|Winslow 920-L from jenzee09|
William J. Blenko founded the Blenko Glass Company in 1893. Originally located in Kokomo, Indiana, Blenko manufactured mouth blown (antique) sheet glass for stained glass windows. In the late 1930s Blenko began producing tableware. The Depression had ruined the stained glass market, forcing Blenko to expand and broaden its horizons.
In 1947 Blenko hired its first design director, Winslow Anderson. Mr. Anderson was given full creative freedom. His ideas changed Blenko Glass forever. New, creative, and unique pieces were manufactured. Vases and decanters were designed with sleek style and beautiful curves. Newer, brighter, bolder colors were used.
Through the years Blenko continued to work with design directors, most notably Winslow Anderson, Wayne Husted, Joel Philip Myers, and John Nickerson. These brilliant artists evolved Blenko’s designs even further, including designing monumental architectural scale pieces, standing 3 feet tall!
Blenko glass has been a growing collectible since the 1960s and is easily distinguished by its shapes and colors (for reference, follow this link).
Blenko has used foil labels over the years, except for a short time, from 1958 to 1961, when a sandblasted mark reading BLENKO was used. The best way to identify authentic pieces is by referencing one of the catalogs produced by the company. Catalogs have been reproduced in hardcover books by Leslie Pina and are available online and in many local libraries.
|Blenko #6527 from mascarajones|
|1977 Blue Top Mountain Line, from Modnique|
Once I began to familiarize myself with the Blenko designs, I realized that Blenko Glass is everywhere. I’ve even spotted pieces on sets of old and new television shows!
Throughout the years, the company has remained in the family and has been passed down from father to son to grandson. Today, Blenko is still designing and selling beautiful tableware and art glass. They are located in Milton, WV, where they have been since 1921. They offer factory tours, a visitor’s center, and a gift shop filled with their newest pieces.