Vintage Fenton Art Glass Store Has Great Prices
 
Fenton Art Glass is one of those companies far from being a mom-and-pop operation working out of the family garage. The company ranks among the world's foremost producers of handmade art glass. Fenton is the largest manufacturer of handmade colored glass in the United States, and the company is renowned for innovative glass colors as well as hand-painted decorations on pressed and blown glassware.

The Fenton Glass Company continues to be a family operated business, with family members participating in many different departments. The Fenton Glass Company is perhaps best known for its 'irridium' glassware (better known as Fenton Carnival Glass), but Fenton makes a number of other styles, including art glass.

The company was founded a century ago by Frank Fenton, who began his career working as a glass decorator for another company in the Ohio River Valley. Fenton Art Glass is well known for its beautiful and different colors as well as beautiful designs. Frank L Fenton worked to develop new and unusual colors.

Fenton put his company on the map in 1907 by experimenting with different color combinations until he came up with Iridill, better known as Fenton Carnival Glass.

For the next 15 years, Fenton Art Glass would produce the largest number of patterns ever in this beautiful product, and huge amounts of iridized glass would be sent to the four corners of the world to brighten homes. While the company made other decorative wares in custard, chocolate glass, mosaic inlaid glass, opalescent glass, and stretch glass, nothing surpassed the quality and quantity of their iridized glass.

Due to market saturation and the Great Depression, demand for carnival glass declined sharply in the late 1920s.

Fenton Art Glass Company began producing new items in several shapes as special orders for other companies during the 1930s. These items had small, sharp points in repeating rows. The design was called Hobnail. The pattern seemed popular, so Hobnail was introduced into the Fenton general line in opalescent colors in 1940.

Fenton barely survived a decline in the late 1940's by adding milk glass to its product line, which became a huge seller.

In the late 1940's, the top three members of the Fenton management team died, leaving Frank and Bill to carry the Fenton torch. 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.

The first generation was gone. Factory manager Paul Rosenthal was responsible for Fenton’s glass colors, and his retirement in 1949 left another void. The generations passed on the books of glassmaking formulas and the techniques associated with it.

Fenton had played a major role in the art glass movement of the early 1900s and now it had resumed that role by producing opaque milk glass in the 1950s and 60s.

Fenton Burmese Glass is a fine quality molded ware, usually hand-decorated and signed by the artist. Fenton started making Burmese glass in 1969 when company chemist, Charles Goe, was able to recreate this remarkable formula.

Vintage Fenton Art Glass was not made in the mass-producing mold machines. Most of it was mold blown and hand finished. In addition, if Fenton purchased a mold from another company, an upright script "F" inside an oval is used to distinguish the piece. Seconds are marked with a sandblasted capital "F" or star, or a hand-scribed "F".


A bowl could be straight sided as it came out of the mold or it could be cupped in, rolled over, flared, flattened into a plate or even pulled out into a vase form. Edges could also be crimped and fluted. When "necking" a piece to prepare for the punty the artist will use "jacks" to constrict and to chill what will ultimately be the lip of the piece. This contact with the special steel leaves a mark logically called a jack mark.

In 1970, Fenton started the CRAFTSMAN series of collectors Plates, one to be produced for each year for 12 consecutive years. This was done and from 1970 through 1981 the CRAFTSMAN plates were introduced, one per year with different embossed figures to commemorate different types of crafts throughout the United States which make us strong today.

Today Vintage Fenton Art Glass pieces are collectible, and many pieces, especially older ones, can be extremely valuable. Care needs to be taken when cleaning older pieces of Fenton glass because of the fact that it is possible to scratch or otherwise damage the bright colors that have been applied to the glass. With Opalescent glass sometimes the heating process used to bring out the opalescence blurs, obscures or flattens out the molded mark. Look very close for an oval even if you can't see the word Fenton.

Vintage Fenton Art Glass is a collecting category that runs the gamut of price ranges, including rare pieces that sell for thousands. Vintage Fenton Glass in particular is sought after by collectors, with red and pastel colored pieces considered the most valuable. However, many Fenton items that are just as lovely can be purchased for less than $25 apiece.

In 2007 an outpouring of support from dealers and customers coupled with major restructuring made it possible for the 102 year old art glass company to remain in business through 2011.
 
In 2012 Fenton Art Glass turned 107 years old.  The company announced and initiated a complete closure of the plant.  An auction of all assets including molds took place on May 23, 2012.
 
All assets including molds, tools, company logos, names, colors, styles and exclusive glass formulas were purchased by the Fenton Art Glass Gift Shop with Randy Fenton as President and principal share holder.
 
The Fenton Art Glass Gift Shop and Randy Fenton are holding some discussions with Gene Bem, Chairman and CEO of U.S. Glass.  They are hoping to bring the gift shop in as a shareholder in U.S. Glass.  There are also rumors about a plan to restart production at the Fenton plant as early as August 2012 with full capacity returning by 2013.

 

 
Fenton Collector Clubs
 
There are many glass experts across the country who are avid Fenton art glass collectors. Most of these people belong to one of the independent Fenton Collector Clubs. Each club has a newsletter and an annual convention for its members. Joining one or more of these clubs is a great way to learn more about Fenton art glass.
 

The three national organizations include:

 

The Fenton Art Glass Collectors of America

The National Fenton Glass Society

The Pacific Northwest Fenton Association

 


The Fenton Art Glass Collectors of America

The Fenton Art Glass Collectors of America was founded in 1977 as a non-profit organization. Today, more than twenty local chapters and thousands of collectors belong to this organization.

The Butterfly is the symbol for The Fenton Art Glass Collectors of America, Inc.

For the collectors...

The Fenton Art Glass Collectors of America usually holds an annual convention in Marietta, Ohio. They have wonderful glass displays plus a special factory tour and glass sale. They hold seminars with club members as well as Fenton family members and employees. For more information, please contact the F.A.G.C.A. office at 304-375-6196.
The Butterfly Net is mailed six times a year.
Many exclusive items.
To become a member contact...

The Fenton Art Glass Collectors of America
P.O. Box 384
Williamstown, WV 26187



The National Fenton Glass Society

The National Fenton Glass Society was formed in 1990 and issued a Charter by the State of Ohio in 1991. Its purpose is to promote and study the understanding of handmade glass.

The Happiness Bird symbolizes the freedom of choice and the joy of collecting Fenton Art Glass. The National Fenton Glass Society uses the Happiness Bird in their logo.

For the collectors...
The National Fenton Glass Society usually holds an annual convention in Marietta, Ohio. Activities include glass displays and seminars, special glass sales for members, the annual membership meeting, and the annual banquet and whimsey auction. For more information, please contact the NFGS office at (740) 374-3345.
Premier members receive the special NFGS premier mouse with their membership. The color of the special mouse is different each year. Past colors have included cobalt, rosemilk, emerald green, chocolate and burmese.
The NFGS newsletter, The Fenton Flyer, is published and mailed to full members six times per year and contains organization news, educational articles, and other items of interest.
Exclusive items are made to celebrate our conventions and membership.

To become a member contact...

National Fenton Glass Society
P.O. Box 4008
Marietta, OH 45750




The Pacific Northwest Fenton Association

This association was formed for the primary purpose of educating collectors and the public about Fenton Art Glass through seminars, conventions, meetings and a quarterly newsletter.

For the collectors...
The quarterly newsletter, Norwester, contains educational articles, upcoming events, and other items of interest.
Each year one piece of special glass is made for the PNWFA by Fenton for subscribers. This piece is made in a color or decoration that is not in the regular Fenton line in that mould shape.
The annual glass show is held on the fourth weekend of March at the Washington County Fairplex in Hillsboro, Oregon.
Educational meetings are held in private homes. Dates and addresses are announced in the quarterly newsletter.

To become a member contact...

Pacific Northwest Fenton Association
c/o Jackie Shirley
8225 Kilchis River Road
Tillamook, Oregon 97141