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The Banford family of weight makers includes Raymond Ernest Banford who was born on January 3, 1918 in Camden, New Jersey, an area he lived in until his death on March 5, 2003. He and his wife Ruth had one son, Bob, who is also a leading weight maker. Reluctantly Ray accompanied his wife to the Corning Museum of Glass and was exposed to glass paperweights for the first time. Later he was so fascinated in watching weights being made by Adolph Macho, an elderly Czechoslovakian tank worker in Vineland, NJ that he was inspired to try working with glass himself. His first attempts were with a butane plumber’s torch with his son Bob in 1971. Later he put his graduation present to Bob, a gas oxygen burner, to good use any time Bob was not occupied with it. Robert Ray Banford was born in Camden, New Jersey on Dec. 10, 1951. He now resides in Vincentown, New Jersey. During his senior year in high school Bob developed an interest in glassworking, first experimenting with a butane plumber’s torch. For his high school graduation present, in 1971, he requested and received a gas oxygen burner. Deciding to pursue a career in glass, he worked for a year as an apprentice scientific glassblower at the Wilmad Glass Company in Buena, New Jersey, while experimenting with making weights. Though both artists learned to make weights at the same time, and for years shared the same studio, each developed their own distinctive subjects. Due to a back injury Bob stopped making weights in 2006. Bob’s former wife, Barbara Lee (Bobby) made a number of good lampwork weights from 1985 to 1994. The Banford’s work is in the style of the classic period French weights. Their flowers are brightly colored, highly stylized, set singly or in formal flat or upright bouquets.
Excerpted from The Dictionary of Glass Paperweights, Paul H. Dunlop, Papier Presse 2009.