Worker of the Month, Edna Stevens Nicholson

by Lorraine Weinman
Issue No. 226 - February 1992

As a former packer and selector at the Cambridge Glass Company, Edna Stevens Nicholson recently shared some of her memories with us. Having worked there from 1929 to 1933 in these two very different positions, she was able to give us an idea of some of the responsibilities which she had.

At age 16, Edna had to get a work certificate in order to be employed at the Glass Company. She recalled that her mother went with her to sign up and that she was quickly hired.

Edna worked in the packing room preparing orders for shipment. Order boys brought the glass in to them on carts. Edna Nicholson There were benches on which the order boys would place the glass. At this point the orders were packed in boxes. The girls would then tape and stencil the boxes for shipment. They were responsible for cutting their own stencils and used a brush and ink to apply them to the boxes. Finally the boxes were sent down the chute to be loaded for delivery.

Edna was a fast worker. Her department packed mainly dinnerware in the boxes. The glass was generally crystal. She recalled big orders such as 200 sets of dinnerware. Vases, goblets, etc. usually were packed in straw in barrels or wood crates. This was done by men in another section nearby.

When they weren't busy in the packing room, Edna would work in the front sample room. She found this to be an interesting job to do. In this position, she would select the ware to be displayed. There were several things that she had to check. The glass could have no bubbles and the pieces had to b perfect to display for salesmen and buyers. For example, the top edge of sherbets had to be smooth to the touch with no rough places. The stem had to be perfectly straight and the glass had to sit flat when placed on a table.

The front sample room was on the first floor by the office and displayed a piece of each item of glassware that the Cambridge Glass Company made. These samples were on shelves, which Edna stated had to be dusted every day. There also were approximately a half dozen round tables which were set with complete service. Tablecloths were put on and a whole setting of a line and color, such as peach-blo or emerald, was set out along with silverware and other touches to make the table complete. Everything had to match. Colored tablecloths were used with crystal and white cloths were used with the colored glass. The settings on the tables were rotated every few days. Edna emphasized that the gold Cambridge stickers were put on all of the pieces of glass.

Edna Nicholson was both informative and interesting and it was obvious that she truly enjoyed working at the Cambridge Glass Company. We appreciate her taking the time to share this experience with us.