How To Identify Blenko

Welcome to Blenko, whether you’re a longtime, multi-generational collector or a brand new fan! Blenko is a storied, 130-year-old glass company that has stood the test of time – long after its deep bench of peers in West Virginia’s once-thriving glass industry fell by the wayside. We suspect the secret to our success is the handmade nature of our glass – we make the glass from scratch, design our wares onsite, carve our cherrywood moulds from hand tools, inspect each piece that comes off the lehr, and pack it carefully by hand. From Milton, WV, to the world – our new century modern design bridges past and future.

As a company with more than one hundred years of handmade production, you’ll be forgiven for wondering – “Is this Blenko?” To be sure, the overwhelmingly most common question we have about glass is just that – “Is this Blenko?”

Blenko’s design and colors have been fairly singular over the last eighty years of tableware manufacture – we are known for our risk-taking design and midcentury organicism in form, as well as our super-saturated stained glass color palette. Identifying Blenko starts with color and form – and collectors quickly develop a ‘sixth sense’ for whether or not the piece they admire is, in fact, Blenko Glass.

That said, we have always marked our glass in keeping with other American glass manufacturers – that is, with an applied sticker that features our ‘hand’made design. We have changed the shape, size, and finish on that sticker over the years – more on this in the next blog!! – but if the sticker remains on the glass, that can help you identify our work. Since the early 2000s, we have sandblasted the bottom of all of our wares, so that in case the sticker is no longer affixed, there is no question that the beautiful glass object you’re beholding is Blenko.

A terrific baseline resource for learning about our brand, our design and aesthetic, our color palettes, and our wares is to read our selection of historical trade catalogs. View catalogs on our website at Originally designed to provide an overview of the year’s design and color offerings to wholesale retailers, these catalogs are omnibuses of each year’s design – although, as die-hard collectors will tell you, there are plenty of wares over the years that didn’t “make the catalog.”

You are almost certainly wondering, though – and you’d be forgiven! – do we authenticate your glass? Can we, at Blenko, answer that most pressing question: Is This Blenko?

The perhaps disappointing answer is - no, sadly, we cannot. Eighty years of designs, and colors, and finishes, and whimsies means that Blenko is a subject of study unto itself. The collectors we admire – who give their help so wonderfully and freely in online fan and collector groups – earned that deep knowledge through sheer, hard study over years. There are very few folks out there with the kind of encyclopaedic knowledge that would allow them to quickly, helpfully answer every “Is this Blenko?”question.

At Blenko, we’re busy every day training up the new generation of legacy American glassblowers, working on trying and pioneering new designs, working hard to get our glass across your doorstep and into your home. Blenko has survived – and you’re helping us thrive! We are always keeping one foot planted in our rich tradition and history, and striding forward with the other into a brave new future of handmade American art glass. Thanks for your support!

Director of Creative at Blenko

-James Arnett