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Fenton Celebrates 100 Years

 

August 1, 2005

 

By ANDREW REX

WMOA News, Marietta, OH

Fenton Art Glass is celebrating 100 years of creating handcrafted, hand-painted art glass during a five-day centennial celebration that continues through tomorrow.

While Fenton Art Glass did not move into West Virginia until 1907, the family considers May Fifth, 1905, the day of its inception. That's when Frank and John Fenton deposited nearly $285 into a savings account in Wheeling.

Fenton began as a glass decorating company before the brothers discovered the cost and other benefits of producing glass for themselves. The company has survived three waves of economic struggle that wiped out most of the glass factories that once flourished in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Today, Fenton Art Glass remains a family business that is managed by members of the fourth generation and employs about 500 workers. Though its product line leans toward the Victorian, Fenton produces a little bit of everything, from vases and pitchers to figurines in any shape imaginable.

QVC plans a live remote broadcast from the Fenton factory in Williamstown for 10 a.m. tomorrow.

 

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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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