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June 15, 2011 | History

The Standard Plate Glass Company 1 edition

The Standard Plate Glass Company
Ray D. Hoffman
About the Book

A process to manufacture polished plate glass suitable for store fronts and display cases was developed in France, England, and Belgium in the 19th century. John Baptiste Ford brought the process to the US beginning in 1869. He imported polishing machinery and skilled workmen from England. Several plants were built in Indiana and Kentucky, but proved uneconomical. Ample gas supplies in Western Pennsylvania allowed Ford to build a profitable plant at Creighton, PA in 1883. From this beginning, the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company emerged as the principal US manufacturer by the mid-1890s. James H. Shields, an associate of Ford in Indiana and later in PPG initiated a project in Butler, PA to form the Standard Plate Glass Company and challenge Pittsburgh Plate Glass in the rapidly growing national plate glass market. Many immigrant Belgian, French, German, and English glassworkers joined with native-born workers to operate the plant efficiently and successfully. Historical sources provide new information about the people who funded and built the plant and about the employees who manned the plant. Hundreds of workers are identified and their paths to Butler charted.

1 edition First published in 2003

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