WILLIAMSTOWN - Fenton Art Glass and its employees will be featured in an episode of the Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs" at 9 p.m. Nov. 10.
The show was taped at the glass factory in November 2008. Fenton employees participated while Mike Rowe, the show's host, tried his hand at several jobs including decorating a glass T-shirt paperweight. He even created a piece under the guidance of Fenton craftsman Frank Workman.
"We're very excited about (the show) and are more than pleased with the way Mike Rowe and the people who work with him treated us," said George Fenton, president of Fenton Art Glass.
Mike Rowe, star of Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs” show, autographs the back of Sue Jackson’s shirt. Jackson is a decorator at Fenton Art Glass, which will be featured in a segment of the show on Nov. 10.
Rowe's dirtiest job was ladling or cleaning out the glass tank at the end of the day to prepare it for the next glass batch. The tank temperature was near 2,400 degrees during this process. Rowe said he gained a new appreciation for a dirty job that has the end result of a beautiful work of art.
Local officials think the airing of the episode will be a real feather in Fenton's cap.
"I think there are unique television shows like this one that certainly showcase communities and business. It will stimulate interest in the Fenton product. I saw a show about a restaurant in Columbus, Ohio, that was supposed to have the best hamburgers and I went to dinner there and they really are good. I think the airing of this show will stimulate interest in not only Fenton as the business, but the nature of the business as well," said Wood County commission President Rick Modesitt, who serves as the commission liasion to the Greater Parkersburg Convention and Visitors Bureau.
"It is a tough job the glassmakers have. It's an art that's been passed down for generations," Modesitt said. "It is a big deal and the show is going to be fun for everyone to watch."
Fenton said that the more than century-old glass factory is using the show as a marketing tool and has special Fenton creations available for sale on the Fenton Art Glass Web site (www.fentonartglass.com) as well as through Mike Rowe's Dirty Jobs Web site (www.mikeroweworks.com/warehouse/).
"We have been sending out press releases, newsletters and have contacted our collectors to let them know about the show's air date," Fenton said.
Fenton also said the employees of the glass factory have waited a long while to see the episode that filmed almost a year to the date of air.
"We haven't seen the episode, yet, but we have been waiting patiently," he said. "We had originally been told it might be part of last season and then they decided to wait until this new season, so the excitement has only grown."
Along with the special commemorative Dirty Jobs items, the Fenton Web site also contains a ruby stretch glass swung vase and a foot vase that Rowe tried to create while at Fenton, along with the comment "it's a good thing he didn't quit his day job."