George H. (George Henry) Thurston.

Allegheny county's hundred years online

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same year W. H. Hamilton & Co. built and put in operation a flint vial works,
under which style they are still carried on. In the same year Plunket & Co.
established a table ware factory at the head of 14th street, which subsequently
passed into the ownership of the Independent Glass Co., manufacturing crystal
fruit jars.

In 1864 the Pittsburgh Glass Manufacturing Co. was established, erected works
for the manufacture of table ware at the corner of South 8th and Washington


t-treets. This works afterwards passed into the proprietorship of Challinor, Hogan
<& Co., and subsequently the works were removed to Tarentum, where they are
still carried on under the same style.

In 1866, Melling, Estep & Co. built and put in operation a window glass factory
si Jane and South 22d streets, which firm subsequently became Stewart, Estep &
Oo. In the same year Page, Zellers & Duff also established a window glass factory
at South 21st and Mary streets, which subsequently became Duff & Campbell, who
were succeeded by T. Campbell & Co. The same year Beck, Phillips & Co. also
erected a window glass factory at South 19th and Mary streets, which firm after-
wards became Phillips & Co., and so still continues.

In 1866 the Richard & Hartley Flint Glass Co. was organized, and built works
at the corner of Pride and Marion streets. These works were afterwards removed
to Tarentum, where they are carried on under the same style of firm. The same
year Ripley & Co., (D. C. Ripley, George Duncan,) built and put in operation
works for making table ware on South 10th street. In 1875 the old firm dissolved and
D. C. Ripley forming a new firm with other associates, under the style of Ripley
4& Co., built new works at the corner of South 8th and Bingham streets, which are
still carried on under that firm style. George Duncan also forming a new firm
under the style of George Duncan & Sons, (George Duncan, Augustus H. Heisey^
James E. Duncan,) continued the business at the old South 10th street works,
where the business is still carried on under the same firm style.

In 1866, John Agnew & Son built a vial factory which firm subsequently be-
<;ame Agnew & Co. In the same year Tibby Bros, also built a vial works at
Sharpsburg, where, under the same firm style, the business is continued.

In 1868, Doyle & Co., (Wm. Doyle, Joseph Doyle, John C. McCutcheon, Wm,
Beck,) established a table ware factory at South 10th and Washington streets. In
1876 Wm. C. McCutcheon retired. In 1877 Joseph Doyle retired, and the firm
was continued by Wm. Doyle and Wm. Beck, under the same firm style of Doyle


In 1867, Knox, Kim & Co. established a window glass factory at No. 70 Carson
street, which firm subsequently became Abel, Smith & Co., under which firm
style the business is now continued.

In 1869, Reddick & Co. established at chimney factory at South 22d and Jose-
phine streets. This firm became, in 1878, Evans, Sell & Co., and in 1877, Evans
^ Co., and in 1881, Thos. Evans & Co., having erected a new factory at South 18th
and Josephine streets, and in 1887, Thos. Evans Company, John Gallager, presi-
dent ; Thos. Evans, secretary, treasurer, and general superintendent. This being
the largest chimney factory in the world.

In 1872 the Rochester Tumbler Co. established works at Beaver, with office
at 957 Liberty street, under which style the works are now operated. It being
claimed that it has the largest capacity of any table ware works existing.

In 1874 the Iron City Window Glass Works were established by a stock com-
pany. In 1879 they passed into the hands of Wamhoff & Co., (George Wamho^
H. H, Gilfuss, George Wamhoff, Jr., H. H. Meman.)


In 1879, C. L. Flaccus began the manufacture of flint glass vials and bottles,
erecting works at Tarentum for that purpose with the business office at Pittsburgh.
In 1879, Bryce, Higby & Co. established a table ware factory. In 1880, O'Leary
Bros. & Co. built and put in operation a window glass factory. In 1880 the
Phoenix Glass Co. was organized, and established their works at Phillipsburg, with
office at Pittsburgh. To this firm is freely given by the trade the credit of the
introduction of the unsurpassed colored table ware of Pittsburgh. To them is
also due the credit of reviving the production of cut glass as a manufacture of
Pittsburgh. The making of cut glass had died out in Pittsburgh, and for fifteen
or twenty years the trade in that line had passed to the east, chiefly to the New
England States. In 1885 the Phoenix Co. began the making of cut glass globes,
and in 1886 the cutting of table ware. In consequence, Pittsburgh is again a cut
glass market, as other firms are following in the lead of the Phoenix Co. This
will also increase the making of pure flint glass at Pittsburgh, in which nothing
but sand, lead and potash is used. The lead in combine with the potash gives the
peculiar brilliancy of cut glass. To day there is no finer cut glass made in the
world than is produced at Pittsburgh.

In 1879 J. T. & A. Hamilton established a flint vial factory at Twenty-sixth
and A. V. R. R., under which style the works are still carried on.

In 1872 the Keystone Flint Glass Manufacturing Co. was organized and put
works in operation at the corner of Third avenue and Try street, for the purpose
of making flint glass chimneys. This company was succeeded by Geo. A. Macbeth
& Co., the works being removed to the corner of South Tenth and Carson streets.

The genealogy of the various firms from 1797 to 1888 have thus been given so
far as it was possible to trace them. There were, no doubt, some firms which, in
the fluctuations of the trade, have come into existence and after a brief commercial
life ceased to be. There may possibly be omissions in the genealogy of the firms
given, as in the numerous changes it has been difficult to follow the incoming and
outgoing partners.

This genealogical record of the successors of glass manufacturing firms of Alle-
gheny county may appear to the casual reader as somewhat wearisome. It must
be recollected, however, that the genealogy of kings is at all times historically in-
teresting. These glass manufacturers of Pittsburgh are the kings of the glass
trade and, possibly, the world their future dominion.

Time works wonderful changes in all manufacturing developments, as the
past forcibly illustrates. That the genius, ingenuity and research of men in the
mineral kingdom will develop new substances, new combinations for the use of
mankind, is not to be doubted.

But in all ages, so far back as history or legend runs, glass has always been fore-
most in supplying the needs and luxuries of the race, changing only in its beauty
quality and cheapness. The firm hold that Allegheny county has, through its
ninety years of glass making, acquired upon the art, is a guarantee that another
ninety years will find it as far in the front and with as firm a hold on the trade of


that period as it has now on that of to-daj. This genealogical history of the
earlier firms engaged in the glass manufacturing, their immediate success, and the-
more eminent additional firms, has been given space therefore, not only that the
progress in factories might be exemplified, but that a record might be made that
when, perhaps, in another century Allegheny county shall again celebrate its cen-
tennial, and the names of the present glass manufacturers be to the readers then
what O'Hara, the partners in the Ohio Glass Co., and Thomas Bakewell are to us^
their commercial history can be traced. To present the progress of glass manu-
facturing in Allegheny county in exact statistics is almost as difficult as to trace the
origination and subsequent changes in the various firms. Of the earlier years but
few statistics are obtainable, and even those of later years are not as full as might
be, if it were not for the reluctance of firms to give details of business. Sufficient
can, however, be presented to show how rapidly the glass manufacture has in-
creased, the controlling position the glass trade holds, and the foreshadowing the
figures make of its future.

In 1797 there was but one window glass house with eight small pots, making^
but three boxes of a hundred feet each to a blowing; and the value of the glass
made in 1803 was, at the prices then, of from $12.00 to $15.00 a box, $12,500; and
glass cutting of a value of $500. Its produce reduced to the value of to-day would
not reach $2,500, or less than the value of two or three days' output of a window
glass factory now. In 1807 the same glass works are quoted in Cramer's Almanac
as producing window glass to the amount of $18,000.

In 1810, according to, "a cursory view of the principal manufactures in and ad-
jacent to Pittsburgh" as given in Cramer's Almanac, " there were three glassworks
in handsome operation, producing flint glass to the value of $30,000, and bottles
and window glass to the value of $40,000." As at this date there were only
O'Hara's and Bakewell & Pages works in the town, it is possible that the make
of the New Geneva works are included. Beltzhoover, Wendt & Co.'s glass house
not being erected until 1812. However the United States census of 1810, enumer-
ate three glass houses at Pittsburgh, and the value of their products at $62,000,
and mentions one glass cutting establishment producing $1,000 of work. In 1813
there were five flint glass factories producing green and flint glass to the amount
of $130,000.

In an account of the manufactories of Pittsburgh made in 1817, by order of
the city councils, two flint glass factories, employing 82 hands and producing $110,-
000 of ware, and three green glass factories producing $130,000 of glass and em-
ploying ninety-two hands are of record.

The statistics of the trade from 1817 to 1825, do not anywhere appear to have
been collected. For a portion of that interval, as recorded elsewhere, Allegheny
county, and especially Pittsburgh, was sufiering from the general depression of
trade consequent on the cessation of the war of 1812-14, after which a great de-
cline in prices in all commodities obtained, being the reaction that always follows
the high figures to which war demands force prices. It was in 1822 that the city


began to recover from the commercial disasters of the reaction, and in 1824, a new
window glass factory was put in operation. In 1825, Niles Kegister gives the val-
ue of window glass at Pittsburgh at $135,000, being 27,000 boxes, and the flint
glass product at |30,000. This latter item conflicts with the statement of the city
councils of 1817, where the two flint glass house product was stated at $110,000.
As there is no evidence of the flint glass houses of 1817, not running in 1825, and
the firm of Bake well & Page at or about that date having increased their capacity,
Niles Register was no doubt misinformed.

In 1826 the accounts of that date show that there were at "Pittsburgh and
vicinity " nine glass works in operation, of which but four were at Pittsburgh,
there being included in the nine two window glass factories at the immediate
neighborhood of Brownsville, one at Perryopolis, on the Youghiogheny, and one
at Williamsport and the New Geneva works. There are no statistics of the value
of the flint glass product at that date, but the total of Avindow glass is given at
27,000 boxes, which is presumably of the same value as the same number of boxes
mentioned in 1825 by the Niles Register. In 1831 there were four window glass
and four flint glass houses at Pittsburgh ; there having been established during
the past five years two flint houses, one in 1829 and one in 1830, and two of win-
dow glass, although the exact dates when " put in fire " cannot be ascertained,
the changes that occurred, and the dates thereof, not being attainable by the firms
who, in some cases, succeeded to the occupancy of the works, they not being direct
successors of the firms by whom the works were built. These eight glass works
employed 102 hands and produced glass of the value of $500,000,

In 1837, according to " Lyford's Western Directory," and '^ Harris' Directory
of Pittsburgh and Allegheny," there were thirteen glass factories at Pittsburgh,
six of which made flint glass, five window glass, one vials, and one black glass,
there having been established in those six years four flint, one window, one vial
and one black glass house. These factories employed about 550 hands, and pro^
duced glass to the value of about $750,000, as nearly as can be estimated, no full
account being given in the authorities quoted. In 1856 a full statistical account
of the glass works at Pittsburgh is given in " Pittsburgh As It Is," a volume pub-
lished in that year. From it it appears that there were then nineteen firms
engaged in the manufacture of glass at Pittsburgh. They worked thirty-three
factories, each ^'orks having from one to five. For the information of the general
reader it is proper to state that a factory, in the technical language of the trade, is
a certain number of pots, varying from five to twenty, in one cupalo, under the
same roof or connecting building. Of these thirty-three factories fourteen were
making window glass, eight flint glass table ware, eight vials and two black glass,
twelve new firms in the preceding nineteen years engaging in the business, erect-
ing nineteen factories, of which five Were for manufacturing of table glass, eight
for window glass, five for vials and one for green glass. These thirty-three factories
being worked in 1856 employed 1,982 hands, to whom they paid $910,116 of wages
They produced 6,340 tons of flint glass of a value of $1,147,540; 561,000 packages'



of 50 feet each of window glass of a value of $1,123,200; 137,700 packages of
vials, bottles and druggists' ware of a value of $320,250, and 80,000 demijohns of
a value of $32,000, in all $2,631,990, the value of the output of the factories having
increased in the nineteen years nearly 300 per cent.

In 1865 there were, at Pittsburgh, twenty-two firms engaged in the glass busi-
ness, working fifty-five factories. Of these firms seven had been formed since 1856,
four firms having retired in nine years. The fifty-five factories contained 528 pots.
Of these factories seventeen made window glass, nineteen table ware, eleven green
glass, four vials, and three chimneys. It should not be overlooked that this enu-
meration is by factories, some firms working from two to three each. These works
produced about 400,000 boxes of 50 feet each of window glass, of a value of about
1)2,600,000; about 4,200 tons of table ware, worth $2,000,000; the vial and green
glass house 60,480,000 of bottles and vials, of a value of $2,100,000. Of the chim-
ney house productions there is no statistics.

It must not be overlooked that these nine years included the " war period," and
the values are based on the high prices then ruling. From 1863 to 1864 there
was shipped from the glass factories of Pittsburgh 11,633 packages or boxes of
window glass to eastern cities, and 233,037 west; 141,646 boxes and barrels of glass
ware east, and 308,009 west. In the same time Pittsburgh glass manufacturers
jDaid $174,375.11 of internal revenue, or seventy-four per cent, of all the revenue
from glass in Pennsylvania, and twenty-nine per cent, of all from the United
States ; and in the period from March, 1865, to March, 1866, $276,364.44. In
1876, as shown in Pittsburgh and Allegheny in the Centennial Year, a volume pub-
lished in that year, there were thirty-eight firms, working seventy-three factories,
having 690 pots. Of these twenty-four were window glass factories, having 234
pots ; twenty-five were table glass factories, having 262 pots ; eight were vial bot-
tle and druggist ware factories, having 66 pots ; eleven were green glass, or bottle
and jar factories, having 75 pots ; and nine chimney factories, having 90 pots. The
window glass factories were then producing 840,000 boxes of 50 feet each of lights,
weighing 29,400 tons, and of a value, at the rates in that year, of $2,500,000. The
table ware factories produced 15,000 tons of table ware, of a value of $2,225,000 ;
the vial factories articles to the value of $500,000; the green glass houses, bottles,
fruit jars, and similar wares, to the value of $1,350,000 ; the chimney factories,
16,200,000 chimneys to the value of $600,000.

In the period from 1865 to 1876, owing to the reaction from the high prices of
the war years, the selling rate of glass had suffered large declines, and, therefore,
while the sum total of the values do not exhibit a large increase over those of
1865, as given, yet it will be noted they exceed those of that date by about
$1,000,000, even under the great reductions in cost. The entire value of the pro-
duction of 1876 being given at over $7,000,000. At that time there were employed
in the various factories 5,248 hands, whose wages amounted to $3,479,000 a year;
and the capital in the buildings, machinery and grounds was $4,137,587, and the
sj);T.2e occupied by the grounds 208 acres. In the period from 1865 to 1876 there
wa.s a rapid increase in the number of firms engaging in the business.


Five new firms being formed to manufacture window glass ; five to make table
■ware ; two to make vials and druggists' ware ; one to make green glass ; and four
to make chimneys. An increase of seventeen factories, having 237 pots, being a
growth in the ten years, equal to ninety per cent, in the number of all the firms
from 1795 to 1856, and about seventy-five per cent, on the number of factories.
And' an increase in firms over those in 1865, of eighty per cent., and over forty
per cent, in the number of factories and pots, over one hundred per cent, in the
production of window glass; nearly three hundred per cent, in the amount of
table ware made : and twenty per cent, in the gross value of the product under the
very large falling off" in selling rates, equal in many classes of goods to quite fifty
per cent. In 1886, in " Pittsburgh's Progress and Industries " a volume published
in that year, there are enumerated fourteen firms manufacturing window glass,
working twenty-nine factories having 286 pots, with a productive capacity of 900,-
000 boxes of fifty feet each, a year. At the rates in that year, which were greatly
below those of 1876, worth $1,800,000. There were, in the same year, fourteen
iirms manufacturing table ware at Pittsburgh, and two at Tarentum, making six-
teen in Allegheny county, having thirty-six factories with 380 pots, making about
27,000 tons of table Avare, worth about $3,500,000. There were also six distinct
firms manufacturing chimneys, with eleven factories having 134 pots. One of
these works being the largest in the world, as is also one of the table ware works.
These factories turn out over 30,000,000 chimneys a year, other goods, such as
lantern globes and reflectors, and the total value of their products is about $1,100,-
000, beside the product of the table ware factories which also manufacture simiiiar
goods. There were also four firms engaged wholly in the manufacture of vials,
bottles and druggists' ware, having ten factories with 104 pots, besides the product
of one of the window glass houses which made also this description of ware. The
value of the product is given at $850,000. There were eight green glass works
with eleven factories with 80 pots, producing 19,000 tons of manufactured glass
worth about $600,000. Being a total of forty-two firms having ninety-three factor-
ies, and working 984 pots, employing 8000 hands, to whom they paid annually over
$4,000,000 wages, and made glass as before stated of a value of $7,500,000. In
this decade the increase in the firms was comparatively small, but it will be noted
that the increase was very progressive in the number of factories and pots, that of
the latter being thirty-three per cent., and in the factories about thirty per cent.,
while in the capacity of the pots there was also a large per cent, of increase.

There is also an increase of over fifty per cent, in the number of hands em-
ployed. The figures quoted are, most probably, below the exact statistics, for in
the three chief authorities quoted from 1856 to 1886, inclusive, the compiler
deplores not being able to obtain full statistics for various reasons, and states his
figures as below the actual facts from that cause. While the increase in the num-
ber of firms, factories, pots, employees, and quantity of manufactured goods evinces
a remarkable progress, the statistics of the total value of the products do not seem
to be commensurate with the increased bulk of the production. This, as before men-


tioned, is due to the large decline in the selling rates from 1856. That some idea
may be formed of this, and an approximate estimate made by the reader of what
the value would be under old time rates just before and during the war, the folr
lowing ruling price at various dates are quoted.

In 1854, what are known as Diamond goblets sold for $2.33 per dozen ; in 1864^.
at 13.50; this was the "war period" when the cost of all things had been greatly
increased. In 1874 the same goblet was sold for 78 cents a dozen, and in 1888 at
40 cents a dozen. In 1854, wine glasses sold at $1.25 per dozen ; in 1864, the "war
period," at $1.75. In 1874, at 50 cents; in 1888, at 30 cents. In 1854, lamp
chimneys sold at $1.75 a dozen ; in 1864, at $3.25; in 1874, at 50 cents; in 1888^
at 24 cents. In 1854, pressed saucers sold at 40 cents a dozen ; in 1864, at 72 cents •
in 1874, at 25 cents; in 1888, at 16 cents. In 1854, tumblers sold at 66 cents a
dozen; in 1864, at $1.30; in 1874, at 55 cents; and in 1888, at 37 cents. In the
comparison the articles chosen have been selected as those of a standard character^
as the glass ware of a more elaborate character would be only confusing, from
different factories having varying designs and especial patterns. The ratio of
governing prices are, however, similar.

In 1854-55 8x10 window glass sold at $3.50 a box of 50 feet, and what are
known as brandy bottles at $8.25 per gross. In 1864, the " war period," 8x10 win-
dow glass sold at $3.75 per box of 50 feet, and brandy bottles at $11.50 a gross. lu
1888 8x10 glass sold at $1.80 per box, and brandy bottles at $6.00 per gross.

During the periods stated the wages of the glass workers have increased from
those before the war about 30 per cent. In the same periods the preceding para-
graphs show the great increase of factories, and the whole comparison shows how
control of home markets increase manufacturing establishments, to the increase of
consumption of material, the furnishing of employment, and at the same time re-
duce the cost to consumers. The question naturally arises could such results have
been attained without such protective tariffs as would enable American manufac-
turers to compete with the European.

A further exemplification of this is shown in the article of ordinary squat colored
glass globes which the Phoenix Glass Co. began making in 1884. At that time
this article was all imported, and the prices were $12 for ordinary colors, and $15-
for ruby, per dozen. When the Phoenix came into the market the foreign manu-
facturers began reducing prices to hold the market, the American manufacturers
meeting their rates. The European maker then proclaimed their intention to
crush them out, and the prices were reduced, for that purpose, to $4 for ordinary
colors and $6 for ruby.

Under competitions in 1888 these globes are selling at $2.00 for ordinary and
$4.00 for ruby. This shows, first, what control of American markets by European
manufacturers would cost the consumer there, for the inference is that if they can
now afford to sell at the immense reductions from the rates of 1884 that the profits
they were obtaining from the American purchaser were simply enormous; second,
that it is by American competition that they are held down to the greatly reduced


Tates of 1888. For under the inherent qualities of human nature it is not to be
•doubted that could European manufacturers, by crushing out those in the United
States, again obtain control of the market, they would endeavor to re- establish
'the prices of 1884, as is shown in several instances by statistics.

Third, that all legislation that enables the American manufacturer to maintain

Online LibraryGeorge H. (George Henry) ThurstonAllegheny county's hundred years → online text (page 26 of 43)