|Blenko's Historic Period Designers: The Blenko Four
Complet history of the Blenko Glass Company at this link: Blenko History
According to Milton, WV town records, in 1921 William J. Blenko established the Eureka Art Glass Company as a new business for the production of colored sheet glass. In 1929 the Depression destroyed the market for stained glass windows, so Blenko introduced a tableware line which quickly became its primary business. According to published trade journal advertisements, in August of 1930 the company officially changed its name to the Blenko Glass Company.
During this period designs are simple classical forms and adaptations thereof, generated by a combination of the company's sales representatives, management and the senior finishers. No designs are definitively attributable to any particular person. The only noteworthy exception is the work of Carl Erickson, the foreman from 1937-42, to whom several designs may be tentatively attributed including the "Heavy Swedish Type."
For further reading on Blenko's early years we recommend the following book;
Blenko Glass, 1930-1953, (out of print) by Eason Eige and Rick Wilson, Antique Publications, 1987 ISBN No. 0-915410-34-6
An essential account of Blenko's origin and early years. (note: several misattributions in the color images) Includes a selection of pre-1954 Blenko catalogue pages and advertisements. Often available on AbeBooks.com
|Historic Period Overview: 1947- 1974
The Historic Period is defined by Blenko's emergence as an important figure in American glass and design history. The hiring of the company's first Design Director, Winslow Anderson, in 1947 signaled a profound and important change in Blenko's direction. At the time it was extremely forward thinking to employ a full time in-house designer, particularly for such a small company. Of equal importance, the company made a clear decision to allow designers full and unlimited creative freedom.
The Historic Period concluded as the company's efforts were eclipsed by the Studio Glass movement and further hampered by the death of William H. Blenko Sr., the guiding force of the company and son of the founder.
Books on Blenko glass for further reading:
BIG COLOR: Mid-20th Century Architectural ScaleArt Glass
by Damon Crain, Puritan Press, 2013
Defines and explores the revolutionary Architectural Scale genre introduced by Wayne Husted in 1954.
Available exclusively through vmglasshouse.com
Blenko Glass, 1930-1953
by Eason Eige and Rick Wilson, Antique Publications, 1987
Out of print but often available on AbeBooks.com
An essential account of Blenko's origin and early years.
20th Century Factory Glass
by Lesley Jackson, Rizzoli, New York , 2000
Contextualizes Blenko glass within 20th century glass production.
West Virginia Glass Between the World Wars
by Dean Six, Schiffer Publishing, Ltd 2002
Overview of 23 West Virginia glass companies, 2 pages on Blenko.
Blenko: Cool 50's & 60's Glass
Leslie Pina, Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., 2000, (revised & reissued 2006)
Note: Contains numerous factual errors, we do not recommend or endorse this book. Price guide values should be ignored.
| B. May 17, 1917, Plymouth, MA
D. Dec 10, 2007, Milton, WV
Blenko Design Director 1947-53
Responsible for new Blenko designs from 1947-1953 including all "900" series designs and all "53" prefix designs with the exception of:
#5313 jar, #5318 small vase, #5320 small bottle, #5321 bowl all by Wayne Husted
Graduated from high school at the height of the Depression and enrolled in a government sponsored program for pottery. It was through this program that he was discovered by Alfred University who encouraged him to apply.
Entered Alfred University in the fall of 1939.
Worked for Southern Potteries & Glidden Pottery while at Alfred.
From 1942 to 1946, during WWII he served in the military, posted to Long Island, NY as a cartographer.
Returned to Alfred to complete his senior year in the fall of 1946.
June 1947 conferred Bachelor of Fine Arts, magna cum laude, with Departmental Honors in Industrial Ceramic Design.
At the age of 30, immediately after graduation, began work for Blenko, June 1947.
During his 6 year tenure he created over 160 new designs for Blenko and completely re-shaped their product line.
Anderson's elegant and minimal designs were strongly influenced by the Scandinavian aesthetic and by the Bauhaus ethic of "form follows function".
In May 1953 he left to work for Lenox China and Crystal where he remained until retiring in July 1980.
|Born 1927, Hudson NY
Blenko Design Director 1953-63
Responsible for new Blenko designs from 1954-1963; all "54" through to "63" prefix design numbers, as well as four 1953 designs:
#5313 jar, #5318 small vase, #5320 small bottle, #5321 shallow bowl
Attended Mohawk College, Utica NY and Geneva College, Beaver Falls , NY.
Entered Alfred University September 23, 1948.
Conferred a Bachelor of Fine Arts June 9, 1952.
Remained in full-time attendance at Alfred until spring 1953, working towards his Masters degree.
Began working at Blenko in 1953, at the age of 26. NB: several Schiffer books as well as one website incorrectly identify 1952 as Husted's starting year based on Husted having verbally provided incorrect dates; Husted himself has confirmed what many documented sources already prove; 1953 was his first year at Blenko.
Husted's designs first appear in the 1954 Blenko catalog although in 1953 he created at least four designs (given the "53" prefix) as part of Blenko's supplemental mid-year (summer) line introduced after the year's catalog was already printed but in time to offer new material for the summer trade shows. The four that made it into 1954's full catalog are:
#5313 jar, #5318 small vase, #5320 small bottle, #5321 shallow bowl
Major contributions include pioneering the "architectural" or floor scale designs in 1954.
Master of Fine Art in Ceramic Design conferred June 1955.
Design #5942L included in the Corning Museum of Glass' seminal "Glass 1959" exhibition.
Left Blenko January 1963 after designing the 1963 line.
In his 10 year tenure at Blenko, designed over 500 items at Blenko.
After Blenko, Husted worked as an independent industrial designer working not only in glass but in many media.
|Joel Philip Myers
| Born January 29, 1934, Paterson , NJ
Blenko Design Director 1963-70
Responsible for new Blenko designs from 1964-1970 and part of 1971; all "64" through to "70" prefix design numbers, as well as the following 1971 "71" prefix designs:
711 A through F, 713, 715, 716, 717, 718, 719, 7110, 7113, 7114, 7115 S M & L, 7116, 7117, 7118, 7121, 7122, 7123, 7128 S & L, 7137, 7141, 7144
Attended Parsons School of Design, NY 1951-54, graduating with honors in the Department of Advertising Design.
Attended Kunsthaandvaerkskolen, Copenhagen, Denmark, 1957-58.
Worked as designer for Donald Deskey Association, NY 1954-57.
Entered Alfred University's Ceramics program in 1960.
Conferred a Bachelor of Fine Art degree in June, 1962.
Began working at Blenko in the spring of 1963.
Received Award of Merit in the Museum of Contemporary Craft's national exhibition "Craftsmen USA."
Received Jury Award and two Purchase Awards for works of glass submitted to the Toledo Glass National II, sponsored by the Toledo Museum.
Conferred a Masters of Fine Art in June 1968.
During his 7 year tenure at Blenko, designed over 400 items.
Left Blenko in early 1970 to accept a position as Professor of Art at Illinois State University, Normal, IL where he founded the glass department.
| Born May 15, 1939 in Minneapolis, MN
Blenko Design Director 1970-1974
Responsible for new Blenko designs from 1971 (part) -1974; all "72" through to "74" prefix design numbers, as well as the following 1971 "71" prefix designs:
712 S M & L, 714, 7111, 7112, 7119, 7120, 7124 S M & L, 7125, 7126, 7127, 7143 S M & L, 7177
Bachelor of Science from Montana State University, Bozeman, MO, 1964.
Conferred a Masters of Fine Art from Alfred University in June 1969.
Began working at Blenko in 1970.
Introduced the first Blenko designs to include an internal colorway; the Charisma line.
During his 4 year tenure at Blenko, designed over 150 items.
Left in 1974 to accept a position as Associate Master of Design, Drawing, Sculpture, Ceramics and Glass at Georgian College of Art and Technology, Barrie, Ontario, Canada.
|Post-Historic Period: 1975 Onwards
The work of this period, covering three different designers, is distinguished by a more production-oriented output and, with few exceptions, lacking the experimental possibilities and innovation of the Historic Period. The most noteworthy work in this period was that of Hank Adams, an acclaimed Studio Glass artist. Though in much diminished capacity, Blenko is still making stained glass, architectural glass and decorative wares today. Post-Historic Period designers include:
Born October 9, 1930 in Eureka , CA
Died February 23, 2002
Blenko Design Director 1974-1988
Responsible for new Blenko designs from 1975-1989
Blenko Design Director 1988-1994
Responsible for new Blenko designs from 1989-1994
Blenko Design Director from 1994-2002
Responsible for new Blenko designs from 1994-2002
Designers: The Blenko 4 -- Physical Characteristics -- Signatures & Labels -- Numbers & Names
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