Raymond
e.
Banford


RAYMOND E. BANFORD was born on January 3, 1918 in Camden, New Jersey to William and Verna Banford. His parents lived at 26 Marlton Avenue in the latter part of 1918. By 1924 the Banford family had moved to 406 North 27th Street when the 1930 Census was taken, also included paternal grandmother Sarah Banford. William Banford then worked as a brakeman for the Pennsylvania Railroad at the nearby Pavonia rail yards.

Growing up in East Camden, Raymond Banford graduated from Woodrow Wilson Junior High School in June of 1933 and four years later received his diploma from one of Camden's high schools.

Raymond Banford enlisted in the United States Navy after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, serving from January 3, 1942 through February 1, of 1946. He had secured an appointment to the Camden Fire Department 

prior to returning to East Camden from the service and, upon his return home, worked as a fireman until retiring in 1973. When the 1947 Camden City Directory was compiled, Raymond Banford was living with his parents at 32 North 28th Street, a short walk from the firehouse at North 27th and Federal Street

In 1948 Raymond Banford married an East Camden girl, Ruth Pogust. On December 19, 1951 the Banfords were blessed with a son, Robert Banford. The made their home at 2908 Cramer Street until the mid-1970s. 

During the 1960s Ray Banford became interested was interested in collecting, buying and selling art glass, while Bob was interested in the art of glass blowing. Ray bought Bob a torch for a high shool graduation present and it started their journey into the art. After years of trial and error study they produced their first saleable paperweights in 1973.

Paperweights from the antique classic period of the 1840s were their inspiration. They were the culmination of the finest skills and products from the factories at that time. The clearest of crystal, most intense colors, and the skills of the best glassblowers were incorporated into the making of paperweights. The most talented glass cutters finished the pieces.

After retirement, Raymond Banford moved to Hammonton, New Jersey where he lived for nineteen years. In 1973 he founded R. Banford, Inc. where he and son Robert created and sold collectable paperweights and art glass, as well as antique paperweights. With his son Robert in a shared studio in the garage of the Banford home he experimented in creating art glass and paperweights, and in time became famous in that line. His works are featured in the collections of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; the Corning Museum of Glass at Corning, New York; the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum, Neenah, Wisconsin; and at the Museum of American Glass at Wheaton Village, in Millville, New Jersey. Raymond Banford was a resident of Southanpton Township in Burlington County, New Jersey for the last eighteen years of his life. He passed away on March 3, 2003 leaving behind his wife and son.


In front of Fire Headquarters, North 5th and Arch Streets, 1958
Firemen Raymond Banford, James McGrory, James Stewart, Chester Gedrich

Click on Image to Enlarge


  • 20th Century American Paperweights
  • Double Overlay with Basket Paperweight , circa 1990
  • glass
  • 3 1/8 in. x 3 1/8 in. (7.94 cm x 7.94 cm)
  • Raymond Banford  (1918 - )
  • American
  • The Henry Melville Fuller Collection, 1998.1.232

Excerpts from 1995 Paperweight Collectors Association annual bulletin article
"Raymond Banford: A Pioneer of Lampwork Paperw
eight Making" by Gay LeCleire Taylor

Raymond Banford

Glassworking was not Ray's first occupation. Born in Camden, New Jersey, in 1918, Ray worked as a fireman from 1946 until 1973. Ray married his wife Ruth in 1948. In 1951, they had a son, Robert.

The witty Ruth not only brought her clever sense of humor to the marriage, but also her inherited love of glass and antiques. Like a sponge, Ray began to read and meet antique dealers, soaking up knowledge about glass and other precious objects. He also met old-time South Jersey glassblowers. Ray became a well-informed dealer of art glass and antique paperweights. His love of antique paperweights led him to discover the works of other early lampwork paperweight makers.

About this time, Ray's son Bob was graduating from high school. As a present, Ray and Ruth gave Bob a propane and oxygen burner used to melt glass rod. Unable to resist, Ray began to experiment with the burner, eventually resulting in a line of small paperweight pendants and miniature buttons. Like so many of the early lampwork artists, Ray and Bob pursued all avenues to find suitable and compatible glass. After three years of struggles, Ray's own style of weights began to emerge. Ray and Bob both developed their own paperweights while working closely in their shared studio in the garage of their home. They worked together experimenting with techniques but each creating his own unique style.

Ray is known primarily for two types of flowers he developed. He is famous for his many types of roses. Single roses and bouquets in a wide range of colors and shadings.

He and Bob also developed a way to overlay the paperweights with color. The pieces later being cut with various windows. Perhaps the single piece for which the Banfords are most known is a basket-cut overlay with either rose or iris bouquets contained therein. Also made were clear baskets, the cutting done by master glass cutter Ed Poore.

The other type of flower weights Ray is known for is the iris. From magnum-sized bouquets to a small single flower, he has created an abundance of different designs. He, along with son Bob, also create collaborative pieces, though very few.

Now Ray has cut back on his paperweight making, creating no more than 15 weights a year. He takes pleasure in reminiscing about the early days of lampwork paperweight making and the friends he has made. Sharing his love of glass and paperweights with his family and associates is still an important part of Ray's life. After more than twenty years, Ray Banford's influence on paperweights has been enormous. Although he will eventually retire, the legacy of paperweights he leaves behind insures he will never be forgotten.

Ray's paperweights are in numerous public and private collections; among them are:

  • Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

  • Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York

  • Bergstrom-Mahler Museum, Neenah, Wisconsin

  • Museum of American Glass, at Wheaton Village, Millville, New Jersey


 


Camden Courier-Post - March 9, 2003

BANFORD, RAYMOND E.
85 of Southampton, NJ, died Wednesday (3/03) in the Virtua Memorial Hospital of Burlington County, Mt. Holly, NJ.
Mr. Banford was born in Camden, NJ & was a Southampton resident for the last 18 years, moving from Hammonton where he lived for 19 years.
He was the son of the late William and the late Verna Young Banford. He served in the US Navy from 01/03/42 to 02/01/46 during WWII. He received the American Theater Ribbon, The European Theater Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal and Victory Medal. Ray worked as a fireman from 1946 until 1973. Ray married his wife Ruth Pogust in 1948 and in 1951 they had a son Robert.
Ray became a well-informed dealer of art glass and antique paperweights. Eventually Ray and Bob both developed their own paperweights while working closely in their shared studio in the garage of their home. They worked together experimenting with techniques but each creating their own unique style. Ray's paperweights are in numerous public and private collections among those are: Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY, Bergstrom-Mahler Museum, Neenah, WI and the Museum of American Glass at Wheaton Village, Millville, NJ. He was a co-owner of the R. Banford Inc., in Hammonton, NJ. He was a member of the VFW, the Paperweight Collectors Association and the Wheaton Village Cultural Alliance.
He is survived by his wife Ruth A. (Pogust) Banford and one son; Robert Banford of Hammonton, NJ.
Visitation is Tuesday from 1:30PM to 2:30PM at RONE FUNERAL SERVICE, 1110 East Chestnut Ave., Vineland, NJ. Funeral Services will be held at 2:30pm at the funeral home with the Rev. Alexander Thompson officiating. Burial will follow in the Olivet Cemetery, Pittsgrove. The family requests donations to Touch Inc, 202 N. Plymouth Court, Southampton, NJ 08088 or to the Hampton Lake Emergency Squad, Holly Blvd., Southampton, NJ 08088.


408-406 North 27th Street

Destroyed by Fire
February 10, 2009

Photo February 25, 2009

Click on Image to Enlarge


RETURN TO CAMDEN'S INTERESTING PEOPLE PAGE

RETURN TO DVRBS.COM HOME PAGE