From the Replacements, Ltd. museum this month, we’re showcasing a gorgeous water goblet from Morgantown Glass that is adorned with a delightful “Tinker Bell” motif. This clear goblet features a ribbed, knobbed stem, and an intricate etched cameo design of a flitting pixie against a backdrop of stars. The Tinker Bell design debuted around 1927, although at the time the design was referred to as “Zora” in company literature. A 1928 advertisement lists the pattern as available in clear, rose, green, and aquamarine colors. The pattern has since been dubbed Tinker Bell, a nod to the temperamental fairy who appears in the play “Peter Pan,” written in 1904 by Scottish novelist and playwright J. M. Barrie (and subsequently expanded into a novel, Peter & Wendy, in 1911). The character of Tinker Bell was further popularized in film and TV versions of the Peter Pan story, perhaps most notably in the 1953 Walt Disney film adaption.
In 1899, Frank Bannister formed Morgantown Glass Works near the successful Seneca Glass Company in Morgantown, West Virginia. The first glassware products made by the company were clear, hand-blown glass tableware. The Morgantown Glass Works achieved almost immediate success, and within two years the company employed more than 600 people, with offices and salesrooms around the country. Morgantown Glass Works changed its name to Economy Tumbler Company in 1903, and in the early 1910s began making colored glassware in addition to its clear products. Recognizing that the Economy Tumbler Company didn’t fully reflect the scope of its product lines, the company changed its name once again in 1923, to the Economy Glass Company. It was around this time that the company began to produce its “Continental” line of products, which would become very popular. Another name change occurred in 1929, as the company reinstated its original Morgantown Glass Works name.
Like many companies, the Morgantown Glass Works struggled to stay afloat during the Great Depression, and eventually shut down operations in 1937. However, the factory was soon brought back to life as the Morgantown Glassware Guild in 1939. Throughout the 1940s and 50s, this new, employee-owned company produced a great variety of glassware for passenger ships, hotels, bars, and other businesses. The company also continued to manufacture glassware for individual consumers, including tableware and decorative art glass.
In 1961, Morgantown’s gained national recognition when first lady Jackie Kennedy chose a simple Morgantown glassware pattern as the official crystal service for the White House. After receiving this recognition, Morgantown marketed this pattern as “President’s House” stemware. In 1965, the Morgantown Glassware Guild was bought by Fostoria. Under this new ownership, the factory remained open until 1971, when its doors closed for good. Morgantown glassware products are now highly sought by collectors.
While the Morgantown Tinker Bell water goblet in our museum is not for sale, we do have a variety of Morgantown pieces available for purchase in our inventory; be sure to browse our web site. And remember that we always invite you to visit our facilities – here you'll see a stunning variety of silver, china, crystal, and collectibles! Our 500,000-square-foot facilities hold more than 12 million individual pieces in more than 400,000 patterns! Our showroom and museum are open from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm ET, 7 days (except holidays); free tours are available from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm ET, 7 days. The showroom and museum are conveniently located between Greensboro and Burlington, NC, at exit 132 off Interstate 85/40. We look forward to seeing you!