Utica Glass Company

From Licking County Library's Wiki!
Jump to: navigation, search

Formed in 1903, The Utica Glass Company was the first of several glass manufacturing companies opened in Utica following the discovery of rich natural gas reserves in the area. Workers from glass manufacturers in Indiana in the late 19th century had traveled to Ohio to open a window glass manufacturing facility in Utica near natural gas reserves just as they had successfully done in Indiana.

A rich supply of natural gas was needed to produce glass in quantities afforded by the newer tank-type furnaces rather than the older pot furnaces. Compared to the older pot furnaces, the gas-powered fixed-position tank furnaces enabled a more continuous process leading to 24-hour operations and increased production.

The new plant prospered with the addition of buildings, increases in production and inventory until May 10, 1909 when a tank burst releasing molten glass, causing a fire. Operations resumed in mid-1910 when the factory was repaired and improvements in cooling the plant were made that would allow year-round production, making the company stronger. In the years following the fire, the Utica Glass Company was reported not only to be the most profitable glass company in the nation but also to be producing more glass than other similar glass manufacturers in the United States at that time.

The death knell of the hand-made window glass industry was drawing close in the period leading up to and after World War I. Machine-made glass flooded the market reducing hand-made glass production by more than half. Labor difficulties including worker shortages and reduced wages made finding workers extremely difficult. During the war, restrictions were placed on the fuel needed to run the plants, forcing them to adhere to assigned periods of operation. These restrictions were left in place for a time after the war ended, making production more difficult. Along with labor issues, governmental restrictions, and competition from machine-made glass works, the company closed in 1928. [1]



  1. Edwin M. Noyes, “The Window Glass Industry of Utica, Ohio,” The Bulletin Historical and Philosophical Society of Ohio XII, no. 3 (1954): 227-243.