Ray and Bob Banford are a father and son team who started their glass journey in the early 1970's. Ray was interested in collecting, buying and selling art glass, while Bob was interested in the art of glass blowing. Ray bought Bob a blow torch for a graduation present and it started their journey into the art form. After years of trial and error and study they produced their first saleable paperweights in 1973. Paperweights from the antique classic period of the 1840's were their inspiration. Those antiques were the culmination of the finest skills and procedures from the factories of their day. The clearest of crystal, most intense colors obtainable, and the skills of the best glassblowers were incorporated into the creation of paperweights. The most talented glass cutters finished the pieces. The Banfords have continued this practice today. By searching for the best colors, using only the finest of optically clear crystal glass, they have honed their art to a point where pieces by the Banfords grace many private and public collections. These paperweights are in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institute, Corning Museum of Glass, Chicago Art Institute, Museum of American Glass at Wheaton Village, Bergstrom-Mahler Museum, and many others. The men's works are individually signed, internally with distinctive initial canes. Ray's signature cane is a black "B" in a white field; Bob's cane is a red "B" in a white field with a cobalt blue. Ray Banford died in March of 2003 in his native New Jersey.