It's no secret that the past few years have been difficult for glass manufacturing in the Mid-Oho Valley and elsewhere in the eastern United States.
Fenton Art Glass has shut down its Williamstown factory. More than a jobs provider, it also was a tourist attraction that drew thousands to the Mid-Ohio Valley to gawk at the production lines and gift shop.
But while the market for finely crafted glass goblets and vases has dwindled, it's interesting to note that the Valley is home to another glass manufacturer that's surviving in this tough economy. JABO and Marble King in nearby Paden City, (W.Va.), have a corner on the world's marble market.
JABO makes 250,000 marbles a day. Most of them have industrial uses rather than decorative. Many of the marbles end up in the bottom of spray paint cans. That sound you hear when you shake a can of spray paint likely comes from marbles made right here in the Mid-Ohio Valley.
The company's employment is way down from a peak of 148 to nine now. But the company continues to make marbles as long as there's a need.
It's actually a real-life study in recycling, too. JABO melts down old Fenton glass, turning it into marbles for a new market.
So, we'd just like to offer congratulations to JABO for persevering in a difficult economy.