Turner & Dave White started Appalachian Glass in March, 2001. Both
experienced managers in disciplines that include product development,
engineering, maintenance, health & safety, and both retail sales &
With a vision
of increasing public appreciation in traditionally-produced, American-made
products Appalachian Glass Products & Services LLC. was born.
In October, 2002
Chip Turner purchased Dave White’s shares of Appalachian Glass and
retains sole ownership of Appalachian Glass Products & Services llc.
To keep the tradition
of hand made glass and other dying arts, Alive in West Virginia.
Thank YOU, for helping keep the tradition ALIVE!
offers over 500 traditionally produced soda-lime crystal products. From
novelty items to elegant stemware and vases, all items are hand-crafted
and mouth-blown in West Virginia.
are high quality, hand-crafted jelly-jar candles that are available in
over 50 scents.
Our products are
marketed nationally and are currently represented in the following states:
Connecticut, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia
& Craft Shows:
maintains a large portable glass furnace that is taken to craft shows
and festivals. With the ultimate goal of increasing public appreciation
of American Hand-made glass, glass blowing and crafting demonstrations
are done on site.
attended thus far include Weston Carp Festival (Weston, WV), Stonewall
Jackson Jubilee (Weston, WV), West Virginia State Forest Festival (Elkins,
WV), Apple Festival (Hickory, PA), Pumpkin Festival (Houston, PA), Harvest
Festival (Greene Co. PA), and Mountaineer Week (Morgantown, WV).
Studio and Outlet Gallery:
has a working studio located 499 US Highway 33 East, Weston, WV it is
open and free to the public. The studio currently produces high quality
mouth-blown, hand-crafted glass. Our glass crafting staff consists of
Matt Turner , Chip Turner and from time to time visiting Glass Artist.
products are available and found in fine gift, craft and specialty shops.
A catalog and E-commerce marketing network is currently in the works that
features both hand-crafted glass and candles that are produced in West
is committed to supporting non-profit organizations, and provides special
rates for those organizations that choose to use our products for fund-raising.
offers extensive engineering services to the glass producing community.
Be it product design/development, furnace design/fabrication, equipment
design/fabrication and troubleshooting.
During the summer
of 2001, Appalachian Glass designed and constructed the largest glass
furnace of its type in any hand-craft plant in Canada. The furnace is
of continuous melt design and capable of holding just under 10,000 lbs.
of molten glass and is located at Kitras Art Glass in Fergus, Ont.
can be seen in the following museums:
West Virginia State Museum (Charleston, WV)
West Virginia Museum of American Glass (Weston, WV)
Paul R. Stewart Museum (Waynesburg, PA)
About the Artist:
Glass has been an important commodity throughout the ages. The first
glass was a product of volcanic eruptions. Pieces of volcanic obsidian
were melted and used to make beads, bottle, and bowls. Small glass
bottles were found in the tomb of an Egyptian ruler dating to about
1500 years before Christ's birth. Glass even predates the use of metal
by the ancients. Glassmaking was so vital to the Italians, that they
put all of their glassmaking activity on an island to protect their
The glass industry played an equally important role in the development
of central West Virginia. Over the past century, twenty different glass
factories called Lewis County home. As part of the appreciation of this
important heritage, the Stonewall Jackson Jubilee has invited a Weston
glassblower to demonstrate the fine art of glassmaking for Jubilee
visitors during the Labor Day event at WVU Jackson's Mill.
Glassmaker Chip Turner, owner of Appalachian Glass Products and
Services, will bring a portable gas-fired tank to the four-day event to
show the art and skills necessary for this historic art. "One of the reasons I appreciate the Jubilee is that one of their goals
is to keep our West Virginia traditions alive," said Turner. "I believe
in the same objective."
Turner happened by chance to find his life-long love for glass."I was taking a woodworking class at the vocational building near
Haleville School. At that time (1982), Lewis County was still offering
classes in glassblowing for high school students," explained Turner."There was a great glassblower by the name of Jimmy Carlton who was
teaching the class. Jimmy showed me how to work glass." Turner found his calling.
After graduation from high school, he began working in the glass
industry. Turner gained much glass experience at local factories
including West Virginia Glass, Louis Glass, and Princess House
Manufacturing. He gained valuable experience in product development,
engineering, maintenance, retail sales and wholesaling. He uses all of
these in the management of his glass company.
Turner's father Matt Turner, helps his son at his glass studio. The
elder Turner worked for decades at West Virginia Glass in the machine
shop, manufacturing molds and glassmaker tools for the company.
However, until working with his son, he had never worked with the
The younger Turner has an obsession in teaching others to appreciate
the rich heritage of the area. Visitors to his studio can study the
glassblowing process through two windows and an open door created as a
viewing area. When demonstrating, the glassmaker wears a small
microphone to make sure everyone can hear his explanation of the
During a recent visit to Turner's studio, visitors were treated to the
creation of two popular Appalachian Glass items - a friendship ball and
a witch's ball.
"Both of these items have some history to them," said Turner."Friendship balls are five to six-inch multi-colored globes, which were
passed to friends, maybe along with a plate of cookies. The theory was
that they had no beginning and no end, and eventually would return to
"The witch's ball has a history of more than three hundred years, going
back to New England. Inside the witch's ball, I create strings of
glass. Early settlers would hang the witch's ball in the window or
corner of a door to ward off the witch's spell. The ball could also be
used as a stopper on a milk jug. The idea was to keep the witch's spell
from souring the milk. The strings inside the globe would catch the
spell," he said.
The glassmaking process seems simple in theory. The trick is to have
the skill and experience to create the fine handblown glassware Turner
To start the daily process, Turner fills his furnace with the major
ingredients of sand, lime, soda ash, and feldspar. These ingredients
are then melted down to produce the raw glass. The furnace reaches a
high of 2500 degrees during the process which he starts at night so the
glass will be ready for production the next day.
"My furnace will hold 165 pounds of the molten glass which we use
everyday," Turner said. "My traveling furnace, which goes to the
Jubilee, holds about 156 pounds."
To produce a piece of glassware, Turner picks up a glob of molten glass
from inside the furnace with his blowpipe. He rolls the glob a bit to
begin shaping the piece. He then pops the piece back in the furnace,
constantly rolling the blowpipe. As Turner explained, balancing and
turning are extremely important in glassblowing.
To produce a friendship ball, Turner blows through the pipe into the
glob of glass to produce a glass globe. The last step in this process
is to set the globe on a pedestal, take another string of glass, attach
it to the globe, and create a glass curl for hanging.
During the manufacturing of the witch's ball, he pinches the side of
the globe to produce the interior glass strings, which catch the
During the production of an oil lamp, he blows through the pipe to
produce a globe, and at the same time places the glass in a mold. This
process produces a lovely spiral effect on the outside of the lamp.
The Weston glassmaker has been able to procure a number of historic
molds used by such important glass manufacturers as Pilgrim Glass,
Colonial Glass, and Louie Glass. He has around two-hundred molds in his
collection. The oil lamp he makes use a Pilgrim Glass mold.
He explained that the quality of his works is relative to the quality
of the tools and molds which he uses. He is appreciative of the help
his father has given him in that area.
"My father is very experienced in producing the tools I need for my
work. His 43 years at West Virginia Glass as a mold maker helps me in
the work I produce," he said.
Upon completion, all the glass pieces are placed in a kiln which slowly
reduces the temperature of the glass. By the next day, the pieces will
be at room temperature and ready for market.
"There are many fine points to the glassblowing process," explained
Turner. "For example, the interior and exterior of the glass will be at
two different temperatures. The outside will be chilling and the
interior will still be hot. We have to take measures to prevent the
glass from breaking because of this."
Turner is a visionary and has great plans for his studio at its site in
the Weston C.A.R.P. Market (formerly the Farmer's Market.)"I plan on having a DVD made about the studio shortly," he said. "We
already have quite a few tour buses and school tours coming through.
Eventually, I will have a camera installed so that schools will be able
to access my studio and see what is going on."
Turner noted that his website address appglass.com receives lots of
hits. Turner said that he is working with other glass companies to
encourage the appreciation of West Virginia glass. He also does
sandblasting and engraving of glassware.
Why is glass such an important part of West Virginia's industrial
The simple reason is that West Virginia has the raw ingredients for its
manufacture... natural gas, lime, and natural sand.
Since the beginning of glass history in Lewis County twenty glass
factories have operated beginning with the Monarch Tile Company, in
1904. The glass produced by Lewis County companies such as Westite,
Brilliant, West Virginia and Weston Glass are popular collectibles
The heyday of the glass industry in central WV was in the 1920s and 30s
with the Louie Glass beginning production in 1926 and West Virginia
Glass in 1929.
As noted earlier, West Virginia had the natural resources necessary for glass production. But another ingredient was European craftsmen.
Skilled labor was supplied by the many German, Austrian, Belgium and
Swedish immigrants who settled here. They brought with them glass
skills learned in the old country. The combination of skilled craftsmen
and plentiful natural resource produced a glass business that was
recognized throughout the world.
Antique Glass Tools:
Here To View Antique Glass Tools