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Saturday, April 16, 2011

L. E. Smith Glass Company

A blog reader emailed me the other day for help identifying the maker of a large swung vase, which I thought to be made by L. E. Smith Glass Company. Most people are quick to think of Blenko and Fenton and Viking, but many forget or don't know about this company, which has a distinctive history and is still producing glass today.

L. E. Smith Glass Company has been in business since 1907 and is one of only a few remaining hand-made glass factories left in the United States.

The company manufactured the first headlight lens for the Model T Ford, as well as the original glass mixing bowl, and their vintage decorative items are valued by many collectors.

Like all the other glass companies of the time, L.E. Smith began producing colored glass in the mid 1920’s, making pink, green, amber, yellow, amethyst and cobalt pieces as early as 1926. In the late 1920’s, Smith Glass devised a formula for black glass that set it apart from other manufacturers of the time. This black glass, which shows amethyst when held up to a light, has proved to be the most collected in the industry.

In 2005, Smith Glass was purchased by William Kelman.


Large centerpiece bowl
blisstiques at
Architectural swung glass vase
Opaque bittersweet table vase
Black amethyst vase
Rearing horse bookends that belonged to my parents
Center handle serving tray
Black amethyst rose bowl with clear frog


  1. Such diverse pieces - must be tricky to identify . . . ?

  2. Those glass horse bookends are Heisey, I am pretty sure.

  3. @Mitzy: Your comment intrigued me. A Google image search turned these bookends up identified as both L. E. Smith and Heisy, although most often Smith.I have emailed the Heisy Glass Museum and the L. E. Smith Glass company for a definitive answer, and I'll update my post when I hear something.

  4. @Mitzy: The plot is really thickening. I found an eBay forum thread that indicates L. E. Smith, Fostoria and New Martinsville all made nearly identical rearing horse bookends. Heisy wasn't mentioned.

  5. My understanding was that L E Smith manufactured NO glass. They designed and then hired Fenton and other glass houses to produce for them

    1. You are thinking of L G Wright. They NEVER made glass. L E Smith made glass!