Fenton Art Glass Company History

First organized in April 1905, the Fenton Art Glass company didn’t really materialize until the following July. At that time the glass decorating shop was opened in Martins Ferry, Ohio, in an abandoned factory rented by Frank L. Fenton and his brother, John (who was later to found the famous Millersburg Glass Company).

The next few months were occupied in obtaining financial backers and glassworkers, buying land to be plotted into lots as a money-raising venture, and constructing their own plant in Williamstown, West Virginia. At times, everything seemed to go wrong, and it wasn’t until 1907 that the company was “on its way.”

From the first, the design abilities of Frank Fenton were obvious, and each pattern seemed to bear his own special flair. He (along with Jacob Rosenthal who had come to the Fenton factory after fire had destroyed the renowned Indiana Tumbler and Goblet Company in Greentown, Indiana) was greatly responsible for sensing what the public admired in glass ornamentation.

In 1908 friction arose between the two brothers, and John exited to pursue his dreams in Millersburg, Ohio. By this time, the Fenton process of iridization has taken the mass-scale art glass field by storm and carnival glass was on its way.

For the next 15 years, the Fenton company 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. Almost 150 patterns are credited to the company in carnival glass alone, and many mOre probably credited to others may be of Fenton origin.

Thank you to our friends at Standard Encyclopedia of Carnival Glass

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