Cambridge Glass Co. Anniversary

by Mark A. Nye
Issue 313 - May 1999

Ninety-seven years ago this month, the Cambridge Glass Co. began operations. The following article appeared in the Tuesday May 13. 1902 edition of the "Daily Jeffersonian," a Cambridge, Ohio, newspaper, a paper still being published today. The original transcription of this article from the newspaper's files was done by Charles Upton .

"Everybody in Cambridge has heard in a vague sort at way of the immense glass plant erected and now being operated by the Cambridge Glass Co. which is an Ohio corporation but works in harmony with the National Glass Co. and is virtually one of their chain of plants, and perhaps a few have visited the plant, but the great majority has really no idea of what a big thing our latest industry is or the size of the plant, the number of people to be employed, the output, and what a great addition and help it will be to Cambridge.

"When the matter of securing and locating the plant here first came up, those who really understood what an immense plant was knocking at the city gates could hardly realize that it could be true but when they were convinced they started in earnest to land the prize and never relaxed their efforts until its location was assured. All are familiar with the early history of the work, how the different committees were busy day and night and their progress was reported in the papers from day to day. Notwithstanding the many obstacles to be overcome those at the head of the enterprise realized that the only way in which they could hope to succeed was to "keep everlasting at it," and at last their efforts have been crowned with success. The plant was secured, buildings erected and now it is in operation. The Improvement Co. deserves a great deal of credit for what it has done for the city and within a very short time the city at large will reap the benefits of their enterprise.

"The Cambridge Glass Co. is owned and operated by a distinct company incorporated under the laws of Ohio. The plant, while being one of the finest and most complete in the world, will, in a short time, be enlarged by the moving of a large plant here from Marion, Indiana and the company is now contemplating the building of what is known as a "continuous tank," which will more than double the capacity of the plant. (Ed. Note: Operations of the Canton Glass Co., Marion, Indiana, ceased shortly after the Cambridge factory opened. Much of the production at that plant was transferred to Cambridge. However, the "continuous tank" was not built.)

"A Jeffersonian reporter accompanied by Health Officer T. C. Stanley had the pleasure yesterday, of inspecting the plant from top to bottom, under the guidance of President A.J. 8ennett and Factory Manager H. L. McClure.

"Operations began last Tuesday (May 6. 1902, Ed. note). At present, only one stack is in operation and another will be started in three weeks. The present "fire" will end July 3rd, when the plant will shut down for one month. This is done in plants all over the country and is in accordance with an agreement between the operators and workmen. During July, the weather is too hot for the men to work. As soon as the plant resumes production a month later, the third stack will be in operation.

"Each of these stacks is about one hundred feet high and in each are what is known as fourteen pots. At present on the one stack now in operation sixty-four people are at work, of who perhaps thirty are skilled workmen. This stack is not yet running to its full capacity because as it was so near the end of the "fire" it was thought best to make a small start. About one hundred people are now on the payroll and when it on in full, the number employed will be five hundred.

"The statement that these furnaces or stacks are first heated at 900 degrees is wrong. They are heated to 3000 degrees which is known as "Cherry Red" and this is a test of the stacks. Natural gas is used and the amount of gas used in one furnace would make a citizen think of bankruptcy. Each furnace consumes from 250,000 to 300,000 feet of gas per day and the engine alone uses 1500 feet per hour. The company owns its own gas wells and has plenty of land on which to sink other wells. Judging by the amount of gas used, one would think it would soon give out but the company has not fear on this score and even if such a thing should happen the company has made provision to manufacture gas which they could use. They also control a large tract of coal land in the neighborhood of the plant.

"The entire plant is thoroughly equipped with fire protection. The company has its own water works system. Near the plant is a tank fifty-three feet from the ground which holds 500 barrels of water. The water is pumped from Leatherwood Creek. The plant also has an excellent sanitary system and in each of the large rooms are placed toilet closets.

"It is built on an elevation which commands an excellent view of the surrounding country. The plant is really made up of six buildings, all joined together except one which is a two story building fitted up for the offices of the company. The offices are elegantly arranged, combining convenience with usefulness and present a very busy scene. This building is surrounded on three sides with a very prety park. Men are now at work grading and sodding the lawns, planting flowers, trees. etc., and laying the side-walks.

"After obtaining permission at the offices to inspect the plant, one is conducted to the factory. First you enter the room where the three stacks or furnaces are. This large room is 240 x 84 feet. Here is where the glass is melted and mouided and trimmed. Each article is then taken to what is known as the lehr building, where it is tempered. This room is 100 x 50 feet. Next are four rooms each 100 x 50 feet used respectively for sorting, packing, storing and sample rooms.

"The basement is divided into rooms the same size as those on the first floor. These rooms ars used as blacksmith shop and engine rooms, mould storage room, room for storing packing material, etc., and for the cooper shop and storage room. Each department is as complete as possible.

"The main engine is what is known as a Miller engine, 100 horse power, of which there are very few in use.

"There are two 25 horse power, one 10 horse power, one l5 horse power and two 2-1/2 horse power engines besides the main engine.

"The entire plant is lighted by electricity, the company having its own electric plant. There is also a 50 horse power motor and another has been ordered.

"Near the room where the furnaces are located are a number of lockers for the employees and in one end of the sorting room is a dining room for the girls employed at the plant. The company, as soon as possible will erect a building near the factory in which will be a restaurant. It has also donated ground for a baseball park for the use of the employees.

"The company makes all their own moutds.

"When the plant is on full, the melting capacity will be 327,000 pounds of glass a week.