Old Morgantown Glass 1899 – 1971
Morgantown Glass was founded in 1899 by Frank Bannister in West Virginia, USA. Four years later ‘Economy Tumbler Company’ was incorporated into the name. At that time Morgantown Economy Tumbler provided clear glass tumblers and stemware for the bars and clubs, and for the home table.
In 1903, George Fry (later to establish the Fry Glass Co.) was General Manager of the Economy Tumbler Company. Fry was replaced in 1909 by Wilbur Hunter who was to be President of the company until 1923. Hunter modernized the company and led it into mass production of ‘colored’ glassware.
George Dougherty succeeded Hunter as President and General Manager in 1923 and changed the name of the company to ‘Economy Glass Company’, deleting the word ‘tumbler’. By the late 1920s, retailers of the company’s glassware consistently referred to it as ‘Old Morgantown’ which prompted the company to include labels marked ‘Old Morgantown…Made in the U.S.A.’. In 1929 the ‘Economy Glass Company’ officially changed its name back to ‘Morgantown Glassworks, Inc.’ The company closed in 1937. The reason for its demise is unknown but it was probably a casualty of the Great Depression.
The factory reopened in 1939 as the ‘Morgantown Glassware Guild’ an employee cooperative. The new Morgantown became one of the leaders in modern glassware production. This was back in the days when ‘American Made’ products were in high demand.
Samuel and Richard Haden assumed the post of President and Supervisor in 1952. Under the Haden brothers’ leadership the company flourished. The consumer and corporate demand for bright, colorful modernist glass prompted Richard to develop a wide array of fascinating new colors and shapes. In 1958 the company produced its first catalog called ‘Décor by Morgantown’. In 1961, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy purchased Morgantown glass for the White House’s State dining room. Today, consumers still crave the modernist design and vivid colors of the ‘Décor Line’ items and the company’s earlier elegant ware.
In 1971 Fostoria purchased Morgantown Glassworks, closed the company down, and retained most of its patterns and molds.
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