Publication: The Muncie Star
Muncie, IN, United States
Dies at 85
Harry A. McDonald, above, 402 1/2 East Main street, the oldest continuous glassworker in eastern Indiana until his retirement July 31, 1940, died at Ball Memorial Hospital at 5:30 o'clock yesterday morning on his eighty-fifth birthday. He is survived by the widow, Mary C.
The body was removed to the Meeks mortuary where friends may call after 4 o'clock this afternoon. Funeral services will be conducted at 2 o'clock Thursday afternoon at the mortuary by the Rev. Dewey Hole. Burial will be made in Elm Ridge Cemetery. Pall bearers will be M. K. Holmes, Carl H. Smith, Harold Eastus, J. E. Bauer, William B. Hammers, and Charles Hawk
Native of Canada.
Mr. McDonald was a native of Canada and his family moved to Covington, Ky., when he was a child. 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 admired 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.
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.
In those seventy-one years of continuous association with the glass business McDonald witnessed a truly phenomenal change in the industry.
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 McDonald 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 be became a glass blower.
The 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.
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 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 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, he was given a special assignment requiring only part time work.
He was one of three veteran glass workers who were honored by the Chamber of Commerce in the observance of "Glass Night" on May 18, 1938. The annual dinner of the Chamber that year was in honor of the glass industry. Mr. McDonald and the other veteran employees, Elza DeWitt and Michael M. Menard, occupied places at the speakers' table.