A Brief History of The Cambridge Glass Company

The Cambridge Glass Company was chartered in 1873 by a group of Cambridge businessmen. However, it was not until 1899, when the site was purchased by the newly formed National Glass Company that funds became available to start the construction of the new glass factory.

During construction of the plant, Arthur J. Bennett, a native of England was hired to manage the new factory. Having experience in the china and glass trade, Mr. Bennett proved to be an excellent choice for the position. The first piece of glass, a three pint pitcher, was produced in May of 1902.

In 1907, the National Glass Company experienced financial problems. By supplementing his life savings with local bank financing, Mr. Bennett was able to raise the necessary $500,000 to purchase The Cambridge Glass Company in its entirety. The company continued to prosper. Through these early years the company operated its own coal mines and consumed 50 tons daily producing raw gas to fire its furnaces.

The 1920s were years of expansion. Mr. Bennett decided to introduce a variety of opaque colored items into their line. With as many as 700 employees working three shifts a day, very strong lines of colored glassware and complete dinner services were added to the production from 56 pots of glass in use.

The 1930s were perhaps the most prolific years of Cambridge development, with the new colors (Carmen, Royal Blue, Crown Tuscan and Heatherbloom), and new patterns, (#3400 line, Caprice line, Statuesque stem line, Rose Point etching) being developed.

During the peak of The Cambridge Glass Company, Mr. Bennett served as president of the company, his son-in-law, Wilber L. Orme was vice president; William C. McCartney as secretary; G. Roy Boyd as treasurer and K.C. Kelley as factory superintendent. In July 1939, Mr. Bennett sold controlling interest of the company to his son-in-law, Wilber L. Orme who continued to develop designs and colors.

In 1954, Mr. Orme decided to close the plant, ending one of the most prosperous glass companies the world had ever known. The factory reopened under new ownership in March 1955, but with the same work force. The last president of the company was Mary Martha Mitchell, who had been secretary to both Mr. Bennett and Mr. Orme. The company closed for the final time in 1958.

“Supported by a grant from the Cambridge/Guernsey County Visitors & Convention Bureau”