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Libbey Glass Company


Toledo Ohio

Libbey Glass Works, Toledo Ohio

K. M. Wilson has summarized the history of the Libbey Glass Company as follows (from an article, New discoveries in American glass, 1760-1930, published in The Magazine Antiques, Dec 1993)

The firm was founded as the New England Glass Company in 1818 in East Cambridge, Massachusetts. After it went out of business at the end of 1877, the factory was leased to William Libbey in January 1878 and became known as the New England Glass Works, Wm. L. Libbey, Prop. When William Libbey's son, Edward, became a partner in 1880, the name was changed to New England Glass Works, Wm. L. Libbey & Son, Props. as it remained until 1892, despite the fact that William Libbey died in August 1883. In 1888 the East Cambridge factory closed and a new plant was built in Toledo and incorporated in Ohio as [The] W. [L.] Libbey and Son Company. In 1892 the name was changed to Libbey Glass Company, and in 1919 the company was reorganized as the Libbey Glass Manufacturing Company. In 1935 it was bought by the Owens-Illinois Glass Company, which became Owens-Illinois, Incorporated in 1987. Today the company is owned by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. The Libbey Glass Company division, which makes tablewares, operates at its original site in Toledo.

One of the founders of the New England Glass Company was the glass technologist Deming Jarves (1790-1869) who also established three other glass factories in Massachusetts. The Mt. Washington Glass Company was founded by him in South Boston, in 1837, for his son George D. Jarves. This firm became Jarves & Cormerais in 1850 and, during the 1850s, employed William Langdon Libbey (1826-1883) who, in turn, became sole owner of the factory in 1866. Libbey moved his business to New Bedford, MA in 1870, changed the company's name back to the Mt. Washington Glass Works, and sold it the following year. A re-organization in 1896 changed the company's name to the Mt. Washington Glass Company. Two years previously it had been acquired by the Pairpoint Manufacturing Company, a metal manufacturing business.

Deming Jarves severed his connection with "The New England" in 1825 and founded his third factory, the Boston and Sandwich Glass Company, at Sandwich, MA on Cape Cod. He continued his association with this glasshouse until 1858 when he left it to establish his last factory, the Cape Cod Glass Company, also in Sandwich, for his son, John, who died in 1863. Deming Jarves died six years later (Newman 1977) (note 1).

After he sold his Mt. Washington Glass Works in New Bedford, MA, in 1871, William Libbey became the agent (general manager) of the New England Glass Company in East Cambridge, MA. As indicated in Wilson's summary, above, he continued his association with this company after it became insolvent in 1877. Upon his death in 1883 management was transferred to his son, Edward Drummond Libbey (1854-1925) who engineered the removal of the factory to Toledo, OH in 1888 where he championed the brilliant style of glass cutting that had become popular by the early 1880s and reached its heyday during the first years of the new century.

Several kinds of art glass, developed and patented by Joseph Locke (1846-1936), were made in East Cambridge and later in Toledo.

A detailed history of the Libbey Glass Company website link below:


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