Elwood Antiques Fenton Carnival Glass History 

Fenton Glass Company, founded in 1905 by Frank L. Fenton and his brother John W. Fenton, holds a significant place in the history of glassmaking. With its humble beginnings in glass decoration, the company quickly evolved into a prominent glass manufacturer, introducing innovative techniques and patterns that would shape the industry for years to come. Fenton's pioneering spirit and commitment to quality have cemented its legacy as a leader in the field.


Frank L. Fenton, having gained experience working for various glass manufacturers, embarked on his own venture in 1905. With the assistance of his brother John, Fenton Glass Company was established, initially focusing on glass decoration. However, recognizing the potential for growth, the company soon shifted its operations to glass production at its current location in Williamstown, West Virginia.


In 1907, Fenton Glass Company achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first company to introduce iridized glass. This groundbreaking innovation, known as "Venetian Art," captivated the market with its shimmering and iridescent appearance. Fenton's iridized glass quickly gained popularity and became synonymous with the Carnival glass style.


Among Fenton's earliest and most iconic patterns in Carnival glass were Waterlily and Cattails, Vintage, Butterfly and Berries, Peacock Tail, Ribbon Tie, Wreath of Roses, Thistle, and Diamond and Rib vases. These patterns showcased the company's exceptional craftsmanship and attention to detail, further solidifying Fenton's reputation as a premier glass manufacturer.


In the early 1920s, Fenton Glass Company introduced a highly sought-after color in Carnival glass: red. This vibrant hue added a new dimension to the already dazzling array of colors available, captivating collectors and enthusiasts alike. Additionally, Fenton expanded its product line in the late 1920s with the introduction of stretch glass, a unique and distinctive style that showcased the company's commitment to innovation.


However, the Great Depression took its toll on Fenton Glass Company, leading to a halt in the production of iridized glass during the early 1930s. Despite this setback, the company persevered and continued to produce glassware, adapting to the changing market demands. It was not until 1970 that Fenton reintroduced iridized glass with their "Original Formula Carnival," a testament to their unwavering dedication to preserving their heritage.


To this day, Fenton Glass Company remains a prominent figure in the glassmaking industry. They continue to reissue some of their original patterns untill closing in 2011.

Author: Dennis Stanford 

Elwood Antiques