Imperial Glass Company, Bellaire OH, USA 1901 – 1984
Imperial Glass was established in 1901 and was situated on the bank of the Ohio River. Founded by Edward Muhleman who is said to have been a “riverman and financier” (Wikipedia). In Bellaire conditions were prime for glass production with ample resources and labor.
“Bellaire gained the title of “Glass City” for the period of 1870 to 1885. The area had modern transportation, an energy source, and a skilled workforce…read more at Wikipedia
By 1904 Imperial Glass was producing pressed utilitarian glass. With the advantage of semi-automation, the company prospered and within a few years began producing carnival, elegant and art glass items.
Shortly after the stock market crash of 1929 Muhleman went bankrupt, as did 1000’s of other financiers. The able businessman Muhleman reorganized as Imperial Glass Corporation and quickly set about purchasing molds, assets and brand names at huge discount from major glass companies in the region as they closed down due to the financial stress of the Great Depression.
In 1984, the Imperial Glass Corp. was one of the last great U.S. glass companies to close its doors forever. Its assets were sold to modern glass distributing companies and most production was eventually moved overseas. Today, the National Imperial Glass Museum preserves the company’s history and artifacts.