Exhibit marks anniversary of glass company's demise

Thousands of glassware collectors and aficionados are coming to Marietta this weekend and next from across the country for a variety of antique glass shows.

But there is one exhibit unlike the others, surrounded by a cloud of history - and mystery.
About 150 pieces of glassware and pictures from a former Marietta glass factory, the Royal Glass Co., will be featured in an exhibit beginning this weekend at Campus Martius Museum and will run through Aug. 30, said Campus Martius Museum Manager John Briley.

On Friday, to open the exhibit, Fenton Art Glass historian Jim Measell will give a presentation about the history of the Royal Glass Co. at 7 p.m. at the museum. The cost is $6 per person for the talk and the exhibit.

"We want to have people know there was a regular factory here in Marietta. It was nationally known and lasted only five years and burned down," Briley said.

The other glass events in the area are two Fenton collectors groups coming this weekend and next week; the Antique Flea Market & Glass Show, Friday through Sunday at the Washington County Fairgrounds; and the Fenton Art Glass tent sale that continues through Aug. 10.

The Royal Glass Co. began making glass in Marietta in October 1898 and employed about 175 people. It preceded the nationally recognized Fenton Art Glass in the Mid-Ohio Valley by almost nine years.

Marietta was chosen as the site for the company after founder Addison Thompson began to close down the Huntington Glass Co. in Huntington, W.Va., and was looking for a place to start a new plant, Measell said.

"I think the availability of natural gas for fuel and availability of river and rail transportation (led him here)," Measell said. "Another factor, probably, was the ability to recruit workers from other glass plants in Wheeling and Bellaire, Ohio."

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