Fenton Art Glass was an American glass producer – active from 1905-2011. They are best known for their late 20th century handpainted glasswares, but also produced art glass in a variety of colors and with distinctive and unique additives. Fenton cats can be identified by an oval Fenton label, or a very small Fenton logo, usually on the back of the cat. There may be a number under the logo, indicating the decade in which it was made. The logo was not added to pieces until 1973. Handpainted items are signed by the artist, either on the bottom or the back of the piece.
Fenton is best known for its handpainted wares and its Burmese art glass – a two tone satin glass, most commonly shaded from pink to yellow. In addition to the artist, some pieces are signed by a member of the Fenton family. In the later years, Fenton manufactured some items for other companies, notably Lenox and QVC.
The main factory was shut down in 2011, but art glass beads are still being produced under the Fenton name. Fenton cats are now being produced from the Fenton moulds by Mosser Glass in Cambridge Ohio. These are then shipped to Fenton, where they are decorated and sold in the Fenton gift shop.
Fenton produced collectible glass cats in a number of different moulds:
Alley Cat (#5177)
The first cat produced by Fenton in 1970. The mold was purchased from the United States Glass Company, who had produced this figurine between 1924-1934 under the name Sassy Susie.
The Alley Cat is a large piece – about 11″ high and weighing in at around 3 lbs. This cat is easily distinguished by its somewhat scruffy appearance, with visible ribs, uneven ears, and a face that has a saucy smile and a wink. The body is hollow. It was produced in a number of colors and can be found plain or handpainted.
Later, Fenton began producing a smaller, more refined variation of the Alley Cat known as the Happy Cat (5277). This smiling cat stands about 6.25″ tall.
Arguably the most popular Fenton cat – this is a fluffy sitting cat or kitten looking to its left. Most of these are hand painted in various designs. It is also known as the “Burmese Cat“, and is solid and substantial figurine, 3.75” tall. Pictured below, painted in the “Hearts and Flowers” design.
This figurine is also the one used for the birthday cats – a white iridized opalescent cat wearing a birthstone-colored rhinestone collar.
Stylized Cat (#5065)
Another very popular collectible, the Fenton Stylized Cat is a Siamese or oriental shorthair type cat. This elegant figurine stands about 5″ tall and is available hand painted or plain, in many colors and varieties of art glass. Shown below in the “Daisy Lane” pattern in French Opalescent glass and a beautiful limited edition “Circle of Love” by Joyce Colella.
Scaredy Cat (#5291)
A cat figurine in the typical “Halloween cat” pose, with an arched back and fur standing up. It stands 4.5″ high. The one below is known as “Midnight, the Crescent Moon” and it was made for sale by Lenox.
More Fenton Cat styles:
Sleeping Cat (#5064) – a curled, sleeping kitten, 3.5″ long.
Curious Cat (#5243) – also sometimes called the “Snobby Cat” – -A 3.5″ tall cat, sitting and leaning forward with is nose in the air.
Crouching Cat (#5119) – One of the smallest Fenton cats, the crouching cat or kitten is a 3″ long cat figurine in a crouched and playful pose. From 1985-1993 the tail was rather short, the tail is longer on pieces from 1993-2012
Kitten with Ball (#5044 ) – Petite kitten lying down and playing with a ball of yarn. Approx 3″ long.
Grooming Cat (#5074) – A small sitting cat, grooming a paw. This figurine is 4″ high.
Sleeping Cat (#5064) – A small cat or kitten curled up and lying on its right side.
Mini Kitten (#5365), – Just 2.75″ high.
Perky / Egyptian Cat (#5318) – Cat resting in the “loaf” position
Perched / Leaning Cat (#5039)
Cat in a Bag (C1463) – A small cat peeking out of a bag. Made for QVC, 3.5″ high.
Find Fenton Cats on eBay !
The beautiful painting on Fenton Glass is a large part of its appeal! There were a number of artists working for Fenton when they were still manufacturing glass – each signed their name on the pieces they painted. For most styles different artists produced the same pattern in large quantities, however there were also limited editions (marked with the item number and the total made) and exquisite one-of-a-kind pieces. A list of their in-house artists can be found on Fenton’s site.
After Fenton closed their factory, Mosser Glass began making items for decoration and sale by Fenton using the Fenton moulds. Most of their former artists are gone, but a couple of their artists have stayed on and are decorating these pieces. Two artists still painting for Fenton are Michelle Kibbe and Kim Barley – both well known for their unique limited editions and one-of-a-kind work.
Master Craftsman Dave Fetty
Trained at Blenko glass, David Fetty joined Fenton Art Glass in 1965 and went on to make many unique limited edition pieces. He is known for his beautiful mould-blown creations, signature creations like his “hanging hearts” items, and unique off-hand (freehand) glassware. Dave worked for Fenton as a glass blower and artist for over 47 years! Even after retiring in 1998, he continued to make unique items for Fenton and was still blowing glass after a bout of COVID in 2021!
Fenton Glass for Other Companies
Fenton made many items for sale by Lenox and QVC.
They also produced items which were decorated and sold by Rosso Glass. Rosso is best known for their sand-carved decorations.
Fenton has a huge, well established collector community.
- Fenton Fanatics – Databases, catalogs, lots of resources for researching Fenton items
- FAGCA – Fenton Art Glass Collectors of America
- Fenton Art Glass – Fenton’s official site