Some time back, I revisited Jeannette Glass in Pennsylvania as I came across an outdated article regarding its pending demolition. Fearing that Jeannette could be gone sooner rather than later, I packed my bags, hopped into my car, dialed up some music and pointed my compass east.
Jeannette wasn’t just an ordinary glass plant. Founded in 1887, the plant closed just short of its 100th anniversary. The company introduced the first semi-automatic bottle blowing machine, manufactured beautiful Depression-era glass, and had installed the largest electric glass furnace in the world to melt heat-resisting glass.
But a buyout by a Connecticut businessman who had no knowledge of the glass industry forced Jeannette Glass into Chapter 11 bankruptcy just a year after its purchase. The businessman, John P. Brogan, bought the profitable factory and bled its assets for quick personal gain.
Not long after its closure, New York businessman Abe Zion acquired the Jeannette factory for $4 million in a bankruptcy sale. Zion had hoped to reopen the factory, but there were delays – first by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection due to hazardous wastes and industrial pollution, and a fire in the mid-1980s that caused significant damage. The state attempted to force Zion’s hand in 2011 and have him demolish the plant, but only minimal work has been completed since then.
Not that much has changed, with the exception of some clearing and a few buildings that have been razed. Click through for more on Jeannette Glass »