Breaking News: Blenko Glass lamps from 1947-1963 to be reintroduced by Rejuvenation this fall

I just read an Associated Press story about what’s hot this fall in home decor — American VintageMidcentury Modern … and Graphic Modern are three of six trends profiled — retro remains pivotal! — and I also saw in the story that Rejuvenation this fall will introduce a new line of Blenko glass table lamps. And — they look to be in some of our favorite colors: A cobalt/peacock blue… avocado green… and amber. The line includes two reproductions of Blenko Glass lamps — the Cylinder and the Round — introduced between 1947 and 1953 Blenko Design Director Winslow Anderson. The Carafe lamp (the one in the center?, I think — and my favorite) is based on the Blenko 920 decanter also introduced in the ’47-’53 time frame. The other two designs in the Rejuvenation collection — the Wave and Flare lamps — were introduced between 1953 and 1953 by Design Director Wayne Husted.

In all, Rejuvenation says, there were 170 pieces of decorative Blenko glass introduced into the marketplace between 1947 and 1953… and another 500 pieces between 1953 and 1963. Funny, I was just talking about seeing Blenko glass everywhere at the antique shops when I visited Florida recently. So very I Dream of Jeannie.

Here is the info I just received from Rejuv:

Rejuvenation, known for its historically accurate, American-made ceiling and wall-mount fixtures, is adding a new lighting category to its assortment: table and floor lamps. For the first two groups of what will become an expansive offering, Rejuvenation has partnered with the historically significant original manufacturer Blenko to recreate their designs.

First as Eureka Glass Company and later as Blenko Glass Company, the Blenko family has been making translucent colored glass by hand in Milton, West Virginia, since 1921. The company’s tableware – vases and decanters – formed the basis for its first line of lamps in 1950. The lamps’ bold colors, large scale, and sensuous shapes were a hit among young, modern homeowners of the time. Rejuvenation believes in their relevance and appeal for today and forged a partnership with the glass manufacturer.

The Blenko assortment includes five mid-century glass table lamps. Each handcrafted lamp has its own distinct shape (Cylinder, Round, Flare, Wave, and Carafe), offered in a variety of vibrant colors. What were originally decanter stoppers are used as decorative finials (a Blenko hallmark). The lamps also include an adjustable harp, sustainably harvested Eastern walnut wood base, and drum shade in burlap, black linen, or ivory linen. Prices begin at $450.

The Blenko pieces are produced using traditional glassmaking methods and proprietary formulas, bringing back some colors that haven’t been made in several decades. A six-person team crafts every glass vessel by hand, mixing sand and minerals, blowing the form into a mold, and perfecting the final shape. It is a labor-intensive process, which results in a spectacularly colored, finely proportioned lamp body. Rejuvenation then wires, assembles, and finishes each lamp by hand in its Portland, Oregon facility.

We will also offer the small bud vase in three colors for $58

Rejuv says these will be available mid-November 2012. No info yet on pricing.

Bud vases, too!

Another very cool detail from these lamps: The Blenko finial on the top. I luv.

Link: For now, only teaser photos of Blenko lamps from Rejuvenation.

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Comments

  1. RetroSandie says

    OOH! Can’t wait to see everything in the line!! Love that Blenko! (I may just have to start collecting cobalt AGAIN!!!!!!!

    • Brian says

      I was born and raised in Milton, WV, home of Blenko Glass. I had several relatives who worked for Blenko their entire lives. My next-door neighbor in elementary school was Joel Myers; I was the same age and in the same class as his daughter Sarah. My neighbor on the other side of the street was the Blenko family themselves. My 8th grade home ec teacher was Jean Blenko.

      Milton is a quaint little town and I highly recommend anyone who is interested in Blenko Glass and in the area stop by and visit the factory and the store. It is a true step back into the midcentury modern era (the original part of the store, anyway) and quite fascinating and fun.

      Milton is a small, poor town in a small, poor state. Blenko allowed (and still allows) many families a shot at a good, middle-class lifestyle including homeownership for a long, long time. In 2011 Blenko filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection due to declining sales and astronomical natural gas prices in an unfortunate contract and many feared it was the end of the line for a local company that has been blowing handmade glass since 1893 and played an important role in artistic movements in midcentury America.

      The fact that Blenko has been awarded a contract to produce these lamps for Rejuvenation is nothing but good news for the people of Milton who live and/or work with Blenko Glass. Blenko is making a comeback and that is a very good thing. Maybe an inconvenience for collectors and resellers who hope to make top dollar off their collections but it will help keep Blenko open and producing and benefit many, many families in an era of high unemployment and great financial suffering. It will also expand the popularity of these great handblown glass designs that have held their artistic merit for over 60 years. That is a good thing too I would say.

      I just wanted to offer a different perspective here. Thanks for all your wonderful hard work Pam!

        • Brian says

          I was happy to share some of my personal history with Blenko. My stepfather’s brother-in-law (how’s that for a complex family connection, lol) was a glassblower at Blenko and I have a few pieces that he made that were never released.

          I also have a nice, small collection of glass from the 40′s through the 60′s in cobalt, amber, red, various greens, and a few purple pieces.

          I didn’t appreciate it near enough when I was younger since much of it was hand-me-downs from relatives who were redecorating or thinning out their own staff of stuff. Now I just love my Blenko collection — I have it in every room of my apartment, near the windows so the sunlight can bring out the beautiful colors — and I add a new piece every so often when I go back home to visit.

          I’m so happy to see Blenko’s popularity and excited by the new line. I think I will purchase a couple of these lamps myself.

      • Angelina says

        Thanks for sharing this with us! It’s great to know that these new releases will benefit American families during a terrible economic time. I can’t wait to buy my first Blenko pieces!

      • Sputnik Housewares says

        Brian, if the lamps are actually made in WV will be a HUGE deal for Blenko and the community. I am just wary of Rejuvenation’s vague press release. They make a big deal about mentioning “hand made, labor intensive, proprietory formulas, ect but don’t actually say they will be made in the Blenko factory in WV. They do however, mention being wired and assembled in Portland, OR. I’m just worried that this so called partnership is just licensing rights to produce them in China. I haven’t seen a peep on the Blenko website or the Herald-Dispatch which one would expect especially during the Festival of Glass. If this is just an oversight I will applaud Rejuvenation for a true manufacturing partnership, otherwise I will remain skeptical. Blenko glass is amazing, let’s hope for the best!

        • pam kueber says

          Sputnik, now I better understand you concern/question. I have emailed my PR contact at Rejuvenation and asked her to clarify exactly who will be making the glass, where.

        • says

          Hi Sputnik,
          Rejuvenation’s collaboration with Blenko is a true partnership. Blenko blows the glass vessels for us, in West Virginia, using the same traditional methods they always have. The glass is not made in China. They then ship the vessels to Rejuvenation where they are assembled and wired by our team of craftspeople, on site in our factory in Portland, Oregon.This partnership is a really exciting opportunity to bring back these quality American-made designs.

          Thanks,
          Rejuvenation

          • sputnik housewares says

            Thanks, just got an email back from the Blenko VP confirming the same thing! I am really happy to hear this especially since there are so many Blenko and Murano fakes out there these day. Congrats!

      • joanmassey says

        Thanks for the great story on the Blenko family business. I think it is wonderful that good jobs will stay there and provide for families and lovers of hand blown glass. Here in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada we have a hand blown glass operation in our Historic Properties. Tourists love to stop and watch. It is a wonderful craft.

      • John says

        Wow, that post is pretty much the definition of “internet smackdown”. I live walking distance to Rejuvination’s factory, and I can tell you that a similar ethos pervades their organization, and hopefully that will continue with their sale to W&Sonoma. They’re a great steward of the local community, pay actual wages to their employees and above all make an incredible product.

        Thanks for the info on Blenko; hopefully this will be a long-standing partnership. If someone’s ‘collectable’ has a little less value and that upsets them, then they need to seriously reevaluate their priorities.

      • julie T says

        Thanx for your Positive prospective…… it will help many who are on the fence.. about purchasing new blenko………and in your small town USA!!!!
        It is made in the US!! Yippee

      • jay says

        Brian, thanks for the story on Blenko. I had no idea they had filed for bankruptcy protection. I have a few newer pieces from the 80-90s that I purchased new. Glad to know that they will be producing the new lamps. I have never seen one of the old ones. I remember a documentary on Blenko that was produced for PBS several years ago – the colors, so bold and vivid.

  2. lynda says

    Absolutely gorgeous. I think these will be a big hit. I remember buying Blenko vases in the 60′s. Of course, I did not save them.

  3. carolynapplebee says

    i must have one of the green ones………….no, two or three of the green ones………………….

  4. Jamie D says

    These are beautiful. I’ll take one of each, please!

    (not really…but maybe just one in that gorgeous peacock blue. Stunning.)

  5. Bob says

    I love Blenko Glass. We’ve collected my partner and I since 1987.
    I use Damon Crain and Dr Hillery Homburg as my Blenko experts.I will send this announcement to Hillery
    she writes a blog for a Milton newspaper daily that I read.
    Wonderful news for a failing factory in need of a lot of new orders.
    Great News.
    Katie Tripp is an awesome manager.

  6. dave coster says

    As an antiques dealer, I am interested in all things reproduced. How will we know the difference-heighth, shading, width?

    • says

      Hi Dave,
      There are subtle differences between the original Blenko lights and the lights we have partnered with Blenko to make today. Many of the differences came about simply because of the availability of materials. The new lamps have an adjustable harp, just like the originals, but it’s a little different because the original parts are no longer available. Our bases are made from sustainably harvested walnut, and the shades will have the same hand-rolled edges. We focused on the beauty of the original designs and worked with Blenko to add subtle nuances to bring them into the modern market.

  7. says

    One of these clear lamps would be the perfect lighting option for the top of our vintage Zenith walnut stereo consul that sits against our window wall looking out to the Puget Sound. The glass body would not obstruct the view!

  8. JSNW says

    A lamp would be the perfect addition to the library in our 1912 Craftsman Bungalow home. We have two Blenko vases (that I scored at a thrift store for $10) and their beautiful colors add just the right touch in our home. I love mixing midcentury touches with an overall craftsman aesthetic.

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