Celebrating the World of Glass
On May 18, 2021, the United Nations General Assembly formally approved a resolution declaring the year 2022 as the International Year of Glass to celebrate the heritage and importance of this material in our lives.
History of Glass in Seneca County
Tiffin Glass was made in the city of Tiffin from 1889, when A J Beatty and Sons opened their new glass factory in the city, until 1984 when the last of a series of owners finally closed the glassworks. In the early years the company merged with US Glass (1892), then suffered a disastrous fire in 1893 followed by rebuilding the factory in 1894. The city of Tiffin was highly supportive of the glassworks, having given A J Beatty & Sons free gas for the first five years plus a cash and land grant worth some $50,000. To persuade US Glass to rebuild the factory in 1894 they gave them a further two years of free gas.
Initially a pressed glass factory making tumblers at the rate of half a million a year, they soon diversified into a wide range of glassware and also into blown glass. Until 1927, their glass was identified as US Glass with a paper label showing USG. From 1927 onwards all US Glass output was identified as Tiffin glass with a paper label similar to the one shown above. Tiffin was such a successful operation that they were to subsidize other plants in the US Glass consortium, and whilst others closed down they continued to operate throughout the Depression years. In 1938 the headquarters of US Glass was transferred to Tiffin. By the late 1950s the consortium was in financial problems which led to bankruptcy in 1962; Tiffin Glass was saved when four former employees bought the company and re-named it Tiffin Art Glass Company in 1963. Over the years from then until final closure in 1984 the company was bought and sold several times.
Tiffin was especially famous for their beautiful stemware, their depression era pattern tableware, and their postwar "Modern" glass based on Scandinavian designs.
Fostoria Glass Company
The Fostoria Glass Company was a manufacturer of pressed, blown and hand-molded glassware and tableware. It began operations in Fostoria, Ohio, on December 15, 1887, on land donated by the townspeople. The new company was formed by men from West Virginia who were experienced in the glassmaking business. They started their company in northwest Ohio to take advantage of newly discovered natural gas that was an ideal fuel for glassmaking. Numerous other businesses were also started in the area, and collectively they depleted the natural gas supply. Fuel shortages caused the company to move to Moundsville, West Virginia in 1891.
After the move to Moundsville, the company achieved a national reputation. Fostoria was considered one of the top producers of elegant glass. It had over 1,000 patterns, including one (American) that was produced for over 75 years. Sample rooms were located in New York, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, and other large cities. The company advertised heavily, and one of its successes was sales through bridal registries. Fostoria products were made for several U.S. presidents. The company employed 1,000 people at its 1950 peak.
During the 1970s, foreign competition and changing preferences forced the company to make substantial investments in cost-saving automation technology. The changes were made too late, and the company's commercial division was losing money by 1980. The plant was closed permanently on February 28, 1986. Several companies continued making products using the Fostoria patterns, including the Dalzell-Viking Glass Company and Indiana Glass Company—both now closed.
Glass in Today's Seneca County
The Poignon Project
The Poignon Project has been dedicated to creating ideas into art for over a decade now. In 2015, they moved out of their garage and opened The Poignon Project Art Studio & Gallery located at 227 E Perry St. Tiffin, Ohio.
They offer a wide variety of original artwork from mixed media to glassblowing. All of their artwork is made right at The Poignon by project artists Ryan & Monica Poignon.
A new generation of Hawkes Crystal is reinventing and honoring this very important artisan tradition. Creating a new trademark collection of contemporary and traditional designs, artist designed and hand cut just as they were in 1889 by T.G. Hawkes & Company designers.
Master Brilliant Cutter and Designer, Aidan J. Scully has acquired the Hawkes trademark and chosen Tiffin, Ohio USA as home to a new Hawkes Crystal Workshop and Gallery.
Tiffin Glass Museum & Shoppe
The Tiffin Glass Museum honors the heritage established by the men and women of Tiffin’s “Glass House.”
Through preservation and education, the Museum safeguards glassware made by the artisans from the factory’s nearly hundred-year history.
Museum preservation work includes acquiring memorabilia and historical documents from the factory’s beginning in 1889 until its closing in 1984.
The Fostoria, Ohio Glass Association’s Glass Heritage Gallery
The Fostoria, Ohio Glass Association’s Glass Heritage Gallery is dedicated to preserving and illustrating the history of Fostoria, Ohio glass. Fostoria had 13 different plants at various times during the period of 1887-1921. Three made window glass while others produced some of the most beautiful glass manufactured in America.
Only two of the original buildings remain: the old Fostoria Glass Co./Seneca Glass plant and the Fostoria Incandescent Lamp plant. Both house other businesses.