Lincoln Glass Celebrates 50th Year

Owners of Lincoln Glass in Newport, Dan and Elayne Mason, celebrated their 50th anniversary in the business this year. Dan's parents, John and Grace Mason, established Lincoln Glass in 1956 and oversaw day-to-day operations for 20 years.

Dan grew up with the business worked in glass shops in Portland while he was going to school. Dan and Elayne purchased the business from his parents 30 years ago.

Dan said his dad, John, was a "very community minded" person who was instrumental in developing community ties the business is still proud of today. Lincoln Glass began as a small venture and quickly grew to provide a variety of glass services to the community and beyond.

Today, Lincoln Glass specializes in exterior glass work designed for Oregon coast weather. They offer services for a wide range of glass-related work, including mirrors, shower doors and shelving, fogged insulated window units, and the replacement of broken glass for residential and commercial buildings. Also offered are auto glass repair and replacement. In addition to traditional glass, several similar products are also available, including Plexiglas and a near-bullet resistant type of glass commonly used in boats.

Dan manages the business and Elayne does all of the bookkeeping for the company. He said, "We manage the business as a team. All of our decisions are made together."

Employees of Lincoln Glass are a testament to strong community ties and the family business for their impressive tenures. Speed Rasmussen (now retired) was with Lincoln Glass for 34 years; Bob Hill, assistant manager, 27 years; Rod Prest, auto glass specialist and outside glazier, 23 years; Chris Hull, outside glazier, 33 years; Christopher Nelson, outside glazier, is the next generation with one year under his belt, and Dan said he is learning quickly.

Dan and Elayne have a son, Spencer Mason, who graduated from Newport High School and has studied in Portland where he is currently working for one of the Lincoln Glass suppliers. Asked about the obvious correlation to Dan's past, whether Dan and Elayne hoped Spencer would one day move back to Newport to take over the business, Dan said they laugh about it. "It's good exposure," he said, in the short term, and he is glad Spencer is gaining experience and hinted the future was full of possibilities.

Dan and Elayne's elder son Justin Mason is a civil engineer and lives in Bend with his wife and daughter.

Lincoln Glass has always been located in the same building, 147 NE 1st Street in Newport, though it was established in a just a portion of the building. Initially there were two additional rental units. Among the tenants were Newport Rental and Pioneer Printing, both successful local businesses. The structure was totally remodeled when Lincoln Glass expanded into the whole building in the 1980s.

Around town, many large structures, including the Public Utilities Department building and more recently Local Ocean Seafood on Newport's historic Bayfront, are examples of Lincoln Glass handiwork.

Among the many residential structures where they have installed glass are several magnificent coast homes, which Dan said may incorporate as much as $150,000 worth of installed glass each.

Understanding the trade

Dan said the glass the company purchases is made all over the United States, though most of the distributors they use are based in Portland.

The technology of glass has progressed over the years from single pane wood framed windows, to aluminum framing, and then insulated glass (two panes with a sealed air space) with vinyl framing. Today the exterior glass is almost exclusively "low-e" glass, which is coated to improve energy efficiency and block ultraviolet light. Low-e glass continues to be improved, Dan said, "They try to make it more efficient and less visible. All of our goals are still toward energy efficiency."

Recounting significant storms of the last several decades Dan said, "One thing we deal with here, more than almost any other place in the state, is the weather." Because of the spectacular views customers are attracted to large glass expanses, and it is a challenge to ensure such panes won't leak under extreme conditions.

Over the years Dan said Lincoln Glass has accepted jobs out of the area, even as far away as Utah. "We found if we used the same glazing practices wherever we went we never had a callback," he said, "If it's good enough for the Oregon coast it will work anywhere."

Lincoln Glass has worked with manufacturers to problem solve too. "If we spot something and say this is a recurring problem, this is what's causing the problem, and this is the cure we are using, we've had them actually implement that cure," Dan said.

At one point Lincoln Glass had a window manufacturer who was having problems with stainless steel fasteners provided by another supplier. "One of our employees had a boat and we took a plank and attached a whole bunch of screws to it and hung it in the bay off the back of the boat for a specific period of time. Then (the manufacturer) sent it back to the fastener company and said 'look, this is the reaction we're getting, accelerated.'"

Another challenge sometimes faced is that of preserving the historical integrity in a building when installing new glass, Dan said. An example is the Naterlin School building into which city hall moved, and efforts were made to match the new materials to the existing structure while maximizing efficiency and weather proofing. Dan said the company "developed a product which looked very much like the original windows. In fact, from the street it's hard to tell the difference."

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600450 Lincoln Glass Celebrates 50th Year
Date: 29 December 2006

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