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A Short History of Pilgrim Glass
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A Short History of Pilgrim 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. This company was situated in the state that also brought us Blenko Glass, Fenton Glass, and West Virginia Glass.  Pilgrim Glassworks however, is not as old as those other venerable companies, but just as admired by collectors. 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, they also produced art glass in an assortment of colors, including ruby and amberina. As a matter of fact, Pilgrim glass is so similar to Blenko, that many people confuse the two. Even the shapes of their products were remarkably similar and some were similar to Fenton. However, one thing that they excelled at and that other companies could not compete with was their line of 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.

The cranberry glass color is so refined and so beautiful that if the Pilgrims of North America had had this glass available to them in their time, they would have decorated their Thanksgiving tables with it.  Instead they chose the blah orange and brown that has become traditional for this holiday. Unfortunately Pilgrim Glass wasnít founded until much later and to our sadness and displeasure didnít last as long as their glass producing cousins either. The company ceased to exist in March of 2002.

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