Iridized glass (carnival glass) made by the Fenton Art Glass Company was first introduced in a trade magazine in October of 1907. By 1908, carnival glass was in large scale production at the Fenton factory. John W. Fenton and his brother Frank had developed an inexpensive way of mass producing iridized glass. The glass, called 'Iridill', was made to imitate Tiffany Favrile glass. Glass workers called it "dope glass" because the hot glass was doped with metallic sprays and vapours. This very pretty glass was instantly popular with the buying public and Fenton sold as much as they could produce.
Fenton became one of the top producers of carnival glass, making over 150 patterns. Fenton produced many very popular patterns including Butterfly & Berry, Lion, Panther, Dragon & Lotus (and other Dragon Patterns), Horse's Head, Stag and Holly, Orange Tree, Little Fishes, and Peacock Patterns as well as MANY fruit and berry patterns. Elk plates and bells were made to be sold at the early Elks Club Conventions. Fenton also produced the very popular Kittens Pattern, which was a line of children's dishes. This pattern of "little dishes" is very popular with carnival glass collectors today.
Many shapes and colors were made by Fenton. Some of the shapes include water sets, table sets, bowls, mugs, vases and plates. The main colors produced were marigold, amethyst, cobalt and green. Red carnival glass was produced in small quantity toward the end of that era. Fenton produced more red than anyone else.
Pastels, such as white, ice green and blue shades, along with a limited quantity of peach opal came late in the production period as well.
Interest in carnival steadily decreased in the early 1920s. Fenton moved on to produce stretch glass and various other colored glass, thus ending the first era of carnival glass. Eventually carnival glass sales had trailed off to the degree it had to be sold in bulk to the carnivals for use as game prizes (leading to the name carnival glass).
Of the five major carnival glass makers, only Fenton remains in business today. They continue to produce beautiful carnival, clearly marked Fenton on the bottom, to distinguish it from the old, unmarked Fenton carnival.
Photo of the Fenton Art Glass Company taken in 1907
For more wonderful old Fenton photos visit the Fenton Scrapbook:
Some of The Popular Fenton Patterns and Shapes
back to Carnival Glass 101
Should you care to contact the Frys, their email address is:
Search Carnival Glass 101
Our other sites you may enjoy:
Everything you EVER wanted to know about Indiana Glass
Great Reference for Newer Carnival Glass.
Complete Glassware Catalogs Available to Download
Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Broken Links? Corrections?
Your Friendly Webmaster is here to help!