Who Was Ruben Haley (1872-1933)? - Part I

by Bud Walker
Issue No. 253 - May 1994

Thanks to the efforts of men like Willard Kolb and Jack D. Wilson who wrote the book Phoenix and Consolidated Art Glass 1926-1980, we can look back in time and piece together the story of this talented individual. Much of the glass that we collect and enjoy came into being through his efforts and creative talent. Ruben Haley was a glass designer. Ruben worked for several glass companies, Pairpoint, then later for the Fostoria Glass Company, which was then located in Fostoria, Ohio. A few years after the National Glass Company was formed, Ruben was offered the position of chief designer, a position that he accepted.

While at National Glass Company, Ruben created many pressed glass imitations of cut glass.  This enabled the working class to purchase glass that was close to the hand cut pieces which were so popular with the affluent. When we look through the old records, we find that A. J. Bennett had Ruben designing moulds for the Near Cut line. When the National Glass Company was forced into receivership in 1907, Ruben Haley in partnership with Addison Thompson formed a consulting firm and did work for many glass companies of the Ohio Valley area.

Ruben had a son, Kenneth R. Haley, who was born in 1905 and died November 7, 1987. Kenneth learned the trade by working summer vacations for his father at the United States Glass Company. Sometime later Kenneth became a salesman for U. S. Glass. When he left there, he went with the old Economy Tumbler Company, which later became the Morgantown Glass Company, as assistant sales manager. While at Morgantown, he designed the Nymph or Dancing Girl. Thanks to the research of Jerry Gallagher, an authority on Morgantown Glass, we now know that the correct name for this beautiful etching, is Sunrise Medallion.

As much as we have been able to learn about Kenneth Haley, we must assume that he did little or no work for the Cambridge Glass Company. But, with his father, these two men created some of the most outstanding glassware designs that this country has ever seen. 

About 1911 Ruben was offered the position of chief designer of the United States Glass Company, a position that he held for more than fifteen years. It was while at U. S. Glass that Ruben's and A. J. Bennett's paths crossed again. In a future article we will look into how these two talented individuals resolved a complex problem that was having an adverse effect on the Cambridge Glass Company.

Information for this article was provided by Jack D. Wilson's book and Willard Kolb's files on Ohio Valley Glass Companies.