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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Pilgrim Glass Specialized in Crackle Glass and Cranberry Glass

If you are looking for an article about the Pilgrims that came to America and introduced us to the Thanksgiving holiday, you are at the wrong place. This article is about Pilgrim Glassworks of West Virginia. Although this company was situated in the state that brought us the likes of West Virginia Glass, Fenton, and Blenko art glass manufacturers, Pilgrim is not as old. Yet although it does not have the long history of its cousins, Pilgrim made some glass that is renowned around the country and around the world. Pilgrim made their mark by specializing in crackle glass and cranberry glass.

Alfred Knobler founded Pilgrim Glassworks in 1956 in Ceredo, West Virginia. Its first production pieces were mainly crackle glass pitchers, vases, decanters and bowls. Like their older glass producing cousin, Blenko, these art glass pieces came in an assortment of colors, including ruby and amberina glass. As a matter of fact, Pilgrim glass is so similar to Blenko glass, that many people confuse the two. Even the shapes of their products were remarkably similar to Blenko and some even to Fenton. However, one thing that they excelled at and that other companies could not compete with was with Pilgrim's cranberry glass.

First made around 1968, Pilgrim cranberry glass is probably some of the most beautiful colored glass in the world. In my home we have a small collection of the glass and it adorns our fireplace and dining room areas. We have some pieces of cranberry glass that were not made by Pilgrim, but none can compare with the subtle shades of cranberry associated with Pilgrim. Cranberry glass is made by introducing gold chloride to molten glass; very few companies attempted this process and even still, very few succeeded in achieving the success that Pilgrim did with this color.

So much so that if the Pilgrims of North America had had this glass available to them at the time, they would have decorated their Thanksgiving tables with it, as opposed to the blah orange and brown that became traditional for this holiday. Unfortunately Pilgrim Glass wasn’t founded until much later and to our sadness and displeasure didn’t last as long as their glass producing cousins either. The company seized to exist in March of 2002.

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