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  The Fenton Craftsmen

Glassmaking is an extraordinarily complex process, and the casual visitor on a Fenton tour really sees just a fraction of the total workforce. Every piece of glass is touched, directly or indirectly, by dozens of pairs of hands. Each individual is truly a craftsman at his trade from sculpting the clay models, and chiseling the fine patterns into the moulds to working with the molten glass in the Hot Metal Shop.

Glassmaking is a team activity with many glassworkers working with one another for years or even decades. Some craftsmen have also followed in the footsteps of their fathers and grandfathers as Fenton glassmakers. A unique blend of science and art (with some trial and error added), combined with years of experience produces the extraordinary pieces of glassware these individuals are known for. At left is Mike Sine, Sr., who retired  in 2003 after 11 years at Fenton and 41 years in glassmaking.
 


Ron Dick

Three generations of Ron's family have been glassworkers at Fenton. His grandfather, Ralph Dick, was a gatherer, and his father, Robert, was a presser and later a supervisor. With 41 years of experience as a presser at Fenton, Ron Dick has recently added the distinction of being a skilled trainer. "I like the challenge of helping our glassworkers develop and learn new skills."

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Wayne King

Wayne's position as Fenton's chemist and supervisor of the Mixing and Furnace Departments involves both production process and research and development. He relies strongly on his experience, attention to detail, and problem-solving skills for the production problems. However, he feels that the research and development portion presents more of a challenge. Whether it involves generating a new color or reviving an historic one, Wayne's enthusiasm and dedication result in colorful Fenton successes.

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Sonny Burdette

In 1951 16-year old Sonny Burdette joined the Fenton work force as an apprentice glassmaker, following in his grandmother's footsteps who was working as a caser in the blow shop at the time. As a presser for the past 35 years, he is often given the toughest new pressing jobs to work out the "bugs". His quiet, calm manner makes him a great problem solver and an easy person to work with.

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Mike Sine, Jr.

Glassblower, Mike Sine, Jr. who learned his trade at The Beaumont Company (Morgantown, West Virginia), has been employed at Fenton for 144 years.

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Alan VanDyke 

Our highly-skilled mouldmakers are "sculptors in reverse," and longtime mouldmaker, Al VanDyke is a master at his trade. Al completed his apprenticeship in 1971. He has been responsible for many moulds, including Lily of the Valley and Strawberry pattern pieces. The "bridesmaid" doll figurine (5228) is one of his favorites.

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Frank Workman

Since joining Fenton in 1996, Frank has held a variety of jobs. He began by carrying-in and soon moved up to the positions of handle gatherer. A hard worker and, according to his co-workers, "a quick study". Frank's skilled jobs now include gathering, blocking, finishing, and attaching handles to baskets.

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