Local Philadelphia-based artist Margaret Almon is part of the husband and wife team that make up Nutmeg Designs. Specializing in unique mosaic glass art, Margaret and her husband Wayne Stratz have a love of stained glass and American artistry. Margaret has written this guest post to share some stained glass factories still operating in the USA.
We were delighted to discover that the United States has a long history of art glass made from coast to coast. Our first inkling was when Wayne drove to Ohio, and realized he could stop at the Youghiogheny Glass Factory in Connellsville, PA on his way home. The glass we enjoyed working with was made in our own state.
Youghiogheny Glass, Connellsville, PA
Youghiogheny was founded by a color expert who experiments with the inner crystalline structure of the glass to create beautiful effects by dispersing light.
Investigating the sources of other glass we work with, Margaret found 5 more factories in the United States. Three of them were started in the 1970’s, when stained glass had a renaissance, but artists couldn’t find sheets of art glass to create with. Several of these artists started their own stained glass factories, including Youghiogheny, Uroboros and Spectrum.
Kokomo Opalescent Glass, Kokomo, IN
Kokomo Glass, was founded in 1888, and the oldest manufacturer of art glass the US, and which counted Tiffany as a customer.
Kokomo still makes the types of glass Tiffany used in his lamps, including the ring mottle glass which Wayne used to make the patterned shell of the turtle. Kokomo creates handmixed sheet glass.
Wissmach Glass Company, Paden City, WV
Wissmach was founded in 1904, and at first their raised white glass letters for theater marquees were the most popular item. Mr. Wissmach had a dream of creating beautiful glass sheets in color, and finally in the 1960s his dream was realized. The Mystic Blue in our welcome sign glows.
Spectrum Glass, Woodinville, WA
Spectrum Glass distinguished itself with the use of a Continuous Ribbon Process, where melting, sheet forming and annealing could happen in one continuous operation.
Uroboros Glass, Portland, OR
Uroboros made this rich red glass with pebbly texture. They are conscientious about being a sustainable business by insulating the furnaces to save energy, and recycling all waste glass into other useful objects.
Armstrong Glass Company, Kennesaw, GA
Armstrong is known worldwide for its 500 colors of stained glass. The glowing blue in Wayne’s stained glass is from Armstrong, and has the beautiful color variation that comes from handmixing.
We are fortunate to have this legacy of stained glass manufacture in the United States. Recently, the biggest wholesaler of stained glass in Canada closed its doors, and artists are finding it more difficult to procure glass, since Canada does not have the same history of stained glass production as the United States.