June Is Heavenly Month for Glass Collectors

Every spring I get a friendly reminder from local glass collectors that June brings droves of antique enthusiasts to the Northern Panhandle for annual conventions, tours and meetings.

Several avid collector groups gather, including members of the Fostoria Glass Society, the National Imperial Glass Collectors Society and the Society of the Moon and Star Pattern Glass Club. Glass enthusiasts will be in the area talking, trading and admiring glass once made in the Moundsville, Bellaire or Wheeling area by skilled craftsmen.

The tri-state can be proud of the past, and this is a good chance to remind young people of the significance that glass making once held in our region. The Fostoria Museum, located at 511 Tomlinson Ave., Moundsville, is now open for summer hours too, from 1-4 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, for those wanting to learn more about this major glass house.

The Fostoria collectors are celebrating Fostoria’s fame as a glass etcher and decorator this year and will feature Cuttings by Fostoria as the theme of its annual gathering taking place Friday through next Sunday at the Moundsville Training Center (located on the grounds of the former West Virginia Penitentiary).

Hundreds of collectors are expected, and the activities include a show and sale. Several speakers are included in the fun. For detailed information on Fostoria glass cuttings, the one to attend is the 2 p.m. Saturday presentation by Karen Eisenhauer. To see the complete agenda, visit fostoriaglass.org.

Also joining the Fostoria collectors will be Moon and Star glass collectors and dealers. This name reflects a certain pattern glass introduced during the Victorian era named moon and star because of its star-like design and round depression that looks like a moon shape.

Produced in many colors like ruby red, amber, green, colonial blue, amberina, cobalt or the original crystal clear, it is fun to collect. Locally, Weishar Glass of Fulton still makes moulds for glassware of this style and offers an inventory of glass available on its website at weishar.com.

Just across the river in Bellaire, Imperial collectors will gather Thursday through Saturday, with an auction planned for 7 p.m. (6 p.m. preview) on Friday at the Bellaire Public Library. For an excellent preview of the auction lots, just visit the imperialglass.org website. It is up-to-date and easy to view. Several of these auction treasures are shown in today’s column.

The Imperial Glass Corp. was one of the largest and finest of all the great handmade glass house. It was in business for more than 80 years so there are many collectors and lots of variety in this glass.

The annual convention includes museum tours, an ice cream social, seminars, auctions and a closing banquet. Open to the public, those attending can register and learn all about Imperial from experts.

The Imperial Glass convention banquet speaker is Kathy Grant of Washington, Pa. Also a surgeon, this glass enthusiast has researched and studied glass for years and will speak on the topic of “Mould Making — The Unsung Heroes of the Glass Industry,” as she shares her knowledge of glass artistry with the nuts and bolts of how the designs made their way to the glass.

Imperial Glass lovers also can enjoy the memory of Imperial and its beautiful glassware at Bellaire’s National Imperial Glass Museum all summer long. Visitors can view extensive displays of Imperial glassware between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Thursday through Saturday from April through October.

For comments or suggestions on local treasures to be featured in Antique of the Week, Maureen Zambito can be reached via email at zambitomaureen@hotmail.com or by writing in care of this newspaper.

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