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Pittsburgh Glass

[Verlys Of America]  [Mexican Glass]  [Steuben Division Of Corning Glass]  [A.H. Heisey Company/Libbey Glass]  [Pairpoint Glass Corporation]  [T.G. Hawkes Glassmaker Of Waterford Crystal]  [Bakewell, Pears Glass Company]  [Pittsburgh Glass]  [Glass-America's First Industry]  [The New England Glass Company]  [More Articles On Glass] 

Although the New Bremen glassworks lasted a very short time, its influence was felt west of the Allegheny Mountains. In 1797 six of the Amelung craftsmen migrated toward Kentucky, but were persuaded to stop at Gallatin's glasshouse at New Geneva on the Monongahela River near Pittsburgh. Albert Gallatin, later treasurer of the United States, started the company but soon sold his share. Christian Kramer, an early shareholder, was an Amelung man. He continued until the middle of the nineteenth-century to practice and to teach apprentices the glassworking techniques he had used at the Maryland glass factory. Kramer and others like him account for the excellent early glass made in the Pittsburgh area.

Almost simultaneously with Gallatin's venture, two former officers in the Revolutionary armyGeneral O'Hara and Major Craig-started a glass business in South Pittsburgh near a coal vein. The proximity of coal and later of natural gas helped develop this area into the great manufacturing district which it became. In the O'Hara - Craig plant, as at the Gallatin-Kramer, window glass and bottles were made along with some tableware.

These early Pittsburgh houses had much the same difficulties encountered by the glassmen along the Coast. There was a scarcity of operatives. The clay for the melting pots were so poor that O'Hara-Craig advertised the huge sum of one hundred dollars to anyone showing them a large deposit of good pot clay. However, they had two important advantages over eastern factories -plenty of fuel and a good market. The cost of transportation over the mountains made the price of imported glass prohibitive. The poorer people bought green bottle glassware and the well-to-do ordered Bakewell's beautiful crystal.

For a long time, collectors paid little attention to glass found in this area. They called the pattern-molded ware a Stiegel product; the good cut ware, imported Irish glass; and the lacy pieces, Sandwich. The pressed and blown Victorian ware was not considered worth while. Glassware in any one of these categories can be found around Pittsburgh and further west. The pattern-molded called Ohio-Stiegel, and the early cut wares are rarer and more expensive. Later types such as Midwest lacy, River-boat, or Wheeling Penahblow, are easier to find. Pittsburgh glass is now coming into its share of appreciation.

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