Michael Lax Mid Century Designer and Fenton Art Glass
Updated: Aug 24, 2021
There is not much information available when researching Michael Lax, a mid century designer who had a brief relationship with Fenton Art Glass Co. Frank Fenton was always looking for new ideas and new ways to promote the Fenton name and product.
Fenton was in contact with Michael Lax in 1957 who was promoting the idea that Fenton needed to produce a modern looking line of glass. Fenton agreed and Mr. Lax had a collection designed by 1958. Fenton waited another year before releasing it's brand new "Horizon Line". There were a total of 20 pieces in the original release. Fenton did a big release and promotion for the collection but it did not sell well and within 6 months it was withdrawn from the catalogues and production ceased.
The above information is condensed from the book by William Heacock, 'Fenton Glass- The Third Twenty Five Years" page 22- B and W photos on page 142.
HORIZON -Designed by Michael Lax for Fenton 1959
Why am I writing about Michael Lax and Fenton? Most people, me included have never seen a single piece from this collection made by Fenton. There are pieces at the Museum of Glass in West Virginia. Some lucky collectors may have a few pieces, but this collection is a scarce as hen's teeth as my mom would say.
Why is this my subject for the day? I have great news for everyone. The moulds for this collection were stored away after this project was stopped and when Fenton had their big auction, a very smart individual was able to purchase every single mould from this historic line. I discovered these moulds while researching a different project. I had no idea that 7 months later I would be able to announce to everyone that the Michael Lax Collection lives.
Mosser Glass is currently running samples of the bowl collection along with the tray. The first color run for these historic pieces will be made in Jade Glass.
I would like to thank the Museum of American Glass for uploading these images from their collection. I suggest a visit to them. The Museum of American Glass in West Virginia (magwv.com)
There is a large serving bowl approx. 10 inches, a 6 inch nut bowl, and a sugar bowl which was shown as an open bowl and as a cover
Two different hanging planters, a cruet, a large vase, and a fanciful epergne with three horns illustrated in the photographs.
A close up of the two hanging planters. These moulds will be the next pieces to come out, also in Jade Glass. They will have an authentic Leather strap or thong as it was called in the original advertising
This little gem is going to take some research and further study on my part. I am looking for the original design of the Epergne Table. I know that it can be made again, I just need the proper measurements.
If you have one, or know someone that has this complete set, please send them my way.
Who would have guess that 63 years after their creation we would be able to enjoy this design concept in it's entirety? This collection is only available from Emporium through special arrangement with the owner of the moulds.
I encourage you all to plan on making space available for these pieces. They are functional, beautiful, and look as fresh and new as they did when they were first conceived on a drafting board.
I will be updating the progress of making the samples and invite you all to go on this journey with me. I have included some pictures of other designs that Michael Lax is famous for.