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Company History
Company History

Company History
Jefferson Glass Company, Steubenville, Ohio (1900-1906), Follansbee, West Virginia (1907-circa 1935).

In 1900, Harry Barstow, who had been superintendent of the Northwood Glass Works of the National Glass Company, leased the idle Sumner Glass Company plant in Steubenville, Ohio, forming the Jefferson Glass Company. Their earliest products were fancy vases, lemonade sets and novelties in opalescent and decorated effects, intended to compete with foreign imports. Their success led them to purchase and expand the Steubenville plant in 1903.

In 1905, a second factory was leased in Toronto, Canada. It isn’t known how long this Canadian branch operated, but it set the stage for the eventual purchase of a Canadian factory in 1912 that continued to operate until 1925.

In 1906, citing an inability to further expand the Steubenville plant, the company began construction of a new factory across the Ohio River in Follansbee, West Virginia, where they moved the following year. A trade journal reported around this time that “The tendency to exclusive manufacture of fancy glassware of the Bohemian order seems to have reached the limit, and a swing back towards regular tableware and crystal is noted.” (Crockery and Glass Journal, June 14, 1906.)

In addition to expanded capacity in the production of opalescent lemonade sets and novelties, the move also allowed the company to introduce a new colonial line and go into the production of tableware on a larger scale.

By 1908, this became the company’s primary focus with the acquisition of the molds, patents and trademarks for the Ohio Flint Glass Company’s very popular Krys-Tol line, including the Chippendale pattern that had been introduced the year previously. This occurred when Benjamin W. Jacobs, president of Ohio Flint and the designer of Chippendale, resigned his position to become Jefferson’s general manager.

Jefferson advertised this line heavily until 1918, offering to pay freight charges both ways for any pieces returned if they did not “outsell any and all other high grade Colonial glassware.” Claiming they had not received a single return order, in 1910, they issued a $2,000.00 challenge to any manufacturer who could claim a better quality of glass, more artistic merit, or higher sales, “to be decided by a competent and disinterested board of judges composed of manufacturers, jobbers and retail dealers.”

Though the results of this challenge are not known, there can be no doubt that the Chippendale pattern was one of the most popular colonial lines ever issued. It was eventually sold to the Central Glass Works in 1919, who continued to offer Chippendale until 1933. Pieces marked Krys-Tol may be from any of the three companies who produced this pattern.

In 1910, the company was purchased by Harry Schnellbaugh, general manager of the Macbeth Evans Glass Company, and at this time lighting glassware was introduced to Jefferson’s line. A further expansion occurred in 1915 when Jefferson purchased the bankrupt Radium Glass Company in Millersburg, Ohio, which they put back in operation producing lenses until 1919.

By 1920, the company had turned exclusively to the manufacture of lighting goods, which they continued until the early 1930s. In 1933, the factory was sold at auction, victim to the Depression as so many other glass companies were during the same years. Although purchased by a consortium of stockholders, it isn’t known if an attempt was made to reopen the plant.

-- From The Glass Candlestick Book, volume 2, by Tom Felt, Richard & Elaine Stoer. Reprinted with permission.
Date: 08.03.2010 14:19
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Added by: Tom Felt

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