Art Glass celebrates centennial
February 16, 2006
By MELINA HUDDY
Parkersburg News, Progress Edition, Parkersburg, WV
WILLIAMSTOWN - In a
year marked by the loss of its founder's first son, recognition by
the U.S. Senate and a visit by the governor, Fenton Art Glass
celebrated its centennial then turned toward the future.
Throughout the year,
Fenton produced a variety of pieces commemorating its 100th year,
published a coffee table book of the company's history in glass
and held special family signing events at the top 100 retailers
around the country.
A local celebration
held in May for company employees was attended by Gov. Joe
Manchin. The public celebration was held July 29 - Aug. 2 and
attracted more than 17,000 visitors.
"There were special
tours, glassmaking and decorating experiences for visitors, a live
QVC show. Collectors were here, tents in the park and West
Virginia crafts from around the state. It went very well," said
A highlight of the
event was a resolution from U.S. Senators Robert C. Byrd and Jay
Rockefeller congratulating the company and recognizing its
contribution to the state. The following month, the same public
figures who celebrated with the company expresses their
condolences when Frank M. Fenton, son of founder Frank L. Fenton,
passed away at 89.
"The last few months of
the year were spent working to improve yields, reduce scrap,
become more efficient and we've made positive improvements in
those areas. Now, as we move in to 2006, we're working on several
different marketing areas," Fenton said. "Of course, you can't
talk about 2006 without mentioning gas [natural gas]. We will
spend a million more dollars in gas in 2006 than we did in 2004.
So, we have to look at reducing costs. Increased transportation
costs effects the cost of materials directly and other expenses
A combination of
reduced cost and expanded markets should herald the beginning of a
new century as successful as the last. Programs are being
developed for florists, jewelers and Internet partners.
[PHOTO CAPTION ABOVE]
West Virginia Governor Joe
Manchin III, left, stands with George Fenton of Fenton Art Glass at the
Williamstown Welcome Center.
(Photo by Jeff Baughan)