Jun. 10—Despite growing up in the area, Ken Kosoglow never purchased any Westmoreland Glass when the company was still in operation.
But, over the past two decades, he and his wife became enamored of the lamps, plates, glassware and other items the company produced during its nearly 100 years in business.
"I was always kind of into antiques," said Kosoglow, who lives in Penn Township's Claridge neighborhood. "We got a nice set of Westmoreland Glass, and we just kind of kept collecting."
Kosoglow and other members of the National Westmoreland Glass Collectors Club will converge on Westmoreland County Community College near Youngwood on June 11-12 for its annual show, which was canceled last year because of covid restrictions.
Founded in 1899 when a group of businessmen purchased the Specialty Glass Co. in East Liverpool, Ohio, and moved it to Hempfield's Grapeville neighborhood, the company operated from 1890 until 1984.
Under the direction of President Charles West, the company produced high-quality, hand-decorated glass through the 1930s, some of which has been on exhibit at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh. In the 1940s, it was phased out in favor of primarily milk glass, opaque glass that comes in several colors, but mostly white.
Kosoglow said milk glass is the variety collectors seek out most often.
"Around this area, it was everywhere back then," he said. "A lot of flea marketers would go around buying up as much of it as they could find."
The company's hand-painted glass pieces and its ruby-red glass items are also very popular among collectors, he said.
The club has about 110 members, and several will come from as far away as Kentucky, Illinois and Indiana.
"We used to have a big following from out of state," Kosoglow said, "but, like anything else, people pass away, they sell their collections, and kids today aren't nearly as interested in it."
Kosoglow said he likes not only the look of the glass pieces, but the local history behind them.
"A few years after we started, we were looking through the catalogs and I said, 'Someday I'm going to have every piece in there," Kosoglow said. "And now, I just about do."
The National Westmoreland Glass annual show and convention will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. June 11, and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 12. Admission is free.
The show is at WCCC, 145 Pavilion Lane, Hempfield. For more details, visit WestmorelandGlassClub.org.
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .