Blenko visitor center. Visit blenko website at www.blenko.com
The company's name comes from William Blenko, a British glass maker, who shipped glass to American stained glass studios. He came to the United States in 1893 and started a glass making business in Kokomo, Indiana, producing glass for church windows and related uses.
He returned to England in 1904 and then made two more attempts to establish a factory in the United States. He used British glass workers in Point Marion, Pennsylvania, in 1909, and Clarksburg, West Virginia, in 1913, but was unable to make a success of these operations.
In 1921 at the age of 68 he began a new effort in Milton, Wv., and was joined by his son, William H. Blenko, the following year. Seven years later at the height of the depression, William H. Blenko could see the necessity of producing some other product, and secured the services of two experienced Swedish glass workers. This enabled the company to enter a new, wider, and highly promising field of handmade decorative glass. William Blenko died in 1934, but he had lived to see the tide change. The decorative accessories and the beautiful stained glass windows utilizing Blenko glass are now known all over America. This tradition has been continued by William H. Blenko, Jr., who joined the company in 1946 and his son Richard D. Blenko, who joined the firm in 1976. In 200_ Walter Blenko joined the company and took on the role of the president. Walter Blenko currently serves as the President of Blenko Glass. He and his son, Andy are continuing the gracious custom of glass signing for Blenko.
The factory attracts thousands of visitors every year from all over the United States as well as foreign countries. Here they can watch the molten glass take its final form as Blenko craftsmen practice their skilled art. The Visitor Center at Blenko glass features a Designer's Corner of nine leading stained glass windows and the Blenko Museum of historic glass. Marion Blenko (mother of Bill and wife of William Blenko) worked tirelessly to make the blenko gift shop and visitor center a success. When she took over the role, the gift shop or visitor center were not busy and were mundane. She used blenko employees to create a luscious garden with unique plants, a place for rest and relaxation in mist of a busy day. Mr Joel P Myes later designed the "Garden of Glass" which surrounds the garden and a three acre lake.