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Article: Morgantown Glassware Guild - Decor Glass

by Gene Cooper

 

The Morgantown Glassware Guild was a commercial glass manufacturer located in Morgantown, West Virginia.  The company began in 1899 as the Morgantown Glass Works; it closed in 1971.  The company experienced several name changes and was known as the Morgantown Glass Works, Economy Tumbler Company, Economy Glass Company, and the Morgantown Glassware Guild. 

 

A display of Morgantown Decor Glass was presented at the HOAGC Glass Show in March 2008 and at the NDGA Glass Show in July 2008.  The display can be viewed by clicking on the PICTURES word.  The glass displayed is from the company’s final incarnation—the Morgantown Glassware Guild (1939 to 1971).  The company produced two distinct product lines during these years.  Glass made during the Institutional Years (1939-1957) focused on crystal and tableware that was sold to institutional customers (which included bars, hotels, railways, restaurants, and steamship lines). 

 

Glass made during the Decor Years (1958 to 1971) included a rainbow of vibrant colors.  A company pamphlet of the time, The Fire That Never Dies, said the following about their company:  “Most of the hand-blown table glassware made by Morgantown goes into the home, owned and prized by people all over the world.  Stemware and goblets and vases and pitchers and candle holders and all sorts of other fine glassware come from our factory.  Actually, we have molds and equipment to produce some 5,000 different items.”

 

The Decor line reflects the decorating tastes of the 1950s and 1960s.  Your first memory of that time period may be of the avocado green and muted orange colors.  The glass made by Morgantown certainly does not reflect that esthetic—the glass included a high quality lead that gave it a clear and vibrant look.  The Decor line featured glassware in modern shapes and brilliant colors.  It was described at the time as “being consistent with contemporary trends for bold and innovative design in all of the decorative arts”.  

 

Items displayed represent the broad variety of items that Morgantown made during this time period.  The display includes Barware sets of Martini Mixers and Glasses, Decanters, Candlelights, Vases, Bowls, and Covered Boxes.

 

Interesting items on display include…

·    Items from the glass line called the President’s House.  This glass was made and purchased by Jacqueline Kennedy for use in the White House during the John F. Kennedy administration.

·    Hang One On glasses—one for a man and one for a woman.  Take note that the glass has no bottom or foot.  The glass hung on either a chain (man) or pearl necklace (woman) for use at a party.  Such a fun way to not lose one’s glass at a party!

·    Bowls and vases from the Free Form glass line.  Each form is made free hand and stretched into shape.  Only one glass blower made this glass during the history of the company.  No two forms are identical.

·    Glass in the hard to find Bristol Blue, Baby Blue, and Thistle colors.

 

For more information on Morgantown glass, go to www.oldmorgantown.org.  This is the website for the Old Morgantown Glass Collectors’ Guild, a national club of Morgantown glass collectors.