2014 Barrel Opening

2014 Barrel Opening

2014 Barrel Opening


by Bonny Huelga

A rather unique fundraiser for the Millersburg Glass Association was part of the Antique Festival this year.  About halfway through the auction on the Holmes County Courthouse lawn, auctioneer Jim Wroda paused in the selling of carnival and crystal glass.  Then, he offered up “the barrel“.

The barrel in question was a replica of the shipping vessels used in 1909 through 1912 to send glassware from the factory on the north end of Millersburg to buyers everywhere.  It was a 30 gallon oak barrel that bore the words “MILLERSBURG GLASS WARE” in black letters.  The barrel was a donation from MGA club member Larry Cullen.  The stencil for the lettering, a reproduction of the original stencil used at the glass factory, was loaned by club vice-president Steve Maag.  Various collectors and club members donated pieces of carnival and crystal Millersburg Glass to fill the barrel.  Mr. Wroda generously waived his selling commission.  Club president Randy Jones (only he knew the contents of the barrel!) packed the glass in straw, same as back in the day.  He would not even hint as to the contents, saying only that the barrel contained 15 pieces of Millersburg Glass and was jammed as full as possible.


Bidding was vigorous as participants flashed their orange number cards to raise the amount hundreds of dollars at a time.  The flurry of activity finally ended with a winning bid of $3000.00.  The barrel and its contents went home with local MGA Charter members Susan and Gregg Oswald.

The Oswalds own and operate a shop in downtown Millersburg called Millersburg Glass and Collectibles.  The shop is only one room but it is packed corner to corner with an eclectic mix of small antiques and collectibles.  Two china cupboards in the far corner immediately draw shoppers in to see the rainbow effects of lights on carnival glass.  Mr. Oswald said they like to share the story of Millersburg Glass with visitors to their shop and sometimes the visitors leave with a piece of glass of their own.

Susan and Gregg moved from Dalton, Ohio to Millersburg 7 years ago.  Interestingly enough, the first pieces of Millersburg Glass they bought came from a big tent auction on the courthouse lawn back then.  They enjoyed the glass so much that they studied everything they could find to learn the patterns, colors, and shapes before diving into the world of collecting John Fenton’s creations.

Mr. Oswald said they waited a day to open the barrel and it was as much fun as opening gifts on Christmas day.  One small drawback was the straw on the floor!  The glass is now part of their collection and the barrel is on display at the Millersburg Glass Museum (there is even a little straw still in it!).

IMG_0941 barrel       IMG_0942 straw

IMG_0956 barrel courthouse       IMG_0959 group


IMG_0963 oswalds

The board members of the Millersburg Glass Association, Inc. would like to extend a hearty thank you to everyone who donated to the 2014 fundraiser and to Susan and Gregg Oswald for their participation in both the club and the auction.