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Ray coburn, 96, recalls galss factory history
Thursday, August 10, 1989


Pix #1 - An 1866 American Flint Glass Workers Union archives photo of glass workers from New York, Pennsylvanin, and New Jersey who met in Brooklyn, N.Y. to form a glass workers' union.

Pix #2 - The factory where Fostoria Incandescent Lamps were located.

Pix #3 - Another one of the factoria in Fostoria during the boom days of the glass industry.

After many weeks without seeing any Potluck articles, readers will probably be astonished to see it back in print.

If excuses are in order, or acceptable, I would only say that I needed to forget schedulse, digging up subject matter, and then attempting to present it in an acceptable and interesting manner. Call the absence a sabbatical if you wish. Then too, don't forget that at 84 years it isn't as easy as when the column was started 12 yeqrs ago.

Corburn honored on birthday

I spent a couple hours with Ray coburn, longtime Fostoria friend, recently, not remembreing his birthday has come and gone, but those from whom he recieved greetings were: Jimmy Carter, Michael Dukakis, Howard Metzenbaum, John Glenn, Dwight Wise, Richard Celeste, Verne Rife, President Georg Bush, many other local citizens who didn't forget.

There aren't many, if any residents in the Fostorai area to match the activities of corurn who has spent 66 years of his life in Fostoria, and was once this town's mayor.

The only other aged glass worker that was involved in the glaass industry in Fostoria may years ago was bob Fry Sr., deceased fatehr of Bob Fry, Jr. residing at 10282 W. Louden Twpl. Road 116. From the later, I also received photos and data for this series.

Bob Fry St., the glass worker will be remembered by older readers of this column.

Venon Balls' ar;ticles remembered

with the valuable information provide dby Ray coburn was a series of articles that Vernon Ball researed and wrote that appeared in The Review Times in 1066. BAll was on the staqff at the RT at that time. Ball and this aurthor became friend in more recent years. Mr. and Mrs. ball resid ea t 53 Barcelon aDr.

Coburn's father also glass worker

Ray coburn's earlier yeares ewere spent working in the glass factories loactaed in Fostoria. He had followed in the footsteps of his father who was also a glass worker.

The factories that manufactured glass products diring that erea in Fostoria were: The Incandescent, Louden and the UPpper.

The American Flint Glass Workers' Union is one of the oldest trade unions in America, organized in 1878 in Pitts burgh. Many industrial unions, such as, the United Auto Workers, the Steel Workers, the rubber Workers and others, were organized in the 1930s. The histor of the Ameican flint Glass Workers Union goes back to the birth of orgainzed labor in the U.S.

The father of the modern America Glass industry was Micheael J. Owens, Toledo, inventor of the Owens bottle machine. Mik went into the factory at the age of ten. Edward Libbey, a Toledoan, recognized the mechanical genius of Michawl Ownes and together with Mike's mechanical know-how and Libbey's money, they revoluntionized the making of glass,s turning hand operatinon in the thoe oautomatic machine age.

Keeps infomred of glass industry

When I spent time iwht Ray coburn recently, he gave a ma copy of Archives, published by America flint Galss Workers Union, AFL-CIO, located in Toldeo... the orgainzation that has reperexneted the glass workers since 1878, and of which coburn in a member.

the copy given to this autho was autographed by Rober W. Newell, first V.P. an dGeorge M. Parker, president o th 111-year-old union coburn keeps in touch with.

Edmonds family in glass industry

When the glass industry was at its height in Fostorai, a number of members of the Edmonds family were invoved and coburn remembers them too. Harry Edmonds was an overseer in one of the fostoria plants, and George and two of his sons, whose names, I do not recall, were also glass factory employees, being tool and dye workers.

After leaving fostorai, the edmonds moved to areass where they continued with their trade, principally the Lancaster area.

I kept in touch with the Edmonds for many years, but at this late date doesn now know if any of them are living, or where.

Remember Carol Roland?

Carl Roland, deceased many years, was another glass worker in fostoria,. After the glass factories in fostoria closed, Roland did mainteneance work at one or more of the retail businesses on Main Stree, and was well known.

Roland came to fostoria from denmark as a young man. All of his earthly property was brought oto the U.S. in a trunk form his homeland, and that truck has been in the possession of this author form many years.

Arringing in Fostorai, Roland boarded iwth my aunt and uncle Mr. and Mrs. frank Babcock. Eventually marry, he left the trunk with my and and I inherited it.

Roland carried his danish brogue formhis landing in Fostoria until his death. He was well know and liked. for many years he head usher Presbyterian Church

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of their married life at the corner of North main and Jackson Street.

(To be continued)

Heed God's word

Open or closed hands?

A friend sent ma a book..."the Friendship bood." From it I extracted one of the topics thereing which st5ruck me because it expressed such an important thought all of us should consider: "A little while ago I was in church listeneing to a sermon on the text 'Give and it shall be given unto your,' in the ocurse of shwhick the ministrer said, 'Aclosed hand cannot recieve.'

those words have kept recurring to me since, not only in the wasy the minister used them, but becasue they have reminde dme of so many other things a closed hand cannot do. It can't shake hands. It can't wave a friendly greeting... only shake a threatening fist. It can't pat a little child on the head. It can't be laid reassuringly on the hsolder of someone who is discouraged. It can't turn over the pages of a book, aor play a musical instrument. It can't scatter seed

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