Thursday, March 19, 2009
My Degenhart Glass Story
From the time I was very young, I went to auctions with my grandparents. They started passing along their knowledge and love of glass down to me at an early age. They were very special people and knew alot of folks in the glass industry..both experts, researchers and collectors.
They started taking twice yearly trips down to southern Ohio. During those trips, which were made during my spring break and in the summer so I could go they visited the Fenton Art Glass Company and the Degenhart 's Crystal Art Glass Factory. That was the formal name for the company but I always have called it Degenhart Glass and I guess I always will.
My gramma was a firm believer in glass, and Degenhart was fairly unknown for along time. She always bought 3 pieces of each item. Why 3? Because she had 3 grand daughters...me, and my 2 younger sisters.While most kids got money or treats for their good grades, we got glass!
and since I loved glass, I worked as hard as I could to earn it.
You would have had to know gramma..she put little notes in a lot of her glass...some I still have,like a power jar with a poodle on top has my name and the year she gave it to me still in it..LOL, I am a packrat..or so my family tells me.
Well back to my story! During all those trips, and dont get me wrong....I loved watching Fenton Glass being made during factory tours and have several collections of particular types of Fenton. I loved my trips to see Mrs Degenhart most! She was a wonderful lady, very warm...alot like my gramma. She sat in her store, which was like a barn to me, in a rocking chair and collected her money in a cigar box...tables and shelves everywhere..all loaded with glass..
No kidding...I think I have a picture of her in one of my books showing how cluttered her shop was.If she had it, it was in that shop..somewhere..and she knew just where to find it. She made sure my gramma picked out special colors. Some new, some just made..some named for folks we knew, like Jabe Tarter.He was a regular contributor to the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Akron Beacon Journal newspapers. He was much like the Kovel's ..he liked writing about antiques and was considered quite an expert.
She would talk to me about the glass, showing me special pieces too...I asked a ton of questions, and she probably wished at times I would just shut up..but she was very patient in her answers. When I got done with the questions and getting a bit ready to get some fresh air while gramma shopped. I would go out into the back and pick up coffee cans of glass shards, cullet etc that was dumped out when the glass batches were done...I have several baggies of it..recently I separated it into colors...
Most visits to her factory took all day....and are one of my most treasured memories!