More glass details

Eric Hansmann <ehansmann@...>

Elden wrote:
And how was the finished product, which I think you said included PYREX,
shipped out? Given the fragile nature of the commodity, how do you think
they ensured its safe transport? Could they have used special boxcars, or
do you think they just turned around the inbound boxes?


Much of the finished glass was crated and loaded into boxcars. The crates would be packed with straw or excelsior to cushion the product. I have seen some images of larger plate glass that is crated and loaded into gondolas.

From information on the Sanborn Fire Insurance maps, it seems that many older glass plants had a woodshop area to fabricate shipping containers. Cardboard boxes for shipping came into use after WWII, but did not become wisely used until the mid-to-late 1950's. That information comes from a former Fostoria employee, and may only be pertinent to his plant or a tableware manufacturing plant.

In Moundsville, W. Va., the B&O had a short branch to serve the Fostoria Glass plant. It's fascinating to see what other industries were along this short branch. From the B&O's 1922 Form 6 book:

Mound Mine
Moundsville Electrical Co
Fostoria Glass Co
Greif Bros Co - a box manufacturer on the same spur as the glass plant! US Stamping Co
Anti-Rattle Sash Co
Crystal Ice Co
Suburban Brick Co
Parr's Run Mine

This branch is 0.7 miles in length and has a capacity of 89 42 foot cars. The Sanborn Map of this area is great and offers a wonderful perspective.


Other than the glass sands, what other raw materials might have been shipped
in? Were there any special additives that came in by rail? Where might
this stuff have come from?


The recipe for glass is fairly common. From "Magic with Sand" published by AFG Industries (owners of Fourco Glass):

Fomers Fluxers and Stabilizers are needed to produce glass.

Former - silica sand
Flux - soda ash, or potash, or lime. Usually an alkali.
Stabilizer - calcium oxide, arsenic, borax, or chalk

Cullet (broken glass) was usually added to ease the melting process.

The Flux and Stabilizers probably came in as sacked or barrelled items in boxcars. The quantities needed were not the same as the sand. Positioning your glass plant close to a clean sand producing area with abundant clean fuel are a couple of reasons why the industry took off in this area. The cullet usually came from within the plant from previous jobs. I do not know of much glass recycling done in the steam era.

I hope this helps.

Eric Hansmann
Morgantown, W. Va.

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