Bronze Look brings 100 year W.Va. legacy, Fenton Glass, to Princeton's
By TAMMIE TOLER
Princeton - This year, Fenton
glass will celebrate 100 years in West Virginia, and pieces of that legacy
are now available in Princeton's historic district.
Randolph Evans opened The Bronze
Look last year as a coin and art shop on East Mercer Street, but since then
the store has evolved to a collector's gallery featuring unique currency,
prints and Fenton glass.
Grace Fenton, a regional
representative and member of the Fenton family, visited The Bronze Look last
Friday. As she sat outside the store, just yards from the nearly complete
Princeton Railroad Museum and across the street from the former Stag
clothing store that was recently refurbished and turned into Kidz at Heart
Day Care Center, Fenton said East Mercer Street's character and past made it
the perfect place to showcase Fenton Glass's unique pieces and intricate
"The minute I saw your site, I
knew I was going to love your store. It's very homey here," Fenton said.
Although the building Evans'
store occupies was built in 1915, roughly nine years after Fenton Glass
created its Williamstown factory, she said the company and Princeton's
historic district were a good fit.
Princeton's development in the
early 1900s centered around the Virginian Railroad's extension through the
area now adjoining East Mercer Street and running under the present-day
Thorn Street. Much like that history is a piece of present-day Princeton,
Fenton said her company's pieces are part of their collectors' lives.
"Collectors love to get
compliments on their pieces, and we're proud that they're not only parts of
our collections, but also that each piece is a part of who we are," she
The Fenton Art Glass Company was
founded in 1905 by Frank L. Fenton and his brother John W. Fenton, who began
painting designs on other manufacturer's blanks in Martins Ferry, Ohio.
Before long, the brothers decided to start their own glass manufacturing
company, and they began working on the Williamstown factory. On Jan. 2,
1907, the West Virginia factory produced its first piece of glass, and the
Fenton family, traditions and artwork have been part of the Mountain State's
culture ever since.
Fenton, a collector herself, said
she enjoys trinkets, the ornate, tiny boxes that hold jewelry or other small
"Each piece is a reminder of who
I am and what I was enjoying at that time," she said.
One of her most precious pieces
came from Frank Fenton's estate, a ruby carnival trinket with a butterfly on
"It is the most beautiful trinket
I have ever see, but it's also a piece of him," Fenton said.
She said the unique colors,
intricate designs and handcrafted art are some of the qualities that make
Fenton glass special.
In addition, the pride and time
Fenton employees put into their pieces shines through the glass, Fenton
"It's hard to fully appreciate
one piece of glass just by looking at it," she said, citing one piece could
require 19 to complete.
Evans said he will coordinating a
tour of the Fenton Art Glass Factory Aug. 15. Cost of the trip will be $75
and will include the bus ride, lunch with the Fenton family, a tour of the
facility and more. For more information on the trip, contact Evans at
[PHOTO CAPTION ABOVE]
Mountain glass...On Jan. 2, 1907,
the Williamstown, W.Va. factory produced its first piece of glass. Here,
Grace Fenton and Randolph Evans examine a piece of Fenton's art glass. Photo
by Tammie Toler