Saturday, February 9, 2008

Wheaton Glass

Wheaton, N.J.

This embossing on the bottom of a bottle is bane to beginner collectors everywhere. It refers to the Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center in Millville N.J, formerly known as Wheaton Village. These bottles and flasks that decorate antique shop shelves and flea market tables nationwide are notorious among bottle collectors as being reproductions and/or fakes. Wheaton produced several reproduction and “fantasy” bottles in the 1970s and 80’s. They were all clearly embossed “Wheaton” on the base.

I am sure that the good people at Wheaton were not trying to pass off their work as originals. It was probably more akin to trying to duplicate and mimic the incredible skill that the original glass blowers displayed while making the classic designs. These bottles were similar but there were always significant differences in the Wheaton edition. They also made flasks with historical themes and miniature bottles. They are all quite nice, just not old. Some people collect nothing but Wheaton issues.

If you put the opinion of bottle collectors aside, the folks at Wheaton make some truly beautiful and amazing things. The free blown glassware that they produce every year is highly sought after. These are not mimic bottles. These are true glass art.

A few years ago I had the opportunity to visit the Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center in Millville, N.J. Leesa and I spent a very pleasant afternoon browsing at the shops, watching glass blowing demonstrations and visiting Wheaton’s Museum of American Glass. If you are ever in the Millville/Vineland area, a visit to Wheaton is an afternoon I am sure that anyone would enjoy.

To view my awful photography of my day at Wheaton:

To visit Wheaton’s website:

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