Pioneering in Quality Glassware at Cambridge -- Part III

by J.M. Hammer
Issue 29, Sept. 1975

Each one of the men represented on the executive board were made stockholders. By this these men were not allowed to buy stock, but were allotted stock, and they have enjoyed the dividends from their holdings for several years. Also this gave the opportunity to arrange the salaries in accordance with the worth of the individual. Perhaps, had there been outside stockholders this could not have been accomplished without friction.

In addition, several years ago--in fact they were perhaps the first--they carried group insurance on each one of the employees, this representing an expense up into thousands of dollars, and naturally would cut into the earnings of the company, but was a policy that was decided upon and carried through. Outside stockholders might have objected, hence this is one of the other reasons why the transaction was a personal one and stock never sold to the outside public.

Courage. In the days when war reigned in most of the world, early in 1918,the supply of coal for the factory was threatened. Then, the glass manufacturer turned coal miner and bought a mine. From 1918 to November, 1926, the Cambridge Glass Co. had obtained fuel from its own mine.

Was it fate or luck that brings back to the Cambridge Glass Co. the bountiful supply of natural gas which was illusionary nearly 25 years before? Assured security through its own mines and the easing which comes thence, were not sufficient to prevent that Cambridge Glass Co. courage from going into an undeveloped field in search of natural gas as the best for glass making.

It was courage and the ideal to produce the best product in glassware possible. If natural gas could be had, if there was a chance to obtain an adequate supply, was the disappointment of nearly 25 years before to stand in the way? It did not and the reward was a well which produced nearly 25,000,000 cubic feet of natural gas the day it was drilled in.

The question of fuel was mentioned to Mr. Bennett and the future outlook for the company is that they will have almost an unlimited supply of natural gas for years. This comes as a result of their own development, they having recently gone out into fields five or six miles from the factory and drilled wells, the last one of which came in a few weeks ago, and shows a production of 25,000,000 feet of natural gas per day. This one well is of greater capacity than would ever be needed for the operation of the plant, but further development is going on so that the future so far as fuel is concerned seems to be amply well provided for.

During the period when the National Glass Co. owned the factory and it was operated by the Cambridge Glass Co., the second furnace was operated early in 1903 and in the following year the third furnace was put into operation. Each has a capacity of 14 pots and originally they were of the Murphy deep-eye type.

The company had made a reasonably good start and after the second furnace was lighted and put in operation it was found some changes were necessary due to the fact that the original furnaces as built were of old and expensive type to operate, and at that time there came into the glass industry much talk about regeneration as applied to melting glass. It was to the courage of Cambridge that appeals were made to try out the new regenerative type furnaces. So, in 1905 the furnaces were rebuilt and, after many trials and changes were operated successfully. In the same year--1905--two years before the beginning of the end of the National Glass Co., gas producers to make gas from coal were installed. Twenty years go there were few glass factories using producer machines to gasify coal for the melting furnaces and annealing lehrs. Also during the first half of the quarter century, the 14 old type pan lehrs were changed to the muffle type.

In these changes in physical equipment, there was present the instinct and courage of the pioneer. Cambridge was always among the leaders in trying out the installing new and improved methods of production.

So that facts might be ascertained and actual conditions seen at first hand, the writer recently spent two days at Cambridge. The mammoth factory was inspected from one end to the other and the atmosphere of the institution, as it were, was assimilated.

(Continued Next Month--Reprinted with permission of China, Glass and Tableware.)