| Items created to imitate Blenko designs are primarily either Italian (Empoli region) or by Blenko's local competitors, particularly the Bischoff Glass Company less than two miles away.
Authentic Blenko will not differ significantly from the catalog illustrations. Most imitations and similar glass are easily distinguished from original Blenko designs because the shapes, dimensions and colors are all at least slightly incorrect.
The production of other contemporaneous West Virginia glasshouses (and a bit farther afield, in the Ohio Valley) is often mistakenly attributed to Blenko as they share similar basic characteristics (bright colors, simple forms, rough pontils) and because they were often influenced by or copied Blenko's designs. Blenko's agents often also represented competitors and as Blenko was the market leader in hand blown tableware in America the agents often encouraged their other clients to emulate Blenko.
There is comparatively little accessible public information on Blenko's competitors, as such people are more familiar with Blenko and therefore often incorrectly label all similar blown glass as Blenko.
Further complicating matters, Wayne Husted also designed some items for other glass companies after Blenko; Colony of Italy and the Bischoff Glass Co, later bought by Indiana Glass, and later named Greenwich Flint Craft, etc. Husted's non-Blenko designs exhibit a similar aesthetic sensibility, though the forms tend to be simpler and less well developed.
Distinguishing Characteristics of Fakes & Similar:
- Empoli items usually lack pontil marks, more at Physical Characteristics page.
- Stopper stems are often not fully ground or not ground at all.
- Empoli items often have mold lines where there should be none.
stoppers will often have a flange between the stem and upper body.
- colors are either notably different from Blenko's or were simply not in a color range that Blenko produced at the time that the original Blenko design was in production. See our Catalogs page to see what years a given design was made and our Colors page for information on what years each color was made.
Companies' whose work is commonly mistaken for Blenko:
Empoli (Italy), numerous companies from the region
Erickson Glassworks, OH
Greenwich Flint Craft, IN
|Fakes & Similar: The Worst Offenders
|Click each image to enlarge in a new window
Below each image:
- Blenko design number
- height listed in the Blenko catalog (dimensions often vary by 1")
- years of production
- who made the "other" followed by distinguishing characteristics
L, Blenko: #921M, 9.5" 1949-57
R, Fake: Pilgrim #60, 9"
L, Blenko: 921, 12", 1949-54
R, Fake: Empoli 12-16"
L, Blenko: #949, 7" 1949-54
R, Fake: Bischoff #411, 6.5"
L, Blenko: 948, 13", 1949-61
R, Fake: Empoli, Erickson, Pilgrim
L, Blenko: 955L, 17.5" long, 1950-68
R, Fake: Viking, 15" long, even & directional swirl, instead of freeform, underside has ringed base instead of polished flat
Note: same applies to smaller version, 955M
L, Blenko: 5427S, 13.5", 1954-58
R, Fake: Empoli 15.5", no pontil
L, Blenko: 5427L, 25"
R, Fake: Empoli 25in, Pilgrim #19, 21"
L, Blenko: 5433, 10", 1954-75 & new reissue
R, Fake: Empoli, 12-16", fins pointy instead of flat, often crystal body and colored eyes & fins
L, New Chinese: 2 sizes: 8"L and 13"L, also made all colorless
R: Empoli: 14-15"H, 12"L
L, Blenko: 5510S, 12"
R, Fake: Empoli 14"
L, Blenko: 5521, 10.75", 1955-57
R, Fake: Empoli, 13", stopper is hollow and not concave with folded rim like the 5521, no pontil
L, Blenko: 563, 14", 1956-58
R, Fake: Empoli, 15", taller and narrower, cone shaped stopper, no pontil
L, Blenko: 564, 18.25", 1956-61
R, Fake: Empoli, 19-24", no pontil
L, Blenko: 5710, 15", 1957-59
R, Fake: Empoli
L, Blenko: 581, 12.25", 1958 only, always signed
R, Fake: Empoli, 14"
L, Blenko: 5922S, 14.25", 1959-61
R, Fake: Empoli, no pontil
L, Blenko: 5931, 14", 1959-60
Center, Fake: Kanawha #717, 13.5in,
R, Fake: Viking #7259, 11in
L, Blenko: 5937, 22.75", 1959-60, always signed
R, Fake: Empoli, 18-23in, no pontil, stopper not fully ground, thin rim on stopper
L, Blenko: 6027, 17", 1960-69
R, Fake: Empoli, always crystal stopper closed at top
L, Blenko: 6122S, 16.5", 1961-64
R, Fake: Empoli, 16-18"
L, Blenko: 6213, 22.75", 1962-64
R, Fake: Empoli, 22", square stopper, very visible mold lines
L, Blenko: 6215, 19", 1962-64
R, Fake: Empoli, 18", not always with fruit motif on bottom, stopper is textured
L, Blenko: 639, 14", 1963-64
R, Fake: Empoli, 14.5", extra leaf, lower right, somtimes bird or grape motif instead of flower
L, Blenko: 6310, 14", 1963-64
R, Fake: Empoli, one fewer small 'bump'
L, Blenko: 6315, 15.75", 1963 only
R, Fake: Empoli, evenly stippled surface
L, Blenko: 6525, 13.25", 1965-66
R, Fake: Empoli, stopper under head missing attaching glass blob
L, Blenko: 6533, 17.25", 1965-66
R, Fake: Empoli, 17", stopper stem hollow
L, Blenko: 6611, 13", 1966 only
R, Fake: Empoli, 14.25", textured surface is geometric & linear rather than wavy
L, Blenko: 6625, 7.75", 1966 only
R, Fake: Empoli, often seen without lid
L, Blenko: 6629, 12.5", 1966-67
R, Fake: Empoli, stopper sits lower in neck and not fully ground, lighter, thinner glass
L, Blenko: Gump's decanter, 11.5", 1964, always signed
R, Fake: Empoli, 13-13.5"
|Blenko designs for which fakes or similar designs are known
Listed by Blenko design number, after the color is listed the source of the fake/similar and distinguishing characteristics
Particularly common or confusing ones bolded
- 3626S "web" ball vase, unknown: flange collar
- 3627L leaf beaker, Italian and similar leaf designs by Bonita, WV
- 3749G double ring glasses, American (attrib. Bonita, WV): rings molded to glass & same color
- 428 footed urn vase, Sea Glass (Sweden): lighter, thinner glass
- 469 footed vase, Bischoff WV: much larger & wider
- 473 flared cylindrical vase with "wings", Bischoff WV and others: body narrows towards top or straight cylinder body
- W492 "winged" vase, unknown
- 902 floating candle holders, Ekenas (Sweden)
- 903-2 two dent vase, Pilgrim WV
- 903-4 four dent vase, Pilgrim WV
- 920 conical decanter with teardrop stopper, Italian, Pilgrim WV & others
- 921 dented vase, Bischoff WV & Italian (pre-dates Blenko's)
- 947 crimped vase or rose bowl, Pilgrim WV & others
- 948 bent neck decanter, Pilgrim WV, Italian, & Erickson OH
- 949 dented vase, Bischoff WV & others
- 951 slant ashtray with blob rest, Erickson OH & Steuben NY
- 952 & 953 epergne, Italian
- 955L "Asymmetrical Bowl" or free-form bowl, Viking Glass WV
- 5411 conical footed compote, Italian
- 542 oval iron molded vase, Scruff (Sweden)
- 5422 vase with abstract blown-out design, Chalet (Canada): dimensions and shape of design different
- 5427 gurgle decanter. Italian & others: less space between bulbous bulges in body
- 5433 fish vase, Italian: colored fins, crystal body
-5510 kitty decanter, Italian: fatter body, taller (pre-dates Blenko's)
- 5521 narrow waist cylinder decanter, Italian: larger, hollow & enclosed stopper
- 563 "mushroom" or barbell shaped decanter, Italian: harrower, non-ground stopper
- 564 high collar teardrop decanter with reverse teardrop stopper, Italian: non-ground stopper, collar usually to short & wide
- 5710 pitcher, Italian: lighter, thinner glass, form not well defined
- 5716 vase, Bischoff WV decanter version, narrower with clear stopper
- 5720 Napoleon decanter, Italian: flange top on body, stopper has no cut-outs
- 5727 ball vase on tall trumpet foot, Italian: glass thinner & lighter, top not ball shaped
- 581 "echoes" chalice, Italian: top shape narrows in rather than flaring out
- 5825 twisted decanter, Italian
- 599 long split-bottle bowl, Erickson OH
- 5922S decanter, Italian: stopper not fully ground
- 5931 doughnut decanter, Kanawah WV & Bischoff WV: central indentation not fully pronounced and not the impression of a full circle, just an indentation
- 5937 cone stopper decanter, Italian: no pontil, stopper not fully ground
- 5940 vase with four blobs, Whitefriars (UK): shorter
- 6027 shot glass stopper decanter, unkown: clear stopper, closed at top
- 6122 flame stopper bell bottom decanter, Italian: stem and flange on stopper, flange top on bottle
- 6211 footed ball decanter, Italian: stem and foot crystal or different color
- 6213 obelisk decanter, Italian & Greenwich Flint Craft IN: square stopper or round body
- 6215 textured flame decanter, Italian: flange on unground stopper stem
- 6212 footed flame stopper genie decanter, Italian: fatter stopper often a flange on neck or stopper
- 6228 textured decanter, Italian: lower "cube" portion of base missing
- 6310 ovoid bumps decanter, Italian: one fewer "bump" in body design, mold lines on stopper
- 6315 broad flattened decanter, Italian: evenly stippled surface (like hammered metal) and unground stopper stem, often with plastic
- 639 molded decanter with flower line drawing, Italian: extra leaf on flower stem, aslo sometimes with bird or grape design instead of flower
- Gumps (1964) Gumps applied band decanter, unknown: narrower band, air twist stopper, flange top neck, also a fake vase version
- 6416 decanter, Italian usually cased glass
- 6525 figural lady decanter, Italian: unground stopper, stopper under head missing attaching glass blob, face features different
- 6533 ball decanter with ball stopper, Italian
- 6625 clown vase, Italian: lacks "ruffled" rim, often has a lid
- 6629 ship's decanter, Italian: stopper sits lower in neck and not fully ground
- 6937 bottle, Greenwich Flint Craft, IN: shorter, with longer neck
- 7020 mushroom paperweights, Viking WV , Kanawha WV and many others
- 7042 conical footed compote, Italian and Erickson, OH
- 7043S conical footed ball vase, Italian and Erickson, OH
- 7118 decanter with reverse teardrop body and stopper, Italian: teardrop rather than reverse teardrop stopper
|Further Reading: Books on Similar Glass Companies
Various monographs & catalog reprints available from The West Virginia Museum of American Glass, from their website
West Virginia Glass Between the World Wars, by Dean Six, Schiffer Publishing, Ltd 2002, ISBN 0-7643-1546-3
Overview of the work of 23 WV glass companies, 2 pages on Blenko. Useful for contextualizing Blenko's early years within WV glass production.
Viking Glass 1944-1970, by Dean Six, Schiffer Publishing, Ltd, 2003, ISBN 0-7643-1859-4
20th Century Factory Glass, by Lesley Jackson, Rizzoli , New York , 2000, ISBN 0-8478-2253-2
An excellent book for contextualizing Blenko within 20 th century glass production. The "story of modern glass producers worldwide. The book discusses over 100 factories in detail, from Barovier & Toso in Italy to Blenko in the USA .It provides a much needed overview of the century's main developments in form, style and technique..."
Designers: The Blenko 4 -- Physical Characteristics -- Signatures & Labels -- Numbers & Names
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