Fond memories of factory tours are commonplace among tourists and locals alike. In addition to Gillinder Glass’ massive manufacturing footprint in Port Jervis, New York, Gillinder also housed a gift shop located in the front of their factory. The historic Gillinder shop was open to the public and attracted historians and glass enthusiasts for twenty years.
In May of 2017, Gillinder made the announcement they would be closing the Gillinder store. As Gillinder’s commercial sales grew, so did the need for state-of-the-art testing equipment. This meant, the Gillinder store would be transformed into lab space. Mirroring the bittersweet sentiment of so many Gillinder patrons, Fabien commented, “Thanks for so many memories! Love that little gift shop, but we are so happy and want to extend our congratulatory wishes on such a milestone. This is wonderful news regarding the expansion.”
After closing the gift shop, pieces from the Gillinder shop would remain in storage until the 2021 Etsy site launch. Historical reproductions such as the centennial commemorative box, lion head statue, George Washington etched paperweight, and Gillinder Buddha statue would be made available to the public for a limited time.
In Spring 2021, through an internship program, Gillinder welcomed Austin Gurda to manage the historical collection of glass pieces. Austin began meticulously sorting hundreds of Gillinder items that had laid in storage for many years. After months of photographing and gathering product details, the Gillinder Etsy site was launched in Fall of 2021.
The site has been a hit with customers marveling at the chance to collect pieces of Gillinder’s history. One of many nostalgic Gillinder stories came from Rae after purchasing a Gillinder Glass horsehead bookend to add to her collection. Rae said:
“Years ago as a kid in New Jersey, I fell in love with Gillinder Glass. My dad would take me there once a year and buy me something from the shop. I have continued to collect over the years, even after my dad passed away. I was so excited to see the post that some items would be up for sale!... I have added my new purchases to my collection and have my eye on a few more! It was so nice to be able to reminisce about my trips to the shop and spending time with my dad.”
The exquisite glass horse bookend was modeled after the 1940s mold and produced after 2011. They are available in white or green and measure 4 ½” in length, 3” in width, are 5 ½” tall, and weigh approximately 2.5 pounds.
Other favorite pieces, and factory tour features, included Gillinder's Buddha statue and peacock vases. First produced in the 1930's at Gillinder's Port Jervis factory, the 1990’s reissue of the sought-after Buddha statue has been a Gillinder staple. The peacock vases were iron blow molds, carved by hand using a hammer and chisel. The peacock molds were discontinued in the 1990's. Both historic pieces can be found for sale on Etsy.
Austin’s customer service and careful packaging has had customers purchasing again and again. Gillinder’s Etsy site maintains a five-star rating after nearly fifty reviews. After purchasing the “super cute” vintage satin rose colored dog paperweight Jennifer said, “I have ordered from them before and the customer service is the best I have experienced. The items are well packed and I am so impressed with the overall item. I will be ordering again.” The rare glass puppy figurines adorn neck bows and measure approximately 5” tall and come in a variety of colors. They are authentically Gillinder and have “Gillinder Glass” marked on the base.
After hundreds of orders and several months overseeing the Etsy site, Austin said of his experience, "So many customers have reached out to share memories about visiting or touring Gillinder as a child with their families!... Our customers are friendly, grateful, and repeat buyers."
The collectables are in limited supply and selling quickly. Don’t miss your chance to be a part of Gillinder Glass history, view the full array of products: Etsy.com/shop/GillinderGlass.