1. Home

Facts About Fenton Glass

By

Carnival Glass Pawsitive Candie_N/Flickr

The Beginning of Fenton Art Glass:

Brothers Frank and John Fenton started their company in Martins Ferry, Ohio in 1905. Their first products were painted glassware with the glass supplied by other manufacturers. But when these pieces proved difficult to acquire they decided to produce their own glass.

January 1907:

Is the date the Fenton Art Glass Company moved to Williamstown, West Virginia and produced their first glass. Later that same year the company introduced Iridescent glass, today known as Carnival glass.

Chemist Jacob Rosenthal was not only responsible for carnival glass, but also chocolate glass and golden agate.

John Fenton:

John Fenton left in 1909 to start his own glass company back in Millersburg,Ohio.

The 1930s/40s:

Because of the depression and WW II, Fenton produced practical items including tableware and mixing bowls.

During this time period Fenton also introduced the Hobnail pattern (see below), crested ware, Cranberry glass and baskets.

Hobnail:

Although Hobnail was introduced a decade earlier it was pulled from production and was reintroduced in the early fifties.

Fenton describes the milk glass Hobnail as their flagship pattern, popular enough to later be referred to as the company's "bread and butter" line.

QVC:

1988 was the beginning of a partnership with QVC and included Bill Fenton as the first on-air guest. The company has produced enough pieces for QVC to fill a book, Fenton Glass: Especially for QVC.

100 Years in 2005:

Lead by third and fourth generations of the Fenton family, the company turned 100 years old in 2005.

Fenton Art Glass Pictures:

A selection of Fenton Art Glass pieces found on the this web site.

Warman's Fenton Art Glass:

The book takes you through the decades of Fenton, breaking it down to five eras. 1905 through 1930s, 1930 through 1955, 1955 to 1980 and 1980 through 2007, with a separate chapter on Carnival glass. Each era chapter has interesting tidbits in the side margins, relating to the history, individual pieces or perhaps people involved with Fenton Glass.

The End of the Line, NOT YET!:

December 2007:
Although Fenton Art Company announced the company would begin ceasing operations in August 2007 (see below), demand from customers and an increase in orders has brought new life to the company.

From Fenton:
"We wish to thank our dealers, collectors and neighbors for this surge in orders because these orders have been essential in giving us a chance to continue."

"We currently have about 120 employees, and we want to preserve those jobs," Fenton continued. "The dealer and customer response to the upcoming Spring 2008 product offering will help determine our future. Our company will be smaller than it was, and we will be making and selling fewer items to a smaller group of dealers. Our company will have two divisions: Fenton USA will consist of glass made domestically and Fenton International will consist of glass and non-glass products that are imported. Each brand will be clearly marked."

"To complete the task of saving jobs at Fenton and serving our customers, we will need to reach agreements with our vendors and lenders," Fenton said. "We also appreciate the support and patience they have shown during this difficult time."

Dateline: August 2007:
There are many companies that make it difficult to find out about their company history or past products, not so with Fenton Art Glass. They did everything they could to help and inform collectors.

Fenton Art Glass embraced the Internet with one of the best company web sites for consumers, produced an email newsletter, published several books on different aspects on the company's history, has what USA Today calls one of the ten best factory tours and hosted numerous celebrations for their collectors.

But it wasn't enough.

From Fenton:
The Fenton Art Glass Company announced yesterday (August 9, 2007) that it would cease its operations over the next few months.

"This decision was difficult," company President George W. Fenton said. "Since the announcement in June regarding our efforts toward financial restructuring, we took many steps to try to continue the company's operations. Ultimately, those efforts were not successful."

Source: Fenton Art Glass

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.