A. H. Heisey & Company - A Chronology, Part 1
A. H. HEISEY & COMPANY - A CHRONOLOGY
Part 2, 1879-1896
By Tom Felt
1879- January 10. Heisey's first mechanical patent was filed, for "a machine for shaping tubular glass-ware." It was
approved March 4th as no. 212,932.
May 6. Heisey and James Duncan became sole owners of Geo. Duncan and Sons, with Duncan as president and
Heisey as secretary of the firm (1).
1881- June 18. Applications were filed, in Heisey’s name, for two patents for the Shell and Tassel pattern, granted July
26 as nos. 12,371 and 12,372.
1882 - November 4. A third son, Thomas Clarence Heisey, was born, in Idlewood, PA.
September 21. A patent was filed for a method for staining glass (to make it resemble "flashed” glass) by Heisey, Daniel
C. Ripley, and George D. Swift. The patent was approved December 8th as no. 331,824.
It was probably around this time that Heisey became one of the founders and a director of the Manufacturers Bank of
Pittsburgh, a position he held for 40 years.
1891- February 12. The United States Glass Company was incorporated, a combine consisting of 15 companies who
hoped to increase profits and improve economy in the production and sale of glassware through sharing their resources
and expanding their markets. The prospectus letter, announcing the formation of the new company, was signed by
Heisey on behalf of Geo. Duncan and Sons. (Other signatories on the incorporation document were Daniel C. Ripley and
William C. King.) Heisey was one of 11 initial stock subscribers, with one share each with a value of $100. He was also
on the first Board of Directors (2). Heisey became General Manager of the Commercial Department of the new company,
with complete charge of the sales end of the business. He was assisted by George Beatty, previously of A. J. Beatty and
Company, who had also joined the combine.
July 20. The sale of Geo. Duncan and Sons to the U.S. Glass Company was completed.
1892-1893- Heisey was listed at this time as treasurer of the Pittsburgh Clay Pot Company.
Heisey may have made a financial investment in the gas fields in the hills east of Newark around this time.
1894- Heisey left the U. S. Glass Company. According to the obituary published in the Pottery, Glass and Brassware
Salesman in February 1922, he then engaged in the mining business in Mexico and Arizona, but it seems likely that such
a venture would have been prior to 1894, since he made a number of trips west in the late 1880's and again in 1893-
Heisey also became president of the Pittsburgh Clay Pot Company, a position he continued to hold until his death in
1895- In looking for a location for a factory of his own, Heisey had approached the city of Newark. A committee was
formed to consider his offer, and on at least two occasions he took them to task for moving so slowly. He is reported to
have told them that "He was ready to carry out the proposition made by him to the city of Newark, but that he was not here
as a beggar asking favors." (4) He mentioned at the same time the "liberality and enterprise" of the people of
Washington, PA, who had made him a proposition of their own. The plan in Newark involved selling a total of 325 lots at
a subscription of $250 each, with about $70,000 of the money raised by this scheme going toward the new glass factory.
April 27. Again complaining about the lack of progress by the people of Newark in meeting their obligations under this
scheme, Heisey wrote that he was in a position to lease the Thompson Glass Company in Uniontown, PA, "ready to
make glass in 24 hours," and that he would do so unless he received a firm answer within the week. An extension of
time was requested by the committee who continued to move forward with their efforts.
June 22. The site for the new factory, the Penney Farm, was purchased for $25,000. The address was 301 Oakwood Ave.
June 28. All of the subscription lots had been sold and the money was turned over to Heisey in readiness for
construction of the factory to begin.
August- Building was commenced by Ferguson and Son.
November 6. It was reported that glass would be made by the middle of December, with 250 hands being employed. 12
mold makers were already at work producing molds, with the mold shop temporarily located in one of the machine
works of Newark (5).
November 7. It was reported that the walls were up and the roof was on.
The Newark Advocate reported that the plant had 125 men at this time. Eleven houses had been built on land belonging
to Heisey, with many families ready to move in.
June 30. According to the Newark Advocate, another 38 houses had been built by this time, with 75 altogether expected
by the fall. The article went on to say that "The Heisey Land Company offers free land to the right parties for factory sites
with a bonus of $150 for every man employed. The same concern will construct railroad sidings to all factories that locate
here through their agency." As owner of his own natural gas plant, it was to Heisey's advantage to promote development
in the area, through this land company.
November 13. The northwest corner of the factory, which was still being roofed, collapsed at 2 o'clock in the afternoon,
burying four men under the debris. One of them, Samuel Cooper, was crushed to death by falling materials when a
crane lifting an iron beam went down and fell on one side. Albert Boss and William Brookins were reported in serious
condition while two other workmen, Thomas Hastings and Addison Siddon, were only slightly hurt. The accident
reputedly was the result of heavy rains, with damage reported at less than $2,000.
A full report of the new factory appeared in the November 6th issue of China, Glass and Lamps, where it was termed a
model glassworks. It was constructed under the supervision of John Nicholson, Jr., of Pittsburgh, the originator of the
Nicholson gas producing furnace. The factory building was 90 X 90 feet, with the working floor 12 feet above ground level.
It had one 16-pot furnace, arranged with 48" arches, with four Nicholson gas producers connected. There were four glory
holes of six layers each, with two additional producers. The chimney of the furnace was 112 feet high. There were six
lehrs, 56 feet long, with 60" pans and a separate producer. The lehr and mold room was 55 X 90 feet, with four brick
arches underneath to be used for storage. The warehouse was 60 X 152 feet and three stories high. The mold shop,
also three stories high, was 33 X 64 feet. The offices were located in a separate building. The roof of the factory itself and
of the lehr and mold rooms was of iron, and the factory was built of brick and structural steel. As an additional precaution
against fire, all of the lumber used was native hardwood, principally oak. The entire facility was heated by steam and lit by
electricity from a plant installed in the works. There were switches from the panhandle Railroad on both sides of the
factory, making the receipt of raw materials and fuel and the shipment of ware very convenient. Electric street cars also
made the factory easy of access.
Sometime around 1895, Mary Heisey was married to Dr. R. L. Walker of Carnegie, PA (6).
1896- January 1. Heisey's first advertisement appeared in China, Glass and Lamps, showing table sets in the no. 1200,
Cut Block* and no. 1201, Fandango* patterns. Both lines were on display at the Monongahela House in Pittsburgh. The
samples had been made by the Robinson Glass Company in Zanesville, Ohio, since the Heisey factory had not been
able to start up in December as originally anticipated.
January 22. China, Glass and Lamps reported that the new lines were "praised by most of the salesmen of the older
firms as a very meritorious production."
April 9. The factory was started up and glassware was made for the first time (7). The glassmaking departments were
reported to be in the charge of Charles Zimmer and Adam Trautman.
April 23. A. H. Heisey and Company was formally incorporated in West Virginia, with A. H. Heisey, George Duncan
Heisey, Edgar Wilson Heisey (8), W. B. Lindsay and D. C. Snyder named as original stockholders.
It is possible that two additional patterns, no. 150, Pointed Oval in Diamond Point* and no. 160 Locket on Chain*, were
also introduced this year.
Note: I have attempted to gather information from as many sources as possible, to verify that information from multiple
sources when available, and to include the most likely "guesses" based on our current knowledge, when the sources
disagree or reliable information is not available. I would appreciate very much hearing from anyone who has additional
information, or who can confirm or correct any information given above. Please contact me C/O The Heisey News, P. O.
Box 27, Newark, Ohio 43055.
1. Some works on American glassware indicate that the company was renamed Duncan and Heisey at some point after
1886 and before 1889. However, all advertisements and reports in the trade journals in the late 1880's and early 1890's
indicate that Geo. Duncan and Sons remained the firm's name.
2. A much more detailed account of the formation of the U. S. Glass Company by Joe Lokay appears in the September
26, 1976 issue of the Heisey News.
3. Later trips west were also made in the 1899-1900 period in an attempt to cure the consumption from which Heisey's
daughter, Mary, eventually died.
4. From a contemporary report in one of Newark's newspapers.
5. According to an obituary of a former employee which appeared in the American Flint in February 1948, the first mold
maker to be employed by Heisey was Edward Strong, who had previously worked for Heisey at Geo. Duncan and Sons.
6. At her death in June 1900, it was reported that she had been married five years.
7. This starting date was reported in China, Glass and Lamps on April 15. A later report in the April 22nd issue of that
same journal gave April 18th as the starting date. Still another date was given in the American Flint in June 1948, who
recalled that the first piece of glassware was produced by Heisey on April 6th and carried in to the lehrs by a 16-year old
Fred Chapman. (He later became chairman of the hot metal department and remained with the company for 52 years,
retiring in 1948.) Finally, a fourth starting date was reported in the Newark Advocate on April 23rd: "The A. H. Heisey
Company starts up in the morning…”
8. E. W. Heisey, who had completed his academic course at Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, PA, was
taken into the business as treasurer and general manager, according to a report in the American Flint in July 1946.