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