Fenton Art Glass
1907 - 2011
Glass Co. Williamstown, WV.
Fenton Art Glass Company is the largest manufacturer of
handmade colored glass in the United States.
The Fenton Art Glass Company was founded in 1905 by Frank L. Fenton and
his brother John W. Fenton in an old glass factory building in Martins
Ferry, Ohio. They began by painting decorations on glass blanks made by
other glass manufacturers. Soon, being unable to get the glass they
needed, they decided to produce their own glass. The first glass from
the new Fenton factory in Williamstown, West Virginia, was made on
January 2, 1907.
Frank L. Fenton's desire to develop new and unusual colors helped to
keep Fenton in the forefront of the handmade art glass industry. During
the years from 1905 to the 1920's, Fenton design was heavily influenced
by the artists at Tiffany and Steuben. In late 1907, Fenton introduced
"Iridescent" glass. This glass, now known as "Carnival" glass, is a
popular collectible today.
During the 1930's and 1940's, Fenton produced practical items, such as
mixing bowls and tableware to get through the depression and WWII
shortages. They continued working on developing a wide array of new
colors. In the late 1940's, the top three members of the Fenton
management team died, leaving Frank M. Fenton, age 33, and Wilmer C.
(Bill) Fenton, age 25, to step in and take over as President and Vice
President. In spite of other glass factories closing at a rapid rate,
Frank and Bill led the Fenton factory through significant American
growth for the next 30 years.
In 1986, the leadership of the company passed on to the third
generation, with George W. Fenton, Frank M's son, taking over as
President. Today nine Fenton family members work together along with
over 150 employees to create handmade glass artistry that is loved by
collectors around the world. Fenton is known for its beautiful colors
and patterns. Each piece of glass is an artistic creation by skilled
glassworkers and decorators.
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