Jonathan Cohen

Jonathan Cohen

Posted on 09/03/2014


Photo taken on October 14, 2013


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glass
Clevenger Brothers
Berkeley Springs Antique Mall
Fairfax Street
glass bottles
Berkeley Springs
West Virginia
United States
USA
cityscape
shop
still life
bottles
store
Clevenger brothers bottles
antiques


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Glass Bottles – Fairfax Street, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

Glass Bottles – Fairfax Street, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia
The first successful glasshouse in America was established in 1739 by Casper Wistar in Alloway, New Jersey. Advances in the technology of glass production, including the development of the mechanical glass press and the automatic bottle blowing machine, greatly reduced the demand for skilled glassblowers. By the early 1900’s, the automated bottle machines’ impact led to the closing of many glasshouses in New Jersey and throughout the country. It was one of these factory closings, in 1912, that eventually led to the Clevenger brothers’ establishing their own company.

Henry Thomas (Tom), Lorenzo (Reno) and William Elbert (Allie) Clevenger all followed in their father’s footsteps of working in the glass industry. William Henry Clevenger had moved his family from place to place throughout South Jersey where he worked at several glass companies, before settling in Clayton to work for the Moore Brothers’ Clayton Glass Works. Tom, Reno and Allie all apprenticed at Moore Brothers and continued working at the Clayton factory until it closed in 1912.

Over the next several years, the unemployed trio tried their hands at many different jobs, including rug making. It was not until 1930 that the brothers decided to open their own glass company. So, at the beginning of the Great Depression, Tarn, Reno and Allie constructed a small furnace in a stable in their backyard in Clayton.

The intent of the Clevenger brothers was to carry-on the "South Jersey Tradition" of glassmaking and produce affordable reproductions of this early American glassware. The earliest known catalog of Clevenger glass, "The Renaissance of South Jersey Blown Glass" published by Grant and Lyon in 1934 stated, "South Jersey glass, beloved by all collectors of old American glassware, has been born again. Glass lovers who had believed that this intriguing product had passed into the category of a forgotten art will be thrilled to learn that down in South Jersey, in a glass factory. …, old craftsmen who learned their trade from their forebears in the time hallowed apprentice system are again blowing glass into the same shapes and pattern that made glass history so many years ago."

Clevenger copies were usually much heavier than the originals. They were also made in vibrant colors not associated with early 19th century glassware. The Grant and Lyon 1934 catalog states "the Clevengers make most of their glass in amber, blue and green". By 1939 the Ritter catalog listed "the six original colors" of amber, amethyst, dark green, colonial blue, light green (also known as South Jersey green) and light blue.

Other vivid colors were added to the line such as red, orange, amberina and vaseline (frequently appearing as opaque yellow). Due to lack of strict control in mixing batches and watching over the melts, variations appeared in many of the stock colors. Reds in Clevenger glass can range from almost black to a reddish orange. There are greens that appear to be blue-green. A few extremely rare pieces of clear and milk glass were also produced.

Andrew Trundlewagon, Rymie Jolie, Frode Øen, Don Sutherland have particularly liked this photo


Comments
Don Sutherland
Don Sutherland
Gorgeous shot.
3 years ago.
Frode Øen
Frode Øen
Wonderful colours, great shot.
3 years ago.