Pioneering in Quality Glassware at Cambridge - Part 7 - Summary

by J. M. Hammer
Issue 33 - January 1976

A glass factory such as this at Cambridge is more than a mere fabricator of a glass article from the raw material. There must be expert mechanics and mould makers, there are expert cutters, engravers, etchers and decorators; there are trained barrel makers and box builders. Electricity is used to operate much machinery and there must be steam for some processes and for heating. Also compressed air is needed for cooling and other operations.

The steam and electric power is produced in the power house adjoining the factory. Here the company installed last month a new generator so that the supply of electric current might be more than ample for any possible needs.

The Cambridge factory operates its factory department by night as well as in day time or else it could not produce the large amount of many kinds of ware which it does. The finishing and decorating sections, of course, as well as the special shops, work only in the day time.

Where doee the glass come from? It comes from the melting pot in a furnace and into the pot has been placed a proper "batch" of raw materials. The batch varies according to the color or character of glass desired. It is mixed by hand and the finest grade of silica sand is a major factor in weight and volume. Certain chemicals are added and then there is a certain amount of old glass, resulting from breakage and other residue.

In the batch mixing room were two piles ready for the melting pots. To the eye of the visitor there did not appear to be much difference in the appearance or color of the two piles, but one was for emerald glass and the other was for Peach-Blo. But before they entered the fiery furnace, the appearance was strikingly similar.

When the momentous decision was made by Mr. Bennett to improve by better workmanship and decoration the product going from his plant, he felt that there was a place for well made wares of artistic appeal and appearance in the American market and when gold encrusted stemware is re-ordered again and again to 500 dozen lots by a large merchandiser who could buy competing wares at much less in both quality and price, there is something to be said in favor of that decision.


In deciding to meet the requirements of a discriminating trade in glassware for table and decorative use, some pioneering had to be done and continued experiments had to be carried on. When glassware in opaque colors first came out in entrancing shades and shapes to replace the cheap and gaudy applied colors on crystal, it was The Cambridge Glass Co. which had the first complete line in both shapes and colors. The swing to transparent colors was anticipated also by Cambridge.

Last January, the Cambridge Glass Co. brought out on crystal blends, a luncheon service, including cups end saucers, a new idea in decoration. It was an Indian Tree design border etched and sold trimmed with the etching filled in blue. This was a reproduction of the old-fashioned Blue Willow on crystal glass, never attempted before by any glass manufacturer. It is now made in the Blue, Nankin Green, and the old Purple, and has proved to be a wonderful success in all discriminating high class stores. The care required in making that blue-filled etching is almost astonishing. Nimble fingered girls must clean every trace of the blue except from the engraving before it can be fired. You cannot do this by machinery but only by manual labor. However, The Cambridge Glass Co. believes that the result justifies the pains taken in manufacture.

When most glassware manufacturers were considering its possibilities, The Cambridge Glass Co. last January brought four complete lines in Peach-Blo, which is the name of its pink glass. There were three distinct shapes and there was a line of plain shapes in crackled effect.

Because they serve a discriminating trade and believe that they must be continually alert for new things in shapes, colors and decorations experiments are going On continually at the Cambridge plant. We would not care to predict or forecast, but if past experience is any criterion there is every chance that Cambridge today is working out not one but several new lines, some new decorations and some interesting novelties.

A pattern in glass which brought much prestige to Cambridge was the "Marjorie" - named after Mr. Bennett's daughter and which won an important medal for The Cambridge Glass Co. at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition at St. Louis in 1904. At this exposition, a silver medal was awarded Cambridge ware. A medal also was awarded at the Tercentennial Exposition at Jamestown in 1907. An award of merit also was gained by Cambr1dge wares at the Golden West Exposition in 1909.

Some of the recent new wares are illustrated in the accompanying reproductions of photographs. These being in black and white cannot do justice to the colors of the glass nor the sparkle of the decoration wherever used. The new display room at the factory recently greatly enlarged, offers full opportunity along with the direct sales and display rooms in New York and Chicago to see and appreciate the extent of the lines produced.

It will be seen readily that it is no wonder a force of 750 workers is required. This force has grown from 200 on that May morning nearly 25 years ago. The weekly payroll to the factory and operating force, not including administrative, now is around $17,000, compared with $2,000 when operations first began. The original capital stock of the operating company was $l50,000 in 1902. The expansion of the business and the development of the plant had caused steady increase in the capital required for its operation and in l920 the capital structure was increased to $750,000, and today actual capital invested is considerably over a million dollars.

This, then, is the living, active throbbing monument which Arthur Bennett has built and made on his foundation of courage. Born in London, England, Mr. Bennett early became allied with the glass and pottery trades when, as a youth, he worked for the John Mortlock Co. in London. His apprenticeship was continued with the large firm of Shoolbred's & Barker, Ltd. On coming to the United States, Mr. Bennett was connected with the Jones, McDuffee & Stratton Corp., and with the Jordan Marsh Co. in Boston. Leaving the field of buying, Mr. Bennett turned to importing china and glassware in New York, being associated with B .F .Hunt & Sons. Breaking his affiliations with B. F. Hunt & Sons, Mr. Bennett entered the manufacturing field at Cambridge. Except for brief period as general manager for the National Glass Co., Mr. Bennett's complete attention has been given to the Cambridge factory.


"Bennett's Boys", who, Mr Bennett gladly admits, have been valiant helpers in the forward advance of the Cambridge plant, include William C. McCartney the secretary and sales manager, G. Roy Boyd, the treasurer, and J. C. Kelly, the factory superintendent. The factory manager in charge of production is Orrie J. Mosser, who has been at Cambridge since the start. D. T. Dayton, assistant sales manager, is a Cambridge veteran but of the younger generation. Fred Rickey, in charge of the "order section" also is a veteran. There are many others who had been more than 20 years at the Cambridge plant and their steady and faithful service has been a helpful factor.

Messers McCartney and Kelly came into the Bennett organization as young men. They refuse to admit how long they have been there because they feel that they cannot by any stretch of the imagination be classed as "oldsters". Mr. Boyd, except for a brief time as manager of the old Crystal factory at Bridgeport , Ohio, during the "National" days, has been continuously in direct charge of finances at Cambridge.

Another or the boys who "joined up" in 1915 at Byesville and, except for War service, has been continually on the job is W. L. Orme, the vice president.

Mr. Orme married Mr. Bennett's a daughter and in capacity of vice president represents the family's interest. His particular department is decorating. Messers McCartney and Orme are natives of Cambridge so that they can readily be called "Cambridge" products.

The story of nearly 25 years of The Cambridge Glass Co., of the courage of Arthur J. Bennett and of the future outlook based on present wares and new equipment now has been told.

After a two day visit at the plant the writer came to the conclusion that the Cambridge Glass Co. occupies a very strong position in the trade. They have a wonderful young organization of co-workers - They have a modern plant, up-to-date in every respect. They pursue a very liberal policy with all of their employee. They are working all of the time to produce something ahead of the other factories. They have made heavy investment to keep up with all modern improvements, they are in a position to move with any trend, being free from all financial obligations.

In addition, the fuel department - covering gas and coal - have a wonderful supply, controlling their own mines, gas lines and wells, assuring the company of steady operation at the lowest possible cost. Courage ! It Pays !

(Reprinted with permission of China, Glass and Tableware)