Harry A. McDonald - Oldest Active Man in Glass Industry

Started Work For Hemingray Glass Company 71 Years Ago


Publication: The Morning Star

Muncie, IN, United States

Owens-Illinois Employe Oldest

Active Man In Glass Industry

Harry McDonald Started

Work In Hemingray

Plant 71 Years Ago.

Harry McDonald, was a husky youngster and well-known in Covington, Ky., because of his willingness to do almost any kind of job.

He was one of the seven children of the widow, Mrs. McDonald, whose husband had died in 1866. Covington neighbors knew the widow was having a difficult struggle and admire her willing youngsters for their efforts to help her.

Even though he was only nine, young Harry already had done much to help his mother in her uphill struggle when he steeled himself one day in 1869 to go to the plant of the Hemingray Glass Company to ask for a job.


Witnesses Phenominal [sic] Phenomanal Change.


The plant foreman knew Harry by sight and knew it was stark necessity which prompted so young a lad to seek employment when he should have been in school, so he decided to give Harry a try at the relatively simple job of carry-in boy.

That was seventy-one years ago and Harry McDonald, still on the payroll at the Owens-Illinois Glass Company at Muncie, is today the oldest active man in the glass industry and has set some kind of an all-time record for continuous employment at his trade.

In those seventy-one years of continuous association with the glass business McDonald has witnessed a truly phenomenal change in the industry.


Harry A. McDonald.
Harry A. McDonald.


At the time he joined Hemingray, the company was making a wide variety of pressed and blown ware by hand. One of the most important items of that time was lamp chimneys and MacDonald soon found himself assigned to the task of crimping these chimneys to form the decoration which was so common at the turn of the century.

While he was still in his teens McDonald was promoted to the job of apprentice gathering boy and at twenty he reached a long cherished goal when he became a glass blower.

The famous Ohio River floods of 1883 and 1884 forced the Hemingray Company to move its factory to Muncie where a newly discovered gas field insured an apparently limitless supply of low cost fuel. After working for a short time for the Charles Boldt Glass Company, McDonald rejoined the Hemingray Company in its new location in 1889.


Advanced To Factory Manager.


From 1892 to 1904, one of the most important periods in the glass business because of the invention of the Owens bottle machine, McDonald was night superintendent at the Muncie plant.

In 1904 he was made factory manager and he held that position for the following thirteen years participating in the installation of many bottle making machines and assisting in the change over from hand-made to machine-made ware in a great number of operations.

Since 1917 he has served continuously in a variety of capacities at the Hemingray plant, a tenure which went on without interruption when Hemingray was purchased by Owens-Illinois Glass Company in 1933.

On November 1, 1939, his years and his long service having earned him the right to lessened activity, McDonald was given a special assignment requiring only part time work. He still is a familiar figure at the Muncie plant where he spends a good deal of his time each week.

Keywords:Hemingray : Employees
Researcher notes: 
Supplemental information:Article: 4475 Article: 4476 Article: 4455 Article: 4490 Article: 1716
Researcher:Bob Stahr
Date completed:June 2, 2005 by: Glenn Drummond;