Muncie, Ind.; Story about Ralph Hemingray breaking no smoking law

[Trade Journal]

Publication: American Flint

Toledo, OH, United States
vol. 54, no. 5, p. 20,21-22, col. 1-2,2,1

local news

                                                                                    Deadline for Local News 10th of Month.

MUNCIE, INDIANA Don Everhart ...

Hello, Flints, this is Local No. 50 again and all is well at Owens of Muncie, Indiana. We of the mold shop are working forty hours and some overtime as needed. I think this is about the way the entire plant is working.

There are a lot of new faces throughout the plant and if things go as anticipated there will be a lot more. This plant is a far cry from what Robert Hemingray started with in 1888 when he first came to Muncie, but the contribution he made in Muncie was almost put in jeopardy when one day in 1906 Mr. Hemingray was walking down the street in Muncie with a cigarette in his hand and was arrested for smoking on the street. At that time Muncie had a city ordinance that prohibited anyone smoking on the street. But as the story goes, Mr. Hemingray made it plain that if he were fined for this he would move out of Muncie. Needless to say the ordinance was abolished and the men were free to smoke where they chose. Insulators for telephone and telegraph were the main line then and they were made by hand press only. At this plant all the ware was packed out in the open in barrels which brings us to the time when a young fellow in bib overalls applied for a job at Hemingray Glass Company and was given the job of wheeling the barrels from the coopers which made the barrels to the men who packed the ware. The wheel barrow was made like all wheel barrows, only with a flat bed and about eight feet longer in length, the bigger the operator the higher they stacked the barrels. The year was 1914 and the month was June and the fellow was Ralph Shea, thirteen years old at the time.

Ralph wasn't on the wheel barrows long before they gave him the job of carrying in and from carrying in he came into the mold shop as an apprentice mold maker. The first of June Ralph will have fifty years here at Owens and until two years ago he had only missed two union meetings since 1932 when the mold makers of Hemingray organized. Ralph has been president of Local No. 50 twice, a delegate to convention four times and trustee nine years.

Contrary to the way this sounds, Ralph has had his light-hearted moments too. Going back a few years Ralph went around the plant taking up a collection for a poor widow who had no income and nothing to eat. This widow turned out to be a dog some of the boys found in a hole under No. 4 tank nearly starved to death. Ralph bought dog food with the money and the dog, by the name of Vanilla, lived here at the shop until it died many years later of old age.

In about eighteen months Ralph is going to retire and do some traveling in Europe. I imagine he will have a good time for he is the youngest sixty-three-year-young man I have ever seen. Ralph says one of his stops will be in Ireland to visit his father's birth place. We all wish Ralph many happy travels.


Researcher notes:Ralph Hemingray refused to abide by anti-cigarette laws that were enacted. A story of this can be found in article ID 14124
Supplemental information:Articles: 11658, 11495, 13616, 14124, 14527
Researcher:Bob Stahr
Date completed:June 25, 2010 by: Bob Stahr;