Fenton Art Glass
Commemorates 100th Anniversary
Governor Manchin issues
proclamation, learns craft from Fenton craftsmen.
Williamstown, W.Va. – Fenton Art Glass, the largest manufacturer of
handmade colored glass in the United States, marked its centennial
anniversary May 4, 2005, 100 years to the day since the company opened
West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin joined the Fenton family and
employees at the plant to mark this significant anniversary.
“When my grandfather and his brother started Fenton Art Glass at the
turn of the last century, it was their desire to enhance the glass
making industry,” said George Fenton, President, Fenton Art Glass.
“That mission and dedication to quality workmanship has carried
through to the present day where we have multiple generations working
together to produce the high quality decorative glass that my
grandfather had in mind.”
Governor Joe Manchin issued an official proclamation and took part
in the Fenton experience by learning the glass making craft from
Fenton master artists.
“In today’s day and age, centennial
celebrations are few and far between,” Manchin said. “Fenton Art Glass
products and the company’s influence in the glass making industry
spans the world. I look forward to learning this craft which has been
passed down for centuries.”
Founded in 1905 as a glass decorating company, the company soon
discovered the benefits of producing glass itself without having to
depend on other glass manufacturers. In 1907, the company moved into a
new factory in Williamstown, where the company headquarters, factory
and gift shop are still located today.
Throughout its history, Fenton has been a leader in the art glass
industry. Its “iridescent,” first marketed in 1907, is now known as
“Carnival” glass and a popular collectible today.
A family business since its inception, leadership for Fenton Art Glass
was passed to its third generation in 1986. Today, Fenton family
members – including those from those from the fourth generation – work
together with 500 employees to create handmade glass. Fenton products
are available for purchase in more than 4,500 retail shops across the
United States and in several foreign countries as well as on the
television shopping network QVC.
“We have always believed in maintaining the art form of glass
blowing,” Fenton said. “It is a craft, an art form that our collectors
and customers have come to expect for a century.”
Historical Fact: May 4, 1905
With $284.86, Frank L. Fenton and his brother John start the Fenton
Art Glass Company, renting space in the Haskins Glass Co. building in
Martins Ferry, Ohio. They buy glass blanks on which they paint
decoration. Soon, they have trouble acquiring glass, so they decide to
produce their own. To view the Fenton Art Glass 100th Anniversary
timeline, click here.