Glassmaker William Blenko Born in England: December 8, 1854
Glassmaker William Blenko was born in England on December 8, 1854. In his late thirties, he immigrated to the United States and tried to produce stained glass for a living. Unfortunately, business after business failed—until he wound up in the Cabell County town of Milton in 1921.
In this late sixties, Blenko finally became an overnight success. His factory began shipping stained glass across the United States and to Europe. The business rolled along until the Great Depression nearly wiped him out. Blenko realized that diversification was the key to survival, so in 1930, he added a line of decorative glassware that would make Blenko famous.
When William Blenko died in 1933, the company transitioned seamlessly in the hands of his son, William H. Blenko, Sr. Over the years, Blenko glassware would be featured in Time, National Geographic, and House and Garden magazines.
Today, the Blenko factory still operates in Milton. Blenko stained glass can be found in Washington’s National Cathedral and the U.S. Air Force Academy chapel in Colorado, among other places. Blenko Glass also manufactures trophies for the annual Country Music Awards.