Morgantown Glass Museum


Morgantown Glass                                Gentile Glass                                  Seneca Glass
Morgantown Glass 


Gentile Glass

Peter Gentile, the father of John Gentile, was orphaned at age 13 and already a trained glass blower at 17. He immigrated from his native home of Naples Italy to United State around 1911. He settled in Rochester, PA, where he found work at the Fry Glass factory. Ten Years later the Fry works closed. Peter followed his good friend Joseph Haden to Morgantown, WV and started  work at the Morgantown glass work company. He later opened the Gentile Glass. John worked in the evening with his father learning the art of making glass and developing a love for the glass that continues today.

Peter is well known for the beautiful Italian footed pieces that he made at Morgantown Glass Company. These pieces are highly sought after today by collectors. John married Gertrude who has four children. Gentile Glass Company started in a small building at 416 industrial avenue in 1974-1975. John moved his factory across the street and built a new factory, which remains located at 425 industrial avenue, Star city, WV. The factory remained open until May 2006, when it was closed 3 months after John passed away on February 9,2006. Just 3 days before his 83rd birthday. He was surrounded by his loving, devoted wife and partner, Gertrude, and his family members. Gertrude Gentile is known as the first female paper weight maker.

Here are some samples of Gentile collection that was specially made by Peter John and Gertrude Gentile. These pieces were part of their personal collections. These pieces of glass and paper weights are one of kind  and now donated to the glass museum. 

Italian footed pieces made by 

Peter Gentile


Paper weights made by 

John Gentile

Examples of John Gentile paper weights. In the early 1950’s, John manufactured the first “Old Glory”. During that period, John did little to identify his works. Prior to 1963, he had only signed about six of his weights. As years went by, he began to put a defining “G” or “JG” in the design. Doing so, he felt they became a collector’s item. In the museum, we now have over 400 of his weights that were made from over 400 different molds, which were made between the 1940’s to the early 1980’s. Six months before John’s passing, he had Bill, one of his employees, and I clean all the molds.  After cleaning, we remade over 400 weights, which we then included the identifying “G”  inside of each one. This set was made especially for the museum alone. In the early 1950’s and 1960’s, John had made over 200 special weights, some which were one of a kid, that he took home to his wife Gertrude as gifts. Alongside the one of a kind weights, there were also many experimental pieces. 


Paper weights made by

Gertrude Gentile

Gertrude Gentile acts as carry-in girl for her husband, carrying the completed paperweights to the kiln for annealing. In late 1963 she became interested in making paperweights--a pursuit she is following at the rate of one paperweight daily with constantly improving dexterity.
By the summer of 1964 Gertrude Gentile's weights were selling from their display room on an equal basis of appeal with those of her husband. Gertrude Gentile is the only contemporary woman weight maker known to the author. As john says, "I have offered to teach many to make weights. Only one pupil has truly mastered the ability to make beautiful weights. That one pupil is my wife."

Seneca Glass 

Situated in Morgantown, West Virginia, the Seneca Glass Company (1891-1983) manufactured over 1,000 hand-cut crystal glassware patterns on hand-blown glass, more than any other glass company worldwide.

In 1891, a group of immigrant glass artisans and businessmen from German settled in Seneca County, Ohio. They took possession of the former Fostoria Class company and established the Seneca Glass Company, later the company was moved to Morgantown, WV, in 1896 for better opportunity.

Over some ninety-two years of production, Seneca produced quality, delicate, lead, blow table and barware in a variety of forms. Stemware, tumblers, goblets, jugs, water bottles, finger bowls, nappies and more were all produced in abundance. The company is best known for the striking cut glass patterns they produced.

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