ Cc Hardman ~ OoakMint~vintage~40s"fenton Glass"cranberry"opalescent"hobnail"salt&pepper"shakersFenton Green Opalescent Hobnail Mini Cup Flare Vase - 1940-1941 Pre LogoVaseline Opalescent Spanish Lace Rose Bowl Northwood Or FentonCarnival Magnificent Marigold Peacock At The Urn Plate Iridescence To Die For Vintage Fenton Coin Dot LampRetro & Signed Fenton Blue Carnival Glass Winking Alley Cat Figurine - 11" TallFenton Burmese Kelsey Murphy Hocus Pocus Cat Limited Edition #8/18 No ReserveFenton Signed Louise Piper Limited Edition Burmese BasketFenton Burmese Pink Lattice Hand Painted Vase Signed S. Fisher & Bill Fenton Fenton Silver Rose- Large Square Fruit Dish Beautiful!!

Recent News: Fenton Glass

Source: Google News

Antique and Depression-era glass show held this weekend in Jacksonville
Florida Times-Union, October 14th

Held by the Depression Glass Club of Jacksonville, the show's theme is “Celebrating 100 Years of Fenton Glass” with guest George Fenton, President of Fenton Glass and grandson of company founder Frank L. Fenton. Displays of historic glass, including ...Read more

20th Annual Senior Expo full of fun and fellowship
Bluefield Daily Telegraph, October 3rd

“I found out that its in perfect shape, and it is Fenton glass, and it's worth between $300 and $400.” Betty Dillard, of Bluefield Va., said she came to the expo to get out of the house. “I've enjoyed myself immensely,” Dillard said. “I've seen a lot...Read more

Philatelic society offering $100000 reward for return of stolen rare stamps
Antique Trader, September 17th

CAMDEN, N.Y. — A reward of up to $100,000 is being offered to locate two of the world's most famous rare postage stamps that are still missing after they were stolen from the exhibit of a wealthy New York City woman in Virginia nearly 60 years ago...Read more