Fostoria Glass Company - Abandoned by Sherman Cahal

Fostoria Glass Company

Fostoria Glass Company, located in Moundsville, West Virginia, was the largest manufacturer of handmade glassware in the United States.

Fostoria was founded on December 15, 1887 in Fostoria, Ohio on the illusion of low-cost, plentiful natural gas reserves.1 2 But the field of natural gas was short lived, and in 1891, Fostoria relocated to Moundsville due to its abundance of coal and natural gas. The natural resources helped fuel the massive kilns to produce pressed ware, but the company’s focus had shifted to fine quality blown stemware by the 1920’s.

Fostoria was one of the first glass companies in the nation to start a program of national advertising beginning in 1924, and was first to produce complete dinner services in crystal. The company expanded its operations from their regular line of blown, etched and pressed patterns to providing glass with government seals and other custom works. Every president in the United States from Eisenhower to Reagan ordered glassware from the company, and its powerful presence made it the largest maker of handmade glassware in the nation. At its peak in the 1950’s, Fostoria employed nearly 1,000 and produced over eight million pieces of glass annually.

In 1983, Lancaster Colony purchased Fostoria, but closed the Moundsville plant just three years later, citing a lack of new investment and foreign competition.1 The complex were demolished in 2006,4 which included asbestos abatement that cost nearly $100,000. The project took eight to ten months to complete.

The Fostoria Glass Museum continues on the legacy of the plant. Located in a modest three-story home adjacent to the Marshall County Courthouse in downtown Moundsville, the center features numerous pieces often sought-after by collectors and exhibits that trace the factory’s rise and fall.3

  1. Fostoria Glass Society of America Article.
  2. “Fostoria allure lives on in museum.” Point Pleasant Register 6 June, 2006. 26 March, 2007.
  3. Steelhammer, Rick. “Beautiful legacy Museum preserves artwork made at Fostoria glass plant.” Charleston Gazette 4 June, 2006. 26 March, 2007.
  4. “Glass plant demolition may begin soon.” Charleston Gazette 27 March, 2005. 26 March, 2007.


  1. What a shame this company went by the wayside like so many others. I just resurrected my crystal candlesticks…they are beautiful. However, have lost some of the dew drops or whatever you call them. Sometimes it makes you wonder if progress is worth losing establishments like this.

  2. Absolutely fantastic shots. Well done, looks like a great place. Thanks. Going to Moundsville tomorrow and finding so much stuff is now gone since I was last there seven years ago.

  3. My grandmother lived in Moundsville and we would visit her often. We lived in Cleveland, Ohio at the time, this is around 1950’s. Everyone there had big chunks of colored glass decorating their walkways and outside their front doors. I never knew where they came from. I still wonder how they got these big chunks of glass. She lived on E. 10th st. One man lived in a one room shed and his walkway up to his door was lined with chunks of large glass. I will never forget these memories. Thank you for these pictures of the long lost glass factory.

  4. Fostoria Glass – Americana – will forever be in my heart, Governor’s Mansion in Charleston, WVA, had everything you could possibly think of for the serving of so many meals, whether it be bkft., lunch or supper. I was privileged to be friends with Gov. Bill Marland and his precious family, this was during the early 50’s. I still have a few pieces, which I treasure. Jennifer K.

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