Manufacturer Notes: De Steiger Glass Company

445 453 Mary M Mohiser                 66 F W                 1000 Germany
       454  Francis Stiger                    36 M W Miner      1500 Switzerland
                Ann Elizabeth Stiger         24 F W Md.
                Charles F Stiger                  5 M W Iowa
                Philip R Stiger                      3 M W do.
                Mary E Stiger                       1 F W do.
      455 Charles Desmoineaux        32 M W Baker                 France
              Sarah Ann Desmoineaux   21 F W Md.
              Henry Miller                          24 M W Laborer             Germany
              Lepry Guyou                         14 M W                           Canada

1850 Iowa Dubuque District 7 Census

4 4 Francis A. Styger         41 M W Miner 1000 150 Switzerland
       Amy Elizabeth "           35 F W                               Maryland
       Philip               "            13 M W                              Iowa
       Mary Elizabeth "           10 F W                                   "
       Augustus F.      "             5 M W                                  "
      Joseph               "             2 M W                                  "

1860 Iowa Dubuque Peru Census

391 614 Steger Elisa             42 F W House Keeping      100 Maryland
                -- Philip                     24 M W Painter                             Iowa
                -- Mary                      21 F W Photographer                     do
                -- Augustus              15 M W                                              do
                -- Joseph                  12 M W                                             do
                -- Edward                 10 M W                                             do
                Ely Joseph                21 M W Druggist Ohio
        616 Milan, Alice               32 F W Keeping House        200 Ireland
                -- Mary                      12 F W                                             Missouri
                -- Frank                      9 M W                                              do
                -- Cora                        8 F W                                              do
                -- William                    3 M W                                             do
                Hatton Mary              36 F W Cloak Maker                      Ireland
                -- Ann                         25 F W         Do                                 do

1870 Missouri St Louis St Louis Census

149 152 De Steiger Elizabeth      W F 59                    Keeping house                          Maryland
                David Mary E.                 W F 31 Daughter                                                        Iowa
                De Steiger Joseph         W M 22 Son           Clerk in Glass Factory              Iowa
                -- Edward A                     W M 19 Son           Bookkeeper                               Iowa
               Nelson, Annie                   W F 18 Servant     Servant                                       Sweden
               Mullen, John                     W M 16 Servant     Servant                                        Ills.

 92  95  Combs Chester D            W M 47                    Hotel Keeper                             New York
              De Steiger Eugene          W M 35 Boarder     Lumber Dealer                          Ohio

 31  34  De Steiger Philip              W M 33                    Glass manf                               Iowa
                 "    Minni                         W F 29 Wife           Keeping House                         Mississippi
               Arron Mary                       W F 24 Domestic  Domestic                                   Illinois
               Farley Jane                      W F 13 Domestic  Domestic                                   Illinois

1880 Illinois La Salle La Salle Census

Joseph De Steiger and his three brothers moved from St, Louis to La Salle in 1878...The family opened the De Steiger Glass Co., almost certainly replacing the earlier Phoenix Glass Co.

The De Steiger's advertised their beer bottles in the Western Brewer from at least 1879 to March 1883....Yet another fire destroyed the two "glass ovens" at the plant in 1885, and it was "unclear whether the business survived the fire."

Following the 1885 fire, 60 or more De Steiger employees, "many of them German twister blowers" moved to the Streator Bottle & Glass Co., Streator, Illinois. Business increased so much that Streator built a third furnace.

De Steiger Class Co. Buffalo, Iowa (1880-at least 1882)

In 1880, the De Steiger Class Co. of La Salle brought out the local glass works at Buffalo, Iowa. The Iowa State 
Gazette and Business Directory of 1882 lists a "DeSteiger Glass Co." in Buffalo, Iowa.

Lockhart, Bill, Serr, Carol, Lindsey, Bill; The Dating Game: De Steiger Glass Co., Bottles & Extras September-October  2007.



This organization, as at present constituted, dates from 1874. Previous to that time, there had been a union that had 
gone to pieces in 1867, and glass bottle-blowers in the interim were in a badly demoralized condition. In 1873, just 
after the "panic," manufacturers took advantage of the situation, and commenced reducing wages. A union of glass 
bottle-blowers, called the "Improved League," had been started east of the Alleghany Mountains several years previous to its introduction in the West. The first branch in the West was organized at Pittsburgh, and was known as Branch 14. 
The new union very soon extended throughout the West. William Campbell, of St. Louis, was elected the first manager of the Western district, which embraced Pittsburgh, and all places west of it. In Pittsburgh, in 1876, the manufacturers demanded a further reduction of ten per cent, to which the League refused consent, and the factories lay idle the most of that year. A few were running with men who were not members of the League; but all those who were gallantly held out, and in the spring of 1877 went to work, the winners of the contest. In that year the St. Louis manufacturers demanded a reduction, which was refused, and the men went out on strike. The manufacturers went East for men, and 'brought back a full set to take the places of the strikers. But they did not remain long in St. Louis, as they were prevailed on to go home upon having their fares paid by the strikers. It was a bitter struggle, but resulted in a triumph for the League. In 1877, William Simpson, of Pittsburgh, was elected Manager of the League. In 1878, with an improvement in trade, the League rapidly gained strength and cohesion, gathering in all the stray workmen who had held aloof during the dull times. In 1880, Louis Arrington was elected manager. That summer a demand was made for a ten per cent advance, which was granted without any trouble.
In 1881, the De Steiger Glass Company, of La Salle, Ill., discharged all their blowers, and sent to Germany and 
imported a full set of men, to work for but little more than half of the current rate of wages. The League tried all 
manner of inducements and explanations with these imported men to show them where their true interests lay, but could make no impression on them. In 1883, the manufacturers complained of the low prices, principally caused by La Salle cutting under the market, and demanded a reduction of, ten or twenty percent. This was refused, and the factories lay idle, generally until February of the following year, when they resumed at the old rate. But, in the fall, they came again with the same demand. It was still refused, as the League  could not see that it would improve the condition of the trade a particle.  The majority of the factories did not run more than half-time that season. In the meantime, the De Steiger firm at La  Salle had failed. Several other firms had tried the German workmen, who were offering themselves on any terms; but  they were found to be both unprofitable and unsuitable. In the fall of 1885, the Pittsburgh manufacturers, doubtless expecting that the League treasury and men were impoverished, made the old demand, and refused to start. A number of other places followed their example, so that only about one-third of the men got to work. There was, undoubtedly, a deep-laid plot to break up the League; but it was entirely unsuccessful. It has now 670 members, divided into 15 branches. Last season, it distributed $30,000 in relief to its needy members; and to-day it is numerically and financially stronger than at any period of its history.

McNeil, George E.; THE LABOR MOVEMENT: THE PROBLEM OF TO-DAY (New York, The M. W. Hazen Co., 1892)


On Dec. 22nd, 1882, the De Steiger Glass Company a corporation of La Salle, Illinois, whose capital stock was $50,000  had been carrying on for several years at that place an extensive glass manufacturing business and had made most of its deposits with and transacted most of its financial affairs through the First National Bank of Peru. 


Manufacturers of Glass, Green and Amber Glassware, Wine, Brandy, Mineral Water and Beer Bottles, Fruit Jars

LA SALLE, ILL, Sept. 21, 1882. 

We, the undersigned, having this day received a loan of 
ten thousand dollars from E. C. Hegeler, for which we have 
given him our note to that amount, hereby bind ourselves 
unto him that we will not mortgage our bottle-glass works 
and window-glass works to any one except him during the 
time that the' notes remain unpaid, unless giving him a first 
mortgage for the amount due. And we bind ourselves not to 
sell the above glass works, or any material part thereof, dur- 
ing such time. We also agree to have fire insurance on our 
property to the amount of ten thousand dollars transferred to 
him, and keep same up for his benefit. 


The First National Bank of Peru was organized under the National Banking Law, with a capital of $100,000. At the time of the transactions here referred to, Thereon D. Brewster was its President and Robert V. Sutherland was its Cashier. It employed regularly as its Attorney and Counsel Judge G. S. Eldredge. 

The glass company began doing business with the bank about January 1, 1879. 

As early at least as the summer of 1880 the bank was notified that the glass company was in need; for it failed to 
meet its notes and obtained from the bank extensions.

As by the balance sheet shown to me the material on hand and the stock alone was nearly sufficient to pay off all the 
indebtedness of the glass company, and the real estate and works were scheduled in the balance sheet at $88,930, encumbered with only the old mortgage of $5,000 on the window-glass house scheduled at $9,000, which mortgage I was to take up as an investment, the glass company by going into liquidation could with the aid of only $2,110, to be derived from the sale or mortgage of their real estate, pay all debts.

Hegeler, Edward C.; A Protest Against The Supreme Court of Illinois, And Also Against Its Legal And Moral Doctrine As Expressed In And Illustrated In Connection With The Case Of C. Hegeler vs. The First National Bank Of Peru (Chicago, The Open Court Publishing Co., 1890). 

Glass was first manufactured here about twenty years ago, but the business was not very successful financially until 
recently, or since the De Steiger Glass Company was organized in 1878. This company put up new factories, purchased those formerly built, and entered largely into the manufacture of both bottles and window glass, with a determination to succeed if success could be attained by pushing business. They have always found sale for all the glass they could make, and often experienced difficulty in filling their orders. In methods and apparatus they are now in advance of anything heretofore known in the United States. Noticing that large importations of bottles were being made from Europe into this country, notwithstanding the import duty of 30 per cent ad valorem, they resolved to make, in all necessary respects such changes in their factory as would enable them to put on the market as good a bottle as could be imported. 

The principal difficulties to be overcome were the obstacles placed in the way by the Bottle Blowers' League, an 
organization which has persistently stood in its own light for years, and caused a great deal of trouble and immense loss to the proprietors of glass factories by the strict observance of arbitrary rules adopted for the supposed protection of the membership. During the summer of '80 the old employees of the company were discharged, and a number of German bottle blowers imported, despite the combined efforts of the German Government and the League to prevent it. These men work differently from the Americans, particularly in turning the bottle in the mold during the blowing process, a straw or shaving being placed in it previous to the insertion of the glass. This gives the bottle a smooth or polished appearance, without seams, and makes it compare with the ordinary American made bottle about as a plate-glass window does with a skylight. In order to further facilitate and economize labor the company built, during the summer and fall, a Sieman's continuous tank, largely used by European glass manufacturers, but, with the exception of one at Poughkeepsie, N. Y., lately destroyed by fire, never before constructed in this country. It is a huge reservoir, eighteen feet wide, forty feet long and four feet deep, made of blocks of fire-clay. It is arched over with imported fire brick and is round at one end. It is supported on heavy masses of brick work. Adjacent to it are furnaces for the production of gas with which to produce the requisite heat for its operation. This passes from the generator down through pipes below the tank and burns while passing up through checkered brick work where it comes in contact with the air, and subsequently through flues at each side of the tank under the arch, and over the molten glass. No heat is applied to the bottom. The tank holds 200 tons of glass, is fed at one end and the glass is taken from the other, or the circular end, for blowing. The advantages claimed for this over the old methods are that blowing will not have to be discontinued from twelve to fourteen hours every day to allow the pots to be recharged. Work can go on continuously night and day. The quality of the glass will be perfectly uniform as also the color; no heat will be lost as in the case of pots, the gas being admitted first from one side of the tank and then from the other, alternating about every fifteen or twenty minutes; there is no loss from the breaking of pots, while the expense of fuel is kept at a minimum. Probably the principal reason why these tanks have not heretofore been used in this country is that the glass-blowers' organizations have forbidden their members to do night work, with the view of preventing over-production, and as the heat must be maintained at all times for the preservation of the tank the gain in other respects would be more than counterbalanced by the enforced loss of time. Aiming to protect themselves, the glass-blowers have actually stood in the way of progress in their own branch of art. The members of the Bottle Blowers' League and former employees have expressed great indignation at this action of the De Steiger Glass Company, but the step was taken in self-defense and is a wide departure from the long established practices of American glass makers, nevertheless a departure which the public, as far as it is interested, heartily indorses, and other glass manufacturers will beyond any doubt soon follow in the wake of the De Steiger Company. 

Hennessey, L.; The City Of La Salle: Historical And Descriptive, With A Business Review (La Salle, A. L. Hennessey, 1882).

LACEY, P. J. This was a bill in equity filed by plaintiff in error against defendant in error, for the purpose of setting aside certain judgments by confession in favor of defendant in error against the Do Steiger Glass Company. The statement of the facts and pleadings, as far as necessary, is about as follows: 
On December 22, 1882, the First National Bank of Peru, a corporation doing business under the national banking act, obtained two judgments by confession in the Circuit Court of La Salle county against the De Steiger Glass Company, the first for $35,050 and costs, of which sum $50 was attorney's fees, and the second for $5,325 and costs. Upon the same day executions were issued upon said judgment to the sheriff of La Salle county, and by him levied upon a large amount of real estate as the property of the De Steiger Glass Company, and the same advertised for sale. On December 26, 1882, the La Salle National Bank recovered a judgment by confession in the same court against the De Steiger Glass Company, for $7,437.34 and costs, and an execution thereon was issued that day. 
On January 1, 1883, a judgment by confession was obtained by Edward C. Hegeler against the De Steiger Glass Company in the same court for $14,500 and costs, and an execution was issued thereon on the same day to the same sheriff, and levied on real and personal property; and the same was returned unsatisfied, but with the levy not released, after the commencement of this suit. 
On January 11, 1883, the La Salle Coal Mining Company recovered a judgment by confession in the same court against the De Steiger Glass Company for $2,945.17.  Numerous other judgments against the De Steiger Glass Company followed in circuit and justice courts, the details and amounts of which need not now be stated.  On June 13, 1883, the First National Bank of Peru recovered a third judgment in La Salle County Circuit Court against the De Steiger Glass Company for $18,137.47 and costs, by summons and default. 
Meantime on April 4, 1883, a few days before the date fixed for the sale of the real estate of the De Steiger Glass Company on the executions of the First National Bank of Peru, Mr. Hegeler filed his original bill in this case, attacking the validity of the judgment so obtained against the De Steiger Glass Company by the First National Bank of Peru, and asking that they and the executions and levies there under be set aside, and the property of the De Steiger Glass Company distributed among all the creditors of that company. The bill was filed in behalf of all such creditors. sheriff to proceed and sold the several tracts levied upon, and the bank became the purchaser at such price that its judgment for $35,050 was returned satisfied in full, and its judgment for $5,325 was returned satisfied to the extent of  $5,290.46, leaving a little over $35 unsatisfied, besides interest.  The bank has since taken out sheriff's deeds for part of the property. 

Smith, Edwin Barrett; Reports of Cases Decided in the Appellate courts of the State of Illinois Volume XXVIII (Chicago, Callaghan & Company, 1889).

Corporations For General Purposes.

I give a complete list of all applications made to the Secretary of State for license to incorporate, for various 
objects, since October 1, 1878, up to October 1, 1880; also, a complete list of all corporations, duly classified, 
that have fully completed their organization since the first day of October, 1878, to the first day of October, 1880.

The following table gives a full list of all corporations for pecuniary profit which have applied for licenses during 
the past two years, duly classified under the objects for which incorporation was asked, viz:


DeSteiger Glass Company..............................LaSalle.

Cullom, S. M.; Reports to the General Assembly of Illinois, 1881 Volume I (Springfield, H. W. Rokker, 1881)


John Davis, proprietor of the La Salle Soap Works......He came to America when a young man, locating in Orange, N. J., where he engaged in glass blowing, he having learned part of that trade in England. He manufactured window glass for about six years in the glass works in New Jersey, after which, in 1870, he came to Rock Island, Ill., and was manager of the Rock Island Glass Works until the fall of 1878. These works were owned by a joint stock company, he being one of the stockholders. From Rock Island he went to Buffalo, Iowa, and in 1879 he came to La Salle, and was engaged as manager of the Destiger Glass Works, remaining with the company till 1884.

Near the pressed brick factory is a large glass factory. It has several large buildings and when in operation employs many laborers. It has changed proprietors several times.

Inter-State Publishing Co.; History of La Salle County, Illinois. (Chicago, Inter-State Publishing Co., 1886)

Mr. Radtke was born in West Prussia, Germany, November 18, 1876.....He was six years old when brought to America. He attended school in Peru, and after leaving school his first regular employment was with the DeSteiger Bottle Works in La Salle. After two years he appointed himself to learn the sheet metal trade under A. E. Heilstedt. He began his apprenticeship in 1891.

O'Byrne, Michael Cyprian; History of La Salle County Illinois (Chicago, Lewis Publishing Company, 1924)

John F. Buchner...born...November 21, 1864... At the age of fourteen years, on account of the illness of his father 
which necessitated his providing for his own support, he secured a position as errand boy with the De Steiger Glass company at Las Salle. Later he entered the factory with the idea of learning the trade of glass blowing, but soon afterwards the company failed. In, 1883 he went to Streator, where he carried out his intention of learning the 
glass-blowing trade and from that time until 1905 was employed by the Streator Bottle & Glass Company, holding various positions and at times acting as assistant superintendent of the factory.

Hoffman, U. J.; History of La Salle County, Illinois (Chicago, The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1906).

The two bottle factories of the De Steiger glass works, at LaSalle, were destroyed by fire on Monday morning, 
involving heavy loss, and throwing some three hundred men and boys out of employment.

The Decatur Morning Review November 7, 1883.

Contracts for the rebuilding of the De Steiger glass factory in La Salle, have been made, and work was commenced on Tuesday.

The Saturday Herald (Decatur) February 9, 1884


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