Cambridge Glass Co.  - Article Reprint

Submitted by Doris Isaacs
Issue #45 January 1977

From The Jeffersonian of Cambridge, Ohio, dated Wednesday, September 1, 1948

Cambridge Glass Co Has International Reputation for Artistic Craftsmanship

Long a leader in the manufacture of hand-made glassware of recognized superior quality, the Cambridge Glass Co. not only is one of the outstanding industrial concerns in southeastern Ohio but also has gained an international reputation for artistic craftsmanship.

Founded shortly after the turn of the century, its growth has paralleled and has had much to do with the industrial expansion of the community. A. J. Bennett Headed by A. J. Bennett, now deceased, who for nearly 40 years was the company's motivating and dominant figure, the plant soon became one of the city's largest and most stable manufacturing concerns and citizens point to it with pride. With employment of over 700 and an annual payroll exceeding one and half million dollars, its operation is vital to the economy of the Cambridge community.

Under the guidance of Mr. Bennett, who was ably assisted by a staff of energetic, competent and loyal men (affectionately referred to by Mr. Bennett as "My Boys"), many of them serving in executive capacities today, the plant early started on a course designed to confine operations to the making of quality ware. And Cambridge ware ranks among the finest produced anywhere. It has a world-wide market and has always sold well wherever displayed. A large proportion of the company's employees are highly skilled craftsmen, who, of course, have contributed no little to the success of the enterprise and likewise are well known prominent citizens of the community. Many families here have been associated with the glass industry since the early days of the company.

The company had a struggle for existence in its early days, but thanks to Mr. Bennett's courage and foresight it successfully weathered periods of adversity. "His Boys", in whom he placed a great deal of reliance, included his son-in-law, W. L. Orme, for many years vice president and who today heads the company; W. C. McCartney, secretary-sales manager; O. J. Mosser, plant manager; G. Ray Boyd, treasurer; J. C. Kelly and D. T. Dalton. Among those of a younger generation who today hold responsible positions with the company is Arthur (Bud) Orme, a grandson of the late A. J. Bennett.

The factory was erected by the National Glass Co., and in the latter part of 1901 the Cambridge Glass Co. was incorporated. Mr. Bennett, a buyer and importer of china and glass, was called from New York to take charge. The first piece of glassware was made in 1902.

Mr. Bennett, who guided the company from its beginning until his death, Feb. 19, 1940, was not a manufacturer by training or experience. Born Jan. 18, 1866, in London, England, he came to this country when 16 and first was associated with the Jordan March Co., in Boston, where he was engaged in buying. From there he went to New York where he was associated with B. F. Hunt & Sons and gave his attention to work of importing china and glassware. However, soon after his arrival in Cambridge he proved his ability in the production field. Relatively few industrialists in the country today have met with as great a success as he did.

One of the chief reason for the location of the factory here was because of the availability of natural gas.

The National Glass Co. faced financial difficulties in the panic year of 1907, resulting eventually in its bankruptcy. For three years the position and future of the Cambridge factory was uncertain.

Cambridge Seal Courageously, Mr. Bennett continued operations. In the scrambled financial trouble of the National Glass Co., it appeared at one time that the Cambridge company would lose its factory. Mr. Bennett went to Byesville and with the assistance of the townspeople got control of a small plant there. It was smaller than the plant here, but it was a factory where Mr. Bennett was safe from the financial alarms surrounding the closing days of the National Glass Co. debacle.

After a long drawn-out fight with the receivers and bond holders of the National Glass Co., an arrangement was effected whereby Mr. Bennett purchased the factory with all the machinery and personal property of the Glass Co. This was a real burden to assume for any one individual. The total amount represented being under $400,000 of which $50,000 was paid in cash and the balance carried about 50 percent in notes and mortgage bonds, maturing over a period of 10 to 15 years. This individual transaction was accepted by bankers because of their confidence in Mr. Bennett. All obligations, including the mortgage bonds, were retired several years ahead of the time limit.

Since its establishment the company has been progressive. It was one of the first concerns to adopt the group insurance plan. It did this in the early 1920's at considerable expense to the company.

Besides being always interested in the welfare of his employees, Mr. Bennett aided the community in many other ways. He was active in civic, religious and fraternal organizations and gave generously to assure the financial success of many endeavors. Many of his gifts were given with the understanding that they were not to be publicized. Among his outstanding contributions to the city is the children's wading pool at the City park.

Cambridge had an outstanding leader and benefactor in Mr. Bennett, who will never be forgotten and his successors have proved their ability as successful industrialists.