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News Coverage of Vitrolite and Tim Dunn

Vitrolite in the Headlines

Hoover Dam is latest job for St. Louis' Vitrolite Man
Tim Dunn restores the Vitrolite walls of the Hoover Dam's restrooms

Glimmers of History
Exterior of Bert's downtown drugstore back in high shine (Hastings, NE)

Early Vitrolite Corner Signs are Bringing New Collectors
Check out this article on Vitrolite from the September 2, 2013 issue of Antique Week featuring Vitrolite Specialist's Tim Dunn.

Coastland Apartments
The Vitrolite Specialist restores the bathrooms of this apartment building on the south side of Chicago.

Vitrolite Man Visits Ottawa
Tim Dunn restores the facade of a building on West Madison street in Ottawa, Illinois.

Owner Keeps Vintage Look for Local Building
Tim Dunn and crew restore the Vitrolite paneling on the Stumpp Building in downtown Mt. Vernon, IL.

Grand Theatre
Tim and Hank install a Vitrolite facade on the Grand Theatre in Grand Island. This is the largest Vitrolite installation since the 1950s!

Charleston Diner
Tim restores the Vitrolite facade of the Quarrier Diner in Charleston, West Virginia.

St. Louis Bathroom
Tim reinstalls a customer's Vitrolite in their newly renovated bathroom.

Apollo Theatre
The glass facade of this Oberlin theater is restored by Vitrolite Specialist.

Chicago Home
Tim Dunn restores the Vitrolite around a fireplace in Sherry Wiesman's Chicago home.

Alhambra Theater
Vitrolite replaced in the vestibule of the Alhambra Theater in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.

Maplewood Home
Tim Dunn installs Vitrolite in the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room of a home in Maplewood, Missouri.

Hamilton's Storefront
Tim Dunn repairs damage to 80-Year-Old Black Glass on Storefront of Hamilton's in Brownwood, Texas.

Artcraft Theatre
The Artcraft Theatre in Franklin, Indiana was restored with various Vitrolite techniques by Tim Dunn.

The Future Antiques
South Saint Louis storefront remodeled with Vitrolite.

New Use for an Old Tile
Tim Dunn restores a home in Ladue, MO.

Pieces of the Past
Tim Dunn restores storefronts in Palestine, TX.

Makeover Aims to Light up Downtown
Tim Dunn restores the Zoe Theater in Pittsfield, IL.

Vitrolite finds itself once again in demand – an article from the Kansas City Star.

Rivoli Theatre
Tim Dunn in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, restoring the Vitrolite on the Rivoli Theatre.

Glass Rejuvenated at Former Gibson Building
Tim Dunn in Appleton, Wisconsin, working on the former Gibson building.

Vitrolite Needed for Deco Theater Refurb
Vitrolite restoration of the Augusta Historic Theatre.

Visiting Specialist Fixes Old-Style Glass
Tim in Mt. Vernon, Il.

Vitrolite: Glass and class of the past Art glass of yesteryear offers a beautiful choice....

The Oman of Vitrolite All about Tim Dunn's work with pigmented structural glass from the Old House Web....

A Modern-Day Vitrolite Mine by Edelene Wood West Virginia's Parkersburg-Vienna area was a well-known source of world famous Vitrolite glass manufacturers in the decades of 1907-1937....

Vitrolite Man Vitrolite, that opaque glass tile common in fine St. Louis ....

Gala at Gem Theatre Marks Cultural Renaissance The Gem's red and gold marquee, standing tough in defiance of decades of decay, was alive again...

Ritz Theater Director Travels West to Gather Ideas for Talladega Antique Talladega Executive Director George Culver has just returned from a four-week, 5,600-mile driving tour....

Luck Helps Man Find Microniche If you'd ask Tim Dunn to fill out a survey stating his profession, he'd have a problem.  You see, what Dunn does lies outside the box....

Tim Dunn and Vitrolite: Each One of a Kind During the 1920's through the 1940's Vitrolite was used on the exterior of many buildings, especially theaters, as well as....

Visitor to Help Salvage State Theatre Glass During the 1920's through the 1940's Vitrolite was used on the exterior of many buildings, especially theaters, as well as....

A Modern-Day Vitrolite Mine

By Edelene Wood

Parkersburg WV

West Virginia's Parkersburg- Vienna area was a well-known source of world famous Vitrolite glass manufactured in the decades of 1907 -1937. The colorful, opaque Vitrolite is a structural glass whose creation began with 2000 pounds of sand. If today it were considered a precious gem (as some collectors do), then finding a new "Vitrolite Mine" in Cleveland, Ohio, would be of great importance.

Such a discovery was made in December 2001 by Al Albano and members of the Inter Museum Conservation Association of Oberlin College in Ohio when the LMC purchased a building in nearby Cleveland for expansion. The building at 2911 Detroit Avenue seemed an ordinary structure until workmen began removing interior paneling. To their surprise, they uncovered walls, ceilings, floors and stairway made of glass, which they soon learned, was the Vitrolite made only in Parkersburg.

Providence must have been at work when the museum people bought the property. Albano realized the importance of the glass they had unearthed. Checking with Tim Dunn, a Vitrolite glass restorer of St. Louis, Missouri, and with other museums and Vitrolite collectors, he immediately set the museum people to work identifying and restoring the Vitrolite being uncovered. It was a fortunate discovery for the non-profit museum group and appropriately marks its 50th anniversary as the country's first such regional establishment.

Albano wanted to know why there was such a cache in their newly acquired building. Then he learned that the Parkersburg-Vienna area could be a source of information; that it is considered the "home" of Vitrolite; and that many specialists travel here to see where it was made. Many Parkersburg people, particularly former workers such a Bill Corbett and Ralph Haden, have inside knowledge of the Vitrolite Company's operations. Among their resources are salesmen's books listing the major cities where Vitrolite show rooms can be seen and where orders can be placed. (Specifications for orders were given to these representatives and then passed on to the Parkersburg plant where the Vitrolite was made and decorated to order.) Among the best-known of the men called "decorators" were Bill Corbett's brother Charles Bradford Corbitt. One of the best "designers" was Argil Cooper whose works are like pieces of art.

What is mind-boggling is the news that the Vitrolite discovered in the Cleveland building covered its stairways, floors, walls, ceilings, and a foyer. All were decorated with fantastic examples of the art glass available from our Parkersburg plant.

Tim Dunn, the Vitrolite restorer, has long considered St. Louis the best place to see old homes and buildings still decorated with Vitrolite. There the brother-in-law of "Augie" Busch of Anheuser-Busch fame had a similar Vitrolite sales operation and successfully sold Vitrolite art work for inclusion in the homes of many wealthy St. Louis people, which remain intact today.

Dunn, having six or more tons of Vitrolite at his disposal, is called upon to restore theaters, restaurants, homes, and even town clocks throughout the United States featuring this special glass. He has original salesmen's samples of all the Vitrolite colors and variations. In Parkersburg, a Vitrolite supervisor's family owns his "recipe book." It provides valuable insight into how those colors were created and even records some batches of glass discarded due to bubble impurities.

Parkersburg people possess long memories of their famous glass factory. The owner of the nearby Vitrolite Hardware Store recalls the slag pile where the defective glass was discarded. One day he saw many discarded KKK paper weights made for a 1920's convention.

The IMC museum's Vitrolite showroom, the world's only one, cannot be opened to the public, however, until $50,000 is raised for various renovations. Two splendid examples of work needed to be done are sections of Vitrolite grillwork. One is damaged but can be restored by the well-known Kent State College art glass educator Henry Hallen. This new discovery of a "Vitrolite Mine" in Cleveland is fantastic news. The area has destroyed almost every shard of its Vitrolite heritage. When the Vitrolite showroom is restored at the museum, its visual story will become an invaluable display for years to come, of the Parkersburg-Vienna heritage.

(Edelene Wood is the president of the Vitrolite Glass Collectors in Parkersburg and has written articles about Vitrolite for such magazines as GOLDENSEAL and glass collectors. A video she produced for Corning Glass Research Museum in Coming, New York, entitled LOOKING FOR VITROLITE, shows some of the Vitrolite still in the Parkersburg area.)