The Millersburg Glass Company officially opened and poured glass for the first time on May 20, 1909. The company was built by John Fenton who had decided to leave the Fenton Art Glass Company to "strike out on his own". Though he was a creative glassmaking genius, he was not the businessman his brother Frank was.
For the first few months in 1909, the Millersburg Glass Company produced beautiful crystal and some carnival glass in amethyst, green and a soft marigold. The first carnival had a satin finish much like the other carnival makers because John was of course, using the Fenton process. After 7 months of experimentation the now famous "radium" finish was introduced. This very high gloss, radium finish was an instant success and Millersburg continued to use this process until their demise in September of 1911. During this period large amounts of glass were produced and sold. The new radium finish glass was in high demand so many new molds were contracted on a credit basis.
In June of 1910, the world famous Millersburg Court House souvenir bowl was produced as a tribute to the town of Millersburg and given away by the hundreds. John Fenton was a very generous man. He commissioned many molds to be made and glass produced as a "gesture of thanks" in appreciation for various people and organizations. Much of this glass was given away at the Millersburg factory.
Though the Millersburg Company was a success in glass production, it soon became obvious the company was in deep financial trouble. Soon the piper had to be paid. The mold making company wanted their money and filed a lawsuit against Millersburg Glass. The Millersburg Glass Company declared bankruptcy in June, 1911 and was sold in September of that same year.
The demise of Millersburg Glass was blamed on John Fenton and his fondness for extravagant living. And also his habit of showering glass on factory visitors and the surrounding town. Many investors in the town of Millersburg lost their lifetime savings and much bitterness was aimed at John Fenton. Would the Millersburg Glass Company have survived if John had been a better businessman? Perhaps. You must remember that the competition was keen and Northwood, Fenton and Imperial (the big three) controlled much of the market. Eventualities indicate Millersburg Glass would have soon disappeared, much like the Edsel and the Studebaker.
Many beautiful and cherished patterns were developed and produced in the short life span of Millersburg Glass. Ohio Star, Nesting Swan, Rosalind, Holly Sprig, Night Stars, Little Stars, Country Kitchen, Peacock & Urn, Big Fish, Trout & Fly, People's Vase, Seacoast and Sunflower pin trays as well as many Elks Convention items and Advertising pieces, to name a few. They are among some of the most cherished patterns in carnival.
Click on the picture to see more rare pics of the Millersburg Glass Company
Some Popular Millersburg Patterns & Shapes
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