Vintage Blenko Glass Lamps Reintroduced

Vintage shapes and colors of Blenko glass lamps are now being reintroduced by Rejuvenation, a Portland, Oregon lighting and house parts supplier.

According to a Rejuvenation company catalog, the new Blenko glass lamp bodies and finials are made at Blenko’s Milton, West Virginia facility and then shipped to Rejuvenation’s Portland factory where the glass is transformed into lamps (Fig. 1).

Rejuvenation Blenko glass lamps are available in five shapes in eight colors. Currently available colors include wheat, clear, peacock, olive, ice blue, turquoise, emerald and amethyst. Each lamp includes a matching glass finial which complements the shape of the lamp body.

New Blenko lamps sold by Rejuvenation also include the same unique adjustable harp (Fig. 2) first made available on vintage 1950s Blenko lamps. Knurled knobs on each of the two arms of the distinctive harp allow the top half to be raised or lowered to accommodate various heights of shades. New harps are somewhat more elongated than original 1950s era harps (Fig. 3) which are generally more circular in shape (compare new and old finials in photos).Bases on the new Rejuvenation Blenko lamps are straight-sided discs of American black walnut. Sides of the walnut bases are very nearly flush with the sides of the glass lamp body. The most common base found on original vintage Blenko lamps is domed shape wood. Most, but far from all, original domed wood bases have a light colored finish but color of original wooden bases can vary widely.

(Fig. 2)

Lamps were first introduced in the Blenko catalog of 1951 (Fig. catalog_old). The first lamps were created by Winslow Anderson, Blenko design director from 1947-1953. More lamp designs were developed by Anderson’s successor, Wayne Husted, who was Blenko’s lead designer 1953-1963.

Buyers should keep in mind that all authentic Blenko lamps originally included the company’s unique adjustable harp and glass finial that matched the lamp body. If the lamp being offered doesn’t include the adjustable harp or a matching finial, it is either not Blenko or the original harp and finial has been lost.

(Fig 3)

Buyers should also be aware that many genuine pieces of Blenko glass have been converted to lamps over the years by various owners. While those miscellaneous glass bodies may indeed be authentic Blenko, they never began life as an authentic Blenko lamp: they are “marriages” of various non-original parts and pieces.

If there is any doubt about an item you’re considering buying, always insist on a receipt clearly stating the approximate year of production and the authenticity of the entire object. The words “Blenko glass lamp,” for example, are not an adequate guarantee a lamp is authentic—such wording would accurately describe a married lamp made from Blenko parts. “Authentic Blenko lamp, made ca. 1955-1960 with original finial and harp,” would give the buyer much more legal recourse if a piece were found not to be authentic.

CAPTIONS:

Fig. 1  Rejuvenation is now selling new Blenko glass lamps in at least five shapes in colors called wheat, clear, peacock, olive, ice blue, turquoise, emerald and amethyst.

Fig. 2  New lamps include a close copy of the distinctive adjustable harp found on original mid century Blenko lamps. New lamps are priced from $420 to $565 not including shades.

Fig. 3 The Blenko 1951 catalog page which introduced the company’s glass lamps. Note the distinctively shaped adjustable harp in the center of the page. The original vintage harps are slightly squatter than the new harps.

Written by Mark Chervenka