If you are interested in learning about the glass industry in West Virginia, Appalachian Glass in Weston is a great place to go for a fun and entertaining lesson.

I learned about this family business from one of West Virginia’s mighty VISTA, Lee Gainer, whose daughter, Zoe, did a social studies project with the assistance of Todd Turner from Appalachian Glass.

And so one Saturday I took my grandson, Jackson (above), to Appalachian Glass. Jackson, who is seven, wasn’t overly enthusiastic about traveling from Morgantown to Weston. But upon arrival we joined a small group of folks in the back of the building watching Todd Turner blowing glass ornaments (right, below), and explaining the entire process.

Todd struck a rapport with Jackson. Soon Jackson was learning about West Virginia being a leading state in pure silica sand along with Texas and North Carolina. He can now tell you the temperature of the furnace that burns continuously in the back of the business.

Jackson will also tell you there were 474 glass factories in West Virginia in 1890, and 30 in Weston alone in 1903. Thanks to the time and effort Todd spent with Jackson, he now has a great interest in, and love of, glass blowing.

Back at home the following day Jackson gave everyone a lecture about everything he had learned from Todd. Jackson wants to return to Appalachian Glass and take several folks along to show them the process. He wants everyone to know that his cat Miles, a glass cat that Todd formed as Jackson watched, came from the hot furnace, in his favorite color. (Jackson thinks everyone should have a cat that Todd makes.)

Don’t miss an opportunity to visit Appalachia Glass. Todd Turner and his family have a real passion to share the story and traditions of glass blowing in West Virginia.

This story was originally featured in the West Virginia Community Development Hub’s Blog.

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