The Glassworks at Millersburg, Ohio.
By Glen & Stephen Thistlewood, August 2023. © 2023
In 1908, John Fenton (brother of Frank Fenton) chose to part company with the Fenton Art Glass Co. family business in Williamstown, West Virginia, to begin building his own glassworks - the Millersburg Glass Company - in Millersburg, Ohio. The new glassworks was constructed on virgin land amid the lovely, rolling hills of Holmes County. Abundant natural gas and sand and a railroad track passing close by were helpful factors in the location. As “blue-sky thinking” goes, it was surely right out there (in more ways than one). The site was many miles (and hours of travel) away from the cluster of other major glassworks along the Ohio River, including Northwood at Wheeling, Imperial at Bellaire and his own family’s business, Fenton, at Williamstown.
Left: construction of the furnace stack (which was around 125 feet high). Photo courtesy of the Millersburg Glass Museum.
Below: the aptly named "Regal" carnival glass assortment ad in the Butler Brothers wholesale catalogue, Spring 1911.
It’s fair to say that the Carnival Glass produced during the short operation of the plant by John Fenton, was extraordinarily beautiful.
Above left to right: Millersburg Courthouse bowl in amethyst (radium iridescence), Ohio Star vase, purple (courtesy Seeck auctions), Cherries bowl in green.
Plan of the Millersburg, Ohio works in 1914.
Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, 1914, showing The Radium Glass Company building in Millersburg, OH. The building was said to be "modern", and construction was concrete and iron clad. Fire protection was provided by "One Hand Engine. Two Hose Carts, One Hook & Ladder Truck". Public Domain.
The glassworks at Millersburg, Ohio was undoubtedly an outlier; as a glass making site it lasted barely four years. Less than two years after the Millersburg Company had opened, problems began to arise and in June 1911 it was declared bankrupt. We explain the short life of John Fenton's enterprise on our website here: Millersburg - the Rise and Fall.
Toward the end of that year a new owner (Samuel Fair) was in place and the business name was changed to The Radium Glass Company of Millersburg. As the Sanborn Fire Map from 1914 (above), shows, this new venture didn’t last either – as the glassworks is shown as closed. There was another attempted comeback later by Jefferson Glass Company producing lighting, but this was shut down in 1916.
All the information about Millersburg on our website, including Carnival Glass Galleries, is linked from the Millersburg Homepage. Click on the image below.