Initially located in Steubenville, Jefferson Glass moved to Follansbee in 1907. One of its founders was Dohrman J. Sinclair (1860-1915) who earlier persuaded the Follansbee Brothers to build on the land to become the city of Follansbee. The company took its name from Jefferson County where it was originally located. According to an early history of the company, the plant made illuminating glassware and automobile specialties such as lenses. During the late teens and early 1920s, products from the plant were found in 90% of all automobiles. During World War I, the company made naval glass components. However, the company is famous for its hand-decorated and opalescent crystal glassware, as well as pressed, blown, and marbleized glass. ” In 1907, Jefferson Glass obtained a patent to mark some of their wares “Chipendale” with “Krystol” on the bottom of the pieces.” Jefferson Glass products became nationally famous. While stationed for training during World War II in the Chicago area, Hugo Broccolini of Follansbee noted that the chandeliers in Chicago’s Stevens Hotel were made at the Jefferson Glass House. Jefferson Glass also had a large European trade with warehouses in London and Germany.
Located at the south end of town adjoining the railroad, the Jefferson Glass Company went bankrupt in 1933 during the Depression. Local Brooke county families will recognize many of the names of employees who worked there. Here is a partial list: Vincent Beck, Mr. Blumenhaurer, Hugo Broccolini, Leo Bund, D.J. Coyne, John Deer, Sr., Whitney Evans, Edward Geary, John Good, Emil Hagberg, James Haydn, Flora Johnson, Werner Johnson, Eugene Maillard, Emma Baldaug Straka, Jim Shay, Otto Peterson, Mr. Wilson, Gus Yandalia, and Harry Walker.
Glass house is the big building on the left, circa 1915. Photo courtesy of W.Va. State Archives.
Jefferson Glass Co. workers 1907. Edward Hugh Sanders 2nd from left.
- The History of West Virginia, Old and New, “Jefferson Class Company,” (Chicago: The American Historical Society, Inc., l923, Vol. 3,) pp. 464-465.
- Jefferson Glass Co. workers photo – Brooke Co. Historical Society.
- “Early Glass Houses of Brooke County,” Article written in 1975, See http://www.brookecountywvgenealogy.org/industrial2.html