Kanawha Glass Company enjoyed a 35 year lifespan in which its artists created large and small glass containers, glass animals and other figurines. Collectors today covet the bright colors and whimsical designs of Kanawha glass items. You can find vintage Kanawha glass for sale at antique stores, online antique dealers and eBay.
Kanawha Glass Company was an American art glass company that began in 1953 when a few of the artisans from the failed Dunbar Glass Company came together to start a new business. The company grew in popularity in the 1960s and it acquired Hamon Glass company in 1969. Kanawha continued producing its line of glass products until 1987 when it was acquired by Dereume Glass.
Kanawha Glass offered close to 350 different products at its peak of production. Glass horses, cats, dogs, owls and swans are among the different types of animal figurines Kanawha created. Glass bowls, with the head and neck of a swan, and owl-shaped drinking glasses were some of the more creative choices the glass artists made. Tall, elongated vases with bubble textures and free-formed scalloped tops and vases created from milk glass in the shape of a shoe were among their more fanciful home décor items.
Shades of blue, orange, red, amber, green, brown and white are the predominant colors used to make Kanawha glass objects. Most of the colors, except white, were transparent and sometimes combined to add interest to the designs. The white objects were milk glass and were opaque. Kanawha also offered several satin glass pieces made from the same seven colors but lined with white glass for strength and design.
One of Kanawha Glass Company’s specialties was the production of crackle glass objects. To make crackle glass, you blow molten glass into a mold, then dip it into water or sawdust before refiring it to seal the cracks. The breakage rate for making crackle glass is high, sometimes as much as 50 percent. Bubble glass is another design style prevalent in Kanawha glass objects. Bubbles are deliberately formed in molten glass by adding certain chemicals or by inserting spikes.
Like many of the American art glass companies of the time, some of Kanawha glass objects were hand blown and free formed and some were made by pouring molten glass into molds. Many of the glass artists worked for different art glass companies, so the techniques were either the same or similar across the board.
Katherine Kally is a freelance writer specializing in eco-friendly home-improvement projects, practical craft ideas and cost-effective decorating solutions. Kally's work has been featured on sites across the Web. She holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of South Carolina and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.