Publication: The Commoner and Glassworker
Pittsburgh, PA, United States
AN ILL FATED PLANT.
Interesting Review of Factory Operations at
Elmer Where the Old Plant is Now
The following interesting article concerning the inception of glass manufacture at Elmer, N. J., and the futile attempts to operate the plant successfully is from a recent issue of the Times, of that place:
In 1883 or 1884 Elmer caught the glass fever and buildings were partly erected by Mr. Swearer and son, of Pittsburg, for a window glass factory, the money for the purpose being mostly subscribed by residents of Elmer and vicinity. Enough money was not secured to complete the plant and the incomplete glass house stood unfinished until a number of glass blowers formed themselves into a company and purchased the incomplete plant for $8,000, and after spending $4,000 more they were ready to make glass and started up in the spring of 1885. The company had 16 stockholders, chiefly glassworkers from Glassboro. John C. Edmunds, of Elmer, was chosen president.
The company worried along under adverse conditions for about three years and went into the hands of a receiver, who closed the plant down. It is said that there never was a window glass factory started with a finer more efficient set of workmen. Most of them had saved a little money and each put from $600 to $1,500 into the business, every dollar of which was lost, and most of them lost considerable in wages besides. The condition of the window glass business at that time was such that many larger factories either temporarily suspended operations or went to the wall. The original company was composed of J. C. Edmunds, J. Frank Brown, Wm. Gehring, Christian Wescott, A. C. Lamar, Samuel Harris, Daniel Watkins, Timothy Cramner, Wm. Hennis, Wm. (Hegerman) Weatherby, Jackson Clevenger, Albert Duffield, John Robinson, Albert Johnson, Lew Gale and Wm. Wescott.
J. Frank Brown was vice president of the corporation; Chris Wescott, manager; A. C. Lamar, treasurer, and Albert Johnson, secretary. John Robinson soon took Wescott's place as manager and for a time was both manager and treasurer. It is said that the members of the company lost $12,000 in actual cash in addition to back wages, and citizens of Elmer lost about $12,000 more. The citizens lost what they originally subscribed, and a few men indorsed heavily for the company and had the notes to pay. The total losses were doubtless around $30,000.
After the factory had remained idle for a time, Hon. James Butcher, of Salem, formed a partnership with George Waddington, and they operated the factory in a businesslike way for about two years and conducted a store in connection with the business, but it is not thought that they made more than expenses.
After another period of idleness, Mr. Getsinger, of Bridgeton, with assistance from local citizens, started the works as a bottle factory with very little success and he soon sold out to M. Deyo, of New York, who in turn took in Wm. Strang as a partner. The outcome was financially disastrous. After Deyo left town the factory was operated for a short time by Isaac Sturr. Later a corporation known as the Eastern Glass Co., placed about $8,000 worth of blowing machines in the plant, but soon after they started they failed, in connection with the Gilchrist Jar Co. Later the factory was operated for a few months by parties from Pennsylvania, and later still was used for a time by the successors of the Novelty Glass Co.
The old factory has since remained idle and the owners, Parker Bros., of Bridgeton, recently sold the buildings, furnaces, etc. to Downs Bros., who will remove every vestige of the plant.