97-year-old Paoly marks 80 years with Corning Glass

Louis Paoly retired from Corning Glass in Charleroi at the age of 62 at the urging of his wife Evelyn who was concerned for his health.

"She was concerned that I was not going to live long," Paoly recalled. "She was concerned that the plant was too hot and it was taking its toll on me."

That was 1968.

Last week, Paoly, 97, who has outlived his wife by 12 years, became only the third person to achieve 80 years of service to the company. Corning Glass continues an employee's years of service into retirement. They receive service pins every five years and a cash bonus at each 25 years of service.

Paoly keeps a framed display with each of his service pins.

"Corning is one of the only corporations I know of that carries on an employee's seniority," said Tony Lazzari, president of Aluminum, Brick and Glass Steelworkers Local 53-G.

The service pin to was presented to Paoly by Townsend Jackson, plant manager, and Don Good, plant manager, at the Charleroi plant of World Kitchen Inc. World Kitchen now owns the former Coring Glass plant, but Jackson and Good represented the former glassmaker which no longer has a presence in Charleroi.

Jackson also presented Paoly with Corning glass souvenirs and a letter of congratulations from Corning CEO Jamie Houghton.

Paoly's daughter, grandchildren and great-grandchildren were present for the ceremony.

Louis Paoly was just 16 when he first began working at the glass plant in Charleroi in 1922.

But he was a seasoned veteran compared to his brother, Cassie, who worked at the plant when he was just nine.

Paoly almost didn't get hired at the plant. He applied for work, but was turned down because he was told he was too young. He then went to Mother of Sorrows Catholic Church in Charleroi to get a copy of his birth certificate.

Louis Paoly remembers his first day working as a pressman in the blow room of the plant. It was a hot July day, made more scorching by the heat from the fires used to make the glass.

"All I did was drink water all day," Paoly said.

He earned 25 cents an hour at the start.

Lazzari, who began working for the company in the early 1980s, also started in the blow room of the plant. He said it was not a popular place because of the extreme heat and usually was handed down to the new employees.

He reminisced with Paoly about working at the plant during the ceremony this week. Lazzari expressed his gratitude to Paoly for the work he did and how the men and women of that generation built the tradition of the plant.

Among the important products that workers like Paoly made locally were glass panels for landing domes. These domes were stuck in the ground to light the way for planes used during World War II. The domes provided light for rail cars as well.

Company lore has it that one worker took one of those domes home and his wife baked a cake in it, Jackson said. That was the start of Corning's Pyrex division.

"From the railroad to the kitchen," Jackson said of the slogan that accompanies that story.

All Pyrex kitchenware products are made in Charleroi, Jackson said. The company estimates that every household has at least one such product in their kitchen.

Paoly recalled that the Charleroi plant once had more than 1,000 workers. Today, there are about 300.

But what was the most memorable day at the plant?

"The day I took my pension," Paoly replied.

600450 97-year-old Paoly marks 80 years with Corning Glass glassonweb.com

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