following article is the first in a series written by American carnival glass
collector Bob Grissom. It is reproduced with Bob’s kind permission. There
are other articles by Bob on Northwood and Millersburg.
Original Carnival Glass
Makers - Fenton Art Glass Company
by Bob Grissom
were the companies that made this inexpensive iridized glass which later
became known as carnival glass? Between the years of 1907 thru 1925 eight
Companies produced the major portion of the glass, Fenton, Northwood,
Imperial, Dugan/Diamond., Millersburg, Westmoreland, U.S. Glass (which
was a conglomerate of several companies), and Cambridge. Other companies iridized a small amount of glass.
Frank L. Fenton
(pictured at right) and his brother John W. Fenton were the principal
founders of the Fenton Art Glass Company of Williamstown, West Virginia.
The company has been in continuous operation since it's
founding in 1906, and started producing iridized glass in 1907 and
continued until sometime around 1925. They produced a great many forms of
coloured pressed glass during this period, Many of these pieces are
considered very collectable today. But, their major production was the
with all of the companies that produced carnival glass, most pieces can
be identified as being made by a particular maker due to certain
characteristics, ie, colour, pattern, shape,
edges, and back pattern.
Colours: Fenton made
the usual colours of amethyst, cobalt blue, green, marigold, and white.
Pieces in cobalt blue and marigold are easily found in a large majority
of their patterns. Of the usual colours, amethyst pieces are the most
difficult to find. Green and white pieces are available, but not in all
patterns. Fenton made a limited number of pieces in amber, aqua
opalescent, custard, lime Green, lime green opalescent, moonstone, peach
opalescent, red, and vaseline. Their production
of carnival glass was noteworthy for having produced most of the red
pieces. Red pieces were made in a very limited quantity, and they have
always been some of the more sought after carnival glass items. Aqua
opalescent is another favourite colour of the carnival glass collector,
but the Fenton pieces are not as popular as those made by Northwood.
Patterns: More than 150
different carnival glass patterns are attributed to Fenton. Two patterns,
‘Butterfly & Berry’ (pictured at left) and ‘Orange Tree’ are found on more pieces than any other. These two
patterns can be found on either the front or back of various pieces. Some
of the best known animal and bird patterns came from the Fenton factory.
Patterns such as ‘Kittens’, ‘Lion’, ‘Panther’, ‘Dragon & Lotus’,
Dragon & Strawberry’, ‘Peacock & Dahlia’, ‘Peacock & Grape’,
‘Stag & Holly’ and ‘Peacock & Urn’. Many of their patterns follow
an oriental theme, and the ‘Bearded Berry’ pattern is used as the back
pattern on many of the pieces.
The saw-tooth fluted edge is used on many of the pieces. In addition,
either the six or eight ruffles, the 3-in-1, ice cream
shape (ICS), and the candy ribbon edge (tight crimp) were also
added. Fenton pieces with the pie crust edge (PCE) are not very often
found. A distinct characteristic of Fenton plates is that they are more
flat than those made by the other makers.
Note: Of course, Fenton is still alive and well and manufacturing glass
in Williamstown, West Virginia, USA. You can visit Fenton’s Internet site
by clicking here to find out
more about their history and what they are doing right now.