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L. E. Smith Glass Co.

L. E. Smith Glass Co., Jeannette, Pennsylvania (1907-1910)

L. E. Smith Glass Co., Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania (1909-2010)

 

     L. E. Smith Glass Co., Jeannette, Pennsylvania (1907-1910) On August 12, 1907, Louis E. “Lew” Smith and his associates organized the L.E. Smith Glass Co. to lease the decorating plant of the McKee-Jeannette Glass Co., Jeannette, Pennsylvania. Smith had been the manager of the McKee-Jeannette decorating establishment since 1906 and essentially continued in that position with the new corporation. The new company filled its first order on September 16, 1907. Smith sold the Jeanette business to the American Glass Specialty Co. of Monaca, Pennsylvania when he purchased the Anchor Glass Co.

L. E. Smith Glass Co., Mt. Pleasant, Pennsylvania (1909-2010) The L.E. Smith Glass Co. of Jeanette, Pennsylvania, purchased the Mt. Pleasant plant for $8,400 on October 30, 1909. The former Anchor plant actually reopened under Smith in late January 1910. Smith left the company in 1911 and Charles Wible reorganized the firm. During at least the teens, Smith also operated a mustard department and sold mustard in pressed glass jelly tumblers and sealed teacups made by firm’s own machines. Both were made from colorless pressed glass with embossed designs, and the tumbler featured a painted component. The mustard department operated from 1910 to 1916, and the plant apparently canned olives during the same period.

Even though the company’s primary products were novelties, the plant planned to make “mustards, olives, jars and other similar items” in late 1909. Early in 1910, the plant made “sodas, tumblers and packers’ goods.” Anchor Glass had installed at least four (possibly eight) semiautomatic machines prior to the sale to Smith, so the factory had machine capabilities from the start.

Fire struck the plant on April 5, 1913. The fire was responded to quickly but the lack of fire hydrants, and the low water pressure made fire fighting in effective. The plant was virtually destroyed. However, the machinery and molds were sufficiently undamaged that 9 or the 14 shops returned to production in the open air almost immediately. By this time, however, the jar machines were apparently gone. The workers were apparently making pressed ware.

The plant made paste and candy jars from ca. 1914 to at least 1920 and started to make fruit jars from 1918 to at least 1921. By 1927, the plant made “tableware, auto headlight and signal glass, novelties and specialties, and opal ware at four continuous tanks with 32 rings and two day tanks with six rings.

During February 1920, the company acquired the Stahl Glass Co. plant (originally the Gillinder Glass Co.) at Greensburg, Pennsylvania. The Owens-Illinois Glass Co. purchased the L.E. Smith Glass Co. on December 8, 1975, but Michael P. Carlow bought the business on December 31, 1986. In 1985, the plant had “7 tanks, 50tons/day,” making various tableware products. The company again changed hands on June 29, 1995, this time being purchased by the American Glass Co. The final sale (to date) occurred on January 14, 2005, this time to the Port Augustus Glass Co., LLC. Through all this time, the plants continued to make tableware. The factory closed in 2010, although the outlet remains open in 2013.

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