Art Glass 100th anniversary celebration begins
July 30, 2005
By WAYNE TOWNER
Parkersburg News, Parkersburg, WV
WILLIAMSTOWN - The license plates of the parked cars tell the
story: New York, New Jersey, Washington, Texas, Minnesota,
Wisconsin, Michigan, Arkansas, Illinois, Virginia, Indiana,
Maryland, Kentucky, Nebraska, Tennessee and others.
As Fenton Art Glass Co. celebrates 100 years of fine glass-making,
the company has truly touched people from coast to coast and even
beyond, according to company President George Fenton.
Carla Penazek and her family came from Rochester, N.Y., this
weekend especially for the Centennial Celebration. They arrived
Thursday and planned to stay through Sunday.
Penazek began collecting Fenton glass about four years ago after
seeing one of the Fenton-themed programs on the QVC shopping
network. Her favorites are the blue satin and blue roses designs,
''I like the beauty and the different paintings and designs,'' she
This is Penazek's first visit to Williamstown and Fenton Art
Glass. Her family had planned to visit in 2004, but initially had
to postpone that trip. After learning about the Centennial
Celebration planned this year, they decided to wait and make the
trip this year to coincide with the special event. One of the
first things they did was go on the factory tour to see the glass
''It was very interesting. It was amazing to watch the process and
see the workers and to imagine that it goes from molten glass to
something so beautiful in so many different colors,'' Penazek
With the Centennial Celebration starting Friday, George Fenton
said he was pleased with the early turnout for the event and was
looking forward to the entire celebration, which runs through
Based on early reservations for some of the special events
scheduled through the weekend, Fenton said a look at the
geographic distribution of those show that people have come or
will be coming from all over the country. A walk through the
parking areas also shows a wide variety of license plates, beyond
the common Ohio and West Virginia plates.
''The people who are here are from all over the country and some
from around the world. I think there's a couple from Australia
that I've seen and heard about,'' he said.
The Fenton company held the opening ceremony for the Centennial
Celebration at noon Friday with remarks by Scott Fenton, vice
president of sales and part of the fourth generation of Fenton
family members working in the company, Williamstown Mayor Jean
Ford, Marietta Mayor Michael Mullen and George Fenton. Prior to
the opening remarks, Fenton employees planted a tree on the
factory grounds in honor of the anniversary and to remember past
Scott Fenton said many people have been working for the the past
year and more to prepare for this weekend's Centennial
''We've got a great weekend planned for everybody,'' he told the
hundreds of people present as the celebration began Friday at
Ford welcomed everyone present Friday at the factory.
''We are so proud to be here celebrating the 100th anniversary of
the Fenton Art Glass Co.,'' she said.
Ford said the company has made many contributions to the
community, including jobs, taxes and national exposure for
Williamstown and the Mid-Ohio Valley. Beyond those, Ford said
members of the Fenton family have been lifelong residents of
Williamstown and are generous with time and money - both
individually and as a company - to the community and many
organizations in the community.
''We will always be indebted to the Fenton family and the Fenton
company for the role they have played in the continued growth of
the city of Williamstown,'' she said.
Mullen said Fenton's Centennial event is a fantastic milestone.
''When I think of tradition, a hundred years of family business in
this crazy world that we live in, is just an incredible thing,''
The Fenton company moved to West Virginia in 1907. The family
considers May 5, 1905, the day it began when Frank L. and John
Fenton deposited $284.86 into a savings account in Wheeling as
their first commitment to the company.
Fenton began as a glass decorating company before the brothers
discovered the cost and other benefits of producing glass for
themselves. In 1907, the company moved into a factory in
Williamstown. Today, Fenton Art Glass remains a family business,
including management by members of the fourth generation, and 400
Th parking lots near the factory have been opened for the public
and employees are parking elsewhere and bussed to work. The
company received permission from Jeff Martin (owner of The Silos
and Painter's Crossing) for more parking in his green area between
the Silos and West Virginia 14.
[PHOTO CAPTION ABOVE]
The Fenton Art Glass Co. Centennial Celebration includes sales of
Fenton glass and other crafts through Tuesday at Fenton Art Glass
Co. in Williamstown. (Photo by Wayne Towner)