An earlier version of this
article appeared in the
Jan/Feb & Mar/Apr 2002
editions of The Fenton Flyer.
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Fenton Vanity Items Through the Years
(With a Special Concentration on DeVilbiss).
Almost from inception The Fenton Art Glass Company has produced
various vanity items such as stoppered cologne and perfume bottles,
puff (powder) boxes or jars, and vanity trays. Originally, these vanity
items were produced by Fenton and marketed as part of their regular
line. As the 1930s came to an end, Fenton began producing vanity
items for other companies. For the most part, the items made for
others were never incorporated into Fenton's own line.
The Fenton Art Glass Company opened for business in July 1905 in
Martins Ferry, Ohio. At first, Fenton purchased "blanks" from
various glass companies, hand painted designs on the blanks and then
sold them. After relocating to a newly built facility in Williamstown,
West Virginia in 1907, Fenton began producing their own glassware.
Shortly thereafter, around 1911, the first vanity items appeared in
Fenton's line. Made in Chocolate and Carnival Glass of various colors
in the Orange Tree pattern, the puff box and hat pin holder are not
easily found today and fetch premium prices when sold. Also, in 1915,
Fenton added their #599 Puff Box and #594 Pin Tray to the line. These
were produced in Persian Blue. The Orange Tree hat pin holder has
been recently reproduced in red and cobalt but no carnival colors have
been reported to date.
It was not until the introduction of Stretch Glass around 1917 that
Fenton's production of vanity items expanded beyond the puff box.
Four different cologne bottles, three different puff boxes, and two
complete vanity sets with trays joined Fenton's line. Like their
Carnival Glass predecessors, vanity items in Stretch Glass are quite
valuable and difficult to find.
The 1930s found Fenton producing cologne bottles, powder boxes, and
trayed vanity sets in various colors in their #1900 Cape Cod pattern.
Cape Cod is better known to collectors as Daisy and Button, a name
Fenton later adapted as well. The end of this decade marked Fenton's
first, and arguably best known foray into producing vanity items to be
marketed by an outside company. Fenton's association with the Allen
B. Wrisley Company proved to be just the financial boon the company
needed coming out of the Depression years. It also proved to be the
start of what was to become Fenton's most enduring and best selling
pattern - Hobnail.
Special thanks to Jackie Shirley, member of the PNWFA, for her
prior research and the generous sharing of her notes on Fenton
made for DeVilbiss. This research was crucial in the publishing of
By Lori and Michael Palmer