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John E. Kemple Glass Works Company History
John E. Kemple Glass Works Company History

John E. Kemple Glass Works Company History
John E. Kemple Glass Works, East Palestine, Ohio (1945-1956) and Kenova, West Virginia (1956-1970).

Started by John E. Kemple and his wife Geraldine. John was descended from five generations of glassmakers and had previously worked at the Fostoria Glass Company. Geraldine had worked in advertising, and owned her own gift shop. For years they had thought of opening their own glass company and in May of 1945 they sold the gift shop and used the money to help finance the John E. Kemple Glass Works. The Kemples worked hard to make the business a success and during its peak the company employed about fifty workers. When the building they were leasing burned to the ground in 1956 they purchased the Gill Glass Works factory in Kenova, West Virginia. Always a family run enterprise, John managed the factory while Geraldine ran the sales room, the office, and conducted tours. When John fell ill in 1967 Geraldine continued to run the business while caring for her husband, but when he died in 1970 she decided to close the company and retire.

Beginning in 1944 (a year before they opened) the Kemples acquired several hundred molds that had previously belonged to the Mannington Art Glass Company of West Virginia. These were mainly for novelty items, some of which dated from the late 1800s and had originated with companies such as Gillinder & Sons and the Dithridge Glass Company. Additional molds, including patterns such as Lace and Dewdrop, Ivy-in-Snow and Moon and Star Variant were obtained in 1946 from H. M. Tuska, a New York distributor. Most of the Tuska molds can be traced back to the Co-operative Flint Glass Company, and possibly to the Wilson Glass Company of Tarentum, Pennsylvania before that. During the 1950s another 300+ molds were purchased from the McKee Glass Company. These included molds for several EAPG patterns, such as Aztec, Martec, and Toltec, as well as some covered animal dishes and other novelty items. These and other smaller purchases led to Kemple owning more than 1,100 molds by the end of its twenty-five year history. When the company closed the majority of these were sold to Wheaton Industries of Millville, NJ who continued to produce many of the items as part of their Wheatonware line. In 1975 the molds were moved to the Museum of American Glass at Wheaton Village where they still reside.

? From The Glass Candlestick Book, volume 3, by Tom Felt, Rich & Elaine Stoer (reprinted with permission)
Date: 05.05.2007 16:00
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Added by: Tom Felt

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