Manufacturer Notes: Pennsylvania Glass Company

Anderson Directories

1893-94 Pennsylvania Glass Co The, incorporated 1889, capital stock $115,000, H Wagner pres, ] Schies secy
           and treas, cor 25th and Meridian
1893-94 Wagner Henry, pres The Pennsylvania Glass Co, h. 429 s Pearl 
1893-94 Glass Mnfrs. (bottle). Pennsylvania Glass Co The, cor 25th and Meridian 
1893-94 Glass Mnfrs. (fruit jar). Pennsylvania Glass Co The, cor 25th and Meridian 

  Pennsylvania Glass Company.—This company was originally located at Meadville, Pennsylvania, and was removed to Anderson in the year 1888, since which time it has been one of the leading industries of the city, employing 500 people at their two plants with a weekly pay-roll of $1,500. T. J. McMahan is the President of the company, John Schies, Secretary and Treasurer, and Flery Toms, Manager.


  On Saturday night September 19, 1896, at about the hour of 10 o'clock, the alarm of fire was given, and in a few moments it was heralded throughout the city that the Meridian street plant of the Pennsylvania Glass Company was on fire. The department was soon on hand, but there was so much combustible material in the building that such a thing as subduing the flames was impossible, and the structure and contents were destroyed, entailing a loss of $40,000. The company carried on the plant and stock, nearly the same amount of insurance, so the loss was mainly on the insurance companies, aside from the time lost in replacing the buildings, and equipping them ready for use.
The establishment was originally the property of the American Glass Company, which came to Anderson in 1889, from Martin's Ferry, Ohio. This company failed in business in 1891, and the factory was sold to the Pennsylvania Glass Company, which has operated it since. It is one of the best factories in the county, having given employment to a large number of men, and runs the year round. It is a cooperative company, nearly all of the operatives being stockholders.
  The officers at the time of the fire were Thos. J. McMahan, president; John L. Forkner, vice-president; John Schies, secretary and treasurer, and Fiery Toms, manager.
  The plant when first established manufactured fancy decorated ware, lamps and lamp flues, but the business from some cause did not prosper, and the company went to the wall. After the Pennsylvania Company acquired the property, it was converted into a bottle factory, and manufactured all kinds of glass specialties. The fruit jar season is a profitable time for this establishment, and it enjoys a large trade in this line. In connection with the plant was also a mould shop, where all of the moulds for this and many other factories were made. It was one of the severest losses to Anderson while the factory remained idle, and many employees, as well as merchants and business men, felt it very keenly. This factory has been rebuilt in a substantial manner.

Forkner, John L, & Dyson, Bryon H.; Historical Sketches and Reminiscences of Madison County, Indiana. (Logansport, Wilson, Humphreys & Co., 1897)

In 1888 the Pennsylvania Glass company was removed from Meadville, Pennsylvania, to Anderson and located near the south end of Meridian street. At the present time it is under the management of John Shies, president and general manager, John L. Forkner, secretary and treasurer, and is engaged in the manufacture of fruit jars, bottles and druggists' prescription ware. It employs 200 people.

Forkner, John L.; History of Madison County Indiana. (Chicago, Lewis Publishing, 1914)

Henry & Emma Schies
Henry Schies and Emma Emmert were united in marriage April 28, 1881 by Father F. Steffin Witness Andrew Schies and Annie Abel.

Henry the son of Constantine Schiess and Barbara Mybaugh Schiess, was born Jan. 7, 1857 in Rochester, Pa. Emma was born March 17, 1860. She was the daughter of Elizabeth Neely born 1835 and Andrew Emmert born 1830 and was born at Sewickley, Pa. At first Henry was employed as a glass blower in Rochester, Pa. Later he and about 14 other men became stockholders in a company called The Pennsylvania Glass Company which started at Meadville, Pa. The stockholders composed of several brothers, six Abel boys, 2 Wagners, 3 Schies boys and Henry Wallace, Michael Kanny and Flery Toms. After three years the plant burned to the ground. As there was a gas boom at Anderson (Indiana) the firm got in touch with Anderson officials and were offered free land for the factory, and free building lots for the stockholders, and all the gas they could use as long as there was natural gas. The factory in Anderson took shape in the fall of 1889 on Walnut street and the Belt line R. S. The factory produced bottles and fruit jars. The company lasted in Anderson until about 1912 when because of lack of natural gas, it folded up. A new start was tried at Dunbar, W. Va but did not last long. The Anderson factory was one time a competitor of Ball Brothers at Muncie. Most of the stock holders were also glass blowers which means they blew the hot glass into molds. When the bottles and jars were cold they were removed by boys hired for that purpose. As four of my brothers grew old enough to work in the factory, they worked with the molds first and later became full fledged glass blowers. We girls used to carry lunch over to them when the whistle blew.


The Meadville Board of Industry.
(BY C. E. R.)

For many years Meadville had felt the necessity of a Board of Trade to look after its interests in the manufacturing and commercial world, but never was any action taken that realized practical results, until, on the evening of March 22d 1886, some of the most pushing and energetic young business professional men of the city met together and organized the Meadville Board of Industry.....................The Pennsylvania Glass Bottle Co. from Rochester, Pa., was next secured, and proved to be a very large and successful plant, bringing many new citizens here and employing over 100 hands. A car of freight per day is received and shipped from this factory alone. 

Centennial Edition of the Daily Tribune-Republican (Meadville, Pennsylvania) May 12, 1888


Revenue of the commonwealth. Bonus on charters, continued.

Pennsylvania Glass Company, Meadville, 27 50

McCamant, Thomas; Report of the Auditor General on the Finances of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania For the Year Ending November 30, 1888 (Harrisburg, Edwin K. Meyers, 1888)


Meadville's $24,000 Fire,

MEADVILLE, Pa., Feb. 6.--[Special] About one o'clock this morning the Pennsylvania Glass works in the lower part of the city were discovered to be on fire, and a alarm was sounded.  Despite the effort of the firemen the building and contents were entirely destroyed.
The plant was established in August 1887 and employed one hundred men. there is an insurance of $23,750 on the building and stock, which will nearly cover the loss. The fire is thought to have been of incendiary origin. It is probable that the works will be rebuilt.

The Olean Democrat (Olean, New York) February 7, 1889


It is now believed that the Pennsylvania Glass Works, at Meadville, which were destroyed by fire a month ago, were fired by tramps who had been refused lodging there.

Indiana Progress (Indiana, Pennsylvania) March 20, 1889


Refund the Bonus.

The following from Meadville will be read here with interest as it refers to the factory started in that place by Forbes Holton:
"the local Board of Industry has won its case against the Pennsylvania Glass Company, in which they asked for damages for breach of contract. The company has been running here but 18 months when their works burned down. The company had agreed to stay for five years, and the board met and decided that they should rebuild and fulfill their agreement, or refund the proportionate amount of the bonus paid them. The case was settled by the company refunding $1,500 and giving back the land donated them."

New Castle News (New Castle, Pennsylvania) March 18, 1891


.......The Crockery and Glass Journal publishes the following"

"A dispatch from Anderson, Ind., says that the glass blowers employed at the Pennsylvania Glass works, which has been considered one of the most prosperous in the city, struck this morning and walked out of the factory because the board of directors at its meeting yesterday ordered a reduction of 25 per cent. in wages. The company is a co-operative and nonunion factory, and last year paid a dividend of 64 per cent. The claim made by the management is that the present state of the glass market compels this step. The men don't see it that way, so they quit. The works are now deserted, but the management will endeavor to replace the strikers with new men."

Newark Daily Advocate (Newark, Ohio) December 30, 1891


ANDERSON, Ind.--The Pennsylvania Glass works, with 110 employees, has resumed the manufacture of bottles.

Daily Advocate (Newark, Ohio) October 30, 1893


Considering Their Loss

ANDERSON, Ind., Sept. 22--The officers of the Pennsylvania Glass company, the owners and operators of the big Meridian glass works, totally destroyed by fire, held a conference and their rough estimate places the loss at about $48,000 or $50,000.

Newark Daily Advocate (Newark, Ohio) September 22, 1896



Twelve-Year-Old Boy Thrust Head first
Into a Red hot Furnace.

ANDERSON, Ind., Jan. 30.--Peter Able was placed under arrest last night for a horrible deed. He became enraged at Valdisto Kumbowski, his 12-year-old helper at the Pennsylvania glass works, and knocked the boy down, he grabbed him and thrust him headfirst into the furnace, where glass sand was melting under intense heat. He was only held there a moment, but the result was horrible. The boy cannot recover, it is thought. His head, face and chest are cooked and his eyes are in a horrible shape.

Fort Wayne News (Fort Wayne, Indiana) January 28, 1897


Anderson Bottleblower Breaks His Jaw
While Blowing a Bottle.

ANDERSON, Ind., March 29.--A heretofore unheard of accident occurred at the Pennsylvania glass works in this city late Saturday, whereby Frank Sweigle, a blower on gallon bottles broke his jaw by blowing the glass. The pressure of the breath did it. Glass men cannot recall an accident of this kind on record.

Fort Wayne News (Fort Wayne, Indiana) March 27, 1897


Pennsylvania Glass Company Has a Novel Plan for its Boys.

ANDERSON, Ind., July 17.--The Pennsylvania Glass company, the largest non-union bottle manufacturing concern in the country, has begun upon a new idea in operating manufacturing institutions. It employs a great many boys in the plants and is unable to get enough of them in this city, where the plants are operating. The wages are from $4 to $6 a week, which does not leave a margin for the boys who come from other cities and pay board. The company Saturday night purchased the Avondale club house, one of the most attractive big buildings in the south part of the city. It will be converted into a boys club, complete in every particular. Part of it will be converted into a residence, where the boys can rent rooms and get their meals.
The company will maintain this club for boys and lodge and feed them for $2 a week. The idea is entirely new to the the Indiana gas belt. By this the boys can save from $100 to $150 a year, as all of their needs and pleasures will be provided fro at the home for $2.

Fort Wayne News (Fort Wayne, Indiana) July 17, 1899


A Baby Strike.

ANDERSON, Ind., March 19.--Thirty boys employed at the Pennsylvania glass factory went on strike yesterday for an increase of wages. The police were called to protect the property. The strikers are led by a boy 11 years old. The factory is closed down.

Fort Wayne News (Fort Wayne, Indiana) March 19, 1907


WANTED--Men with boys to work in glass factory: Wages good. PENNSYLVANIA GLASS COMPANY, Anderson, Ind.

The Indianapolis Star (Indianapolis, Indiana) April 12, 1911



Mrs. Lewis Stohler, wife of a well-known farmer living southeast of the city, was rendered unconscious when kicked by a horse near the Pennsylvania Glass Works today. Mrs. Stohler, who had been trading in the city, had started home and stopped to adjust some harness when the horse kicked her. She was taken home in an ambulance.

The Indianapolis Star (Indianapolis, Indiana) September 11, 1913



Pennsylvania Glass Company of Anderson has increased its capital stock to $200,000.

The Indianapolis Star (Indianapolis, Indiana) February 12, 1914



ANDERSON, Ind., Nov. 13.--Mrs William Hicks was severely hurt when she stepped into an open pit on the site of the former Pennsylvania Glass Works. She was en route home from delivering a lunch to her husband and was groping through the darkness, stepped into the pit, falling eight feet. She was badly cut by broken glass.

The Indianapolis Star (Indianapolis, Indiana) November 14, 1919


WANTED: ten more boys and girls, steady work. Apply by 7 a. m. in the morning or 4 p. m. ready for work. Must be between sixteen years or older. Pennsylvania Glass company, Dunbar W. Va.

The Charleston Daily Mail (Charleston, West Virginia) July 11, 1920


September 26, 1924
Head Of Glass Company Died This Morning
John Schies, Age 69,
Former Head of Pennsylvania Glass Plant, Dead
Came to City During Gas Boom Prominent In Industrial Life Of City For Number of Years - Member Elks Lodge - Left Widow and Six Children John Schies, age 69, head of the Pennsylvania Glass Plant, a large industry in the gas boom days of Anderson, died at 2 o'clock this morning at the family home, 1945 Fletcher Street. The funeral services will be held at St. Mary's Church but the time has not been set.
Mr. Schies had been in poor health for a year with a complication of diseases and for three months had been bedfast at his home. He is survived by the widow, Mrs. Elizabeth Schies and six children, Mrs. Frank Solomon, Charleston, W. Va.; Mrs. Clara Arndt, Chicago; Mrs. A. E. McCarthy, Santa Monica, Cal.; Mrs. Leo Broderick, Chicago; Charles Schies and Miss Mary Schies, Anderson.

Came in 1889

Mr. Schies was one of the pioneers of the glass industry in Anderson. He came to this city form Meadville, Pa., in 1889 when the gas boom was at its height and started the Pennsylvania Glass company. A large plant was established at the south end of Main street and for years the industry operated giving work to 400 persons. Associates of Mr. Schies were Henry Wagoner, Fleury Toms, John Wagoner, Herman Abel, Michael Kenny, Henry Schies, Andrew Schies, John L. Forkner, T. J. McMahan and J. W. Sansberry. Mr. Schies was secretary and treasurer and was in active charge of the glass factory for years. 
Eventually he was made president of the company. Six years ago, the glass factory moved to Dunbar, W. Va. After the plant left here Mr. Schies retired.
The deceased formerly was a member of the Elks Lodge. For years he took an active part in public affairs of the city.


Glass Company
Founder Expired
At Home Tuesday
Henry Schies, age 75, resident of Anderson since 1889, when he came to this city with a number of Lancaster, Pa. men to establish the first local plant of the Pennsylvania Glass Company on Noble Street, died yesterday at 5 p.m. at his home, 2215 Fletcher Street, following an illness of eight months of complications. His wife, Mrs. Emma Schies, died on Jan. 11.
He was born Jan. 7, 1858 in Lancaster, Pa. After coming to this city he established his residence here. The first glass plant of the glass company was superseded by a larger plant at Main Street and the Belt Railroad, where the Mainview apartment is now located. Mr. Schies retired from business eight years ago..............

Unknown paper (Anderson, Indiana) February 8, 1933 


....Born in Rochester, Pa., Mr. Schies was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Schies, who moved to this city in 1889 from Meadville, Pa. His father was connected 
with the former Pennsylvania Glass Works here and the deceased was engaged as a glassblower here for many years. He also served on the local police force 
and later operated a package store on Ohio ave..........

Anderson Daily Bulletin (Anderson, Indiana) March 5, 1953


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