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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 for business.

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.

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Visitors to Fenton Art Glass will find a spacious Gift Shop and a pleasant museum. Free factory tours (M-F 8:15am to 4:00pm) take small groups of guests right out to the factory floor to see glassmaking "up close and personal." Friendly, knowledgeable tour guides explain all aspects of the operation. The Fenton tour has been ranked among the "top 10" factory tours nationwide by USA Today. In addition we have been named Rand McNally Best of the Road for 2006. For a factory tour schedule, click here. For a map, click here.


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