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File photo/The Herald-Dispatch The Viking Glass Co. at 1500 Adams Ave. was destroyed in an Aug. 30, 1983, fire.

Editor's note: This is the 116th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington landmarks.

HUNTINGTON - Born and raised in Amsterdam, Holland, Henry P. Manus came to this country in 1936. In 1940, he partnered with another native of Holland, J. Goudaker, to begin the Rainbow Art Glass Co. in New York. In 1942, the company moved to Huntington, attracted by a ready pool of workers.

Originally, Rainbow bought glassware from other companies and then employed a number of women to paint it with decorative designs.

In 1954, the company started making its own glass, specializing in colorful hand-blown pitchers, decanters, vases, ashtrays, candle holders and other items, sold in leading department and gift stores nationwide. Today, Rainbow designs are popular with glass collectors.

A retail store at the plant at 1500 Adams Ave. was open seven days a week, offering discounts of up to 50 percent on "seconds" and discontinued items. The plant itself was open for observation by the public from 8 an. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

In 1973, Rainbow was purchased by Viking Glass of New Martinsville, West Virginia, which continued to produce some of Rainbow's designs.

On Aug, 30, 1983, the plant and attached retail shop were destroyed in an early morning fire. When the burning roof collapsed, the building was left as little more than a charred shell. The fire left 25 employees without jobs. Most were members of the American Flint Glass Workers Union Local 707.

Some weeks later, Viking Glass announced that it had decided not to rebuild the Huntington plant, but instead would consolidate production at its New Martinsville plant.

Originally established as New Martinsville Glass in 1900, Viking Glass operated under various names for almost a century. In 1998, steadily increasing manufacturing costs and growing foreign competition forced it to close.

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