Friday, May 7, 2010

Paden City Glass Manufacturing Company 1916-1951

One of my great loves is glassware of all ages. Paden City products was my first. It came into being on April 18, 1916 with David I. Fisher as President and General Manager. The company was built on the Paden Farm in Tyler County West Virginia. This site was chosen because it was along the Ohio River which provided inexpensive transportation. The plant was completed and began operation on November 15, 1916 with 300 employees.

By May of 1949 the company was experiencing financial woes. One of their largest products was forest green. War measure controls placed on cobalt, which was used to produce forest green forced them to cease manufacturing this particular product. At the same the company purchased the American Glass Company which further added to their financial burdens. Sadly the company was forced to close on September 21, 1951.

The location of the original Paden City molds has been somewhat of a mystery. Some went to Canton Glass Co. of Marion Indiana, New Martinsville Glass Co. and L. G. Wright.

Paden City made many very elegant lines and pieces. They are hard to identify because they are not plentiful. Information on their lines is scarce and hard to find. Their specialty was very beautiful etched or wheel cut glass.

Paden City colors are: amber, blue, cobalt, medium blue, light blue, cheriglo (pink), crystal, ebony, green, forest green, emerald-glo, medium green, springtime green, mulberry, opal, primrose, rose, ruby and topaz.

As to their lines, they are too numerous to list. Some were just numbered and many items were not associated with a line. Information on the Paden City Glassware Company is difficult to find and many times not accurate. Their original molds have been sold off and many have just disappeared. Perhaps that adds to the popularity of this once great glassware company.

My interest in Paden City began many years ago at a local auction house. Having always been a lover of glassware, I was drawn to an estate auction which was loaded with a great deal of depression glass. Back in a corner, covered with dust and dirt, obviously having been stored in a basement for 70+ years, I found a small wooden box. Opening the lid I saw a set of decanters and shot glasses, obviously a Paden City set. Waiting for hours for the auctioneer to bring this set to the front, I was just sure everyone in the room had noticed this rare, exquisite set covered in years of grime. No one had noticed it and it was mine.

Below are the pictures of my favorite acquisition, the Betty Mae Art Deco Decanter Box Set. Decanters are done in amber, cheriglo and green with the matching shot glasses. Being one of Paden City’s earlier productions, it is not associated with any of their lines. The decanters can be found on the internet but I’ve only known of two other complete sets in the box.

Below are some examples of Paden City designs. Perhaps you can see why I and many others love these elusive treasures.

Above are two of their Samovars in a green and blue with vintage etching. Metal parts are marked Century Silver.

The Red decanter set is from the Penny Line in a ruby. Regina 6 inch vase in ebony gold encrusted with Black Forest etching. Decanter set on the right is from the Spire line in a ruby with silver overlay. Bottom row, left is a vanity set, tray and powder box in a light green with gold. Beside that are two tall cologne bottles. Last on the right is a two-part square candy box in Ebony with reverse etching in gold.

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