Cambridge History from News Articles

by Charles A. Upton
Issue No. 191 - March 1989


Board of Directors of Cambridge Glass Co.

Wilbur L. Orme, president
Mrs. W.L. Orme, daughter of A.J. Bennett, founder of company
G. Roy Boyd, vice president and treasurer
Arthur B. Orme, vice president
W.C. McCartney, secretary and sales manager
Wilbur L. Orme, Jr.
William C. Orme

The Daily Jeffersonian, Cambridge, Ohio, Thursday, August 9, 1951:

Leadership of Arthur J. Bennett Set Pattern of Company to Maintain Highest Quality of Glassware.
Half a century ago a small acorn was figuratively planted in the form of the Cambridge Glass Co. and it has grown into a mighty part of the industrial fabric of Cambridge.

In the past 50 years Cambridge Glass Co. has contributed A J Bennett immeasurably to the growth and prosperity of the community, is one of the foremost industrial operations in Guernsey County and today occupies a distinctive position, being on of the largest makers of handmade glassware in the world. Its position is also distinctive in that it is universally recognized as an outstanding leader in craftsmanship, patterns, artistry, originality and products of the highest quality.

That the Cambridge Glass Co. was humble in its origin is unquestioned, but through sheer courage, wisdom, ceaseless diligence and inexhaustive spirit of progressiveness and fortitude of purpose, it was built, developed and has been operated on sound business principles. An industry with less wisdom, courage and ingenuity would not have survived.

The guiding genius in the building and progress of this great Cambridge institution was the late Arthur J. Bennett, deceased. His hand still remains at the controls in the person of the management, and his dreams and ideals are being fulfilled to the utmost.

It is entirely fitting, therefore, that the Cambridge Glass Co., celebrate its golden jubilee anniversary, which it is doing this year, and look to the future with the same courageous spirit with which the company was founded.

On October 17, 1901, the industry was borne as The National Glass company in a period when there was overgrowth in the glass ware industry. The incorporators were Myron L. Case, Addison Thompson, Andrew W. Herron, Carey Norris and Fred L. Raymond, but back of it was the National Glass Co., whose plans were to form a combine of all glassware factories in the country. Cambridge was chosen as the location for one of the plants because it was reported that this section possessed a large supply of natural gas.

Another inducement was the deep-rooted desire of a group of public-spirited citizens to enhance Cambridge's manufacturing potentialities and they contributed ten acres of land and $30,000 n money toward establishment of the industry. Their contract, entered into on October 8, 1900, reads as follows:

"We, the undersigned, each in consideration of the promise of the others, and for other considerations, hereby agree and guarantee to furnish to the National Glass Company or its successors a site of ten acres of land and a cash donation of thirty-thousand dollars upon condition that said company or its successors erect and permanently operate on such site a modern glass works, the initial investment wherein by said company shall be not less than three-hundred thousand dollars, and the number of persons employed therein to be not less than five-hundred in numbers, performance by us to be made upon said company or its successors, within thirty days from this date, entering into a contract binding it in the premises satisfactory to a committee to be appointed by us for that purpose."

The contract was signed by 29 Cambridge Residents, as donors, as follows: R.V. Orme, J.W. Campbell, T.W. Scott, William Hoyle, W.E. Boden, T.M. McFarland, Fred. L. Rosemond, W.S. McCartney, S.A. Craig, H.P. Woodworth, Charles L. Campbell, S.W. Nicholson, M.R. Potter, John C. Beckett, C.F. Craig, P.C. Patterson, M.L. Hartley, W.B. Green, E.R. McCollum, S.W. Price, Roger Kirkpatrick, Charles W. Forney, R.D. Hood, George A. Beckett, Robert T. Scott, D.M. Hawthorne, J.M. McKitrick, David Okey and C.C. Cosgrove.

There are two of the original donors to the industrial project who are still alive, M.R. Potter and R.D. Hood. And oddly enough, descendants of two of the contributors occupy positions of importance in the company today, Wilbur L. Orme, president and W.C. McCartney, secretary and sales manager. The former is a son of R.V. Orme and the latter a son of W.S. McCartney.

Arthur J. Bennett, of New York City, was induced to come to Cambridge to take charge of the large industrial project, and it was a fortunate day for this city and what later became the Cambridge Glass Co., that he did. He was then engaged in importing china and glassware for a large eastern firm. He was born and educated in London, came to Boston, Mass. as a young man and continued an apprenticeship in the glass and pottery trade that began in his native city. After serving four or five years as a buyer for a Boston firm, he became an importer in New York.

It was under the direction of Mr. Bennett that the first piece of glassware, a pitcher designed by him, in May 1902 was produced. This product, pressed ware, is still a cherished possession of the company. It was a forerunner of a great production, which was to follow.

The Cambridge plant was designed to have three melting furnaces of 14 pots each, but only one was completed when the first piece of ware was made.

Adversities began to beset the company early in its history. There was insufficient gas from the shallow wells to supply furnaces, lehrs and equipment, a real problem for a man who but a few months before had been an importer. Determined not to be overwhelmed, Mr. Bennett succeeded in securing a supply of gas from a commercial company and men were rushed here to make the necessary line connections.

Competition was exceedingly keen in the industry and profit margins were small, however, progress was made until 1907 when the panic dealt the National Glass Company a deathblow, forcing it into bankruptcy. For three years the position and future of the Cambridge factory was most uncertain.

Continued next month ...