Photo Record

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Object Name Print, Photographic
Catalog Number 8812
Description American Window Glass Company glass blowers, Hartford City, Indiana.
Alex Romain is center front (native of Montiguey, Belgium.)
Date ca. 1900
Print size 5 1/2 x 3 7/8"
Medium photographic emulsion
Search Terms Blackford County
Hartford City
American Window Glass Company
Indiana
Subjects Glass
Glass industry
Industry
Manufacturing
Glassblowing
Workers
Glassworking
Classification Glass
Industries
Manufacturing
Imagefile 068\8812.JPG
Notes This is actually Montegnee, Belgium.

Featured Artifact Blog Post, 2013

Glass Workers, Hartford City, c. 1900

Look at the children on the front row of this group of glass workers. How old do you think they are? Eight or nine years old, maybe? While we would be horrified now to think of young children working in a glass factory - or any place, for that matter - it was common fewer than 100 years ago. These children worked in the same blistering hot conditions as the adults and held numerous jobs in the making of various kinds of glass including carrying the product from the glass blower to the finisher to the cooling oven. All of this was done for very low pay.

Many of the workers in this photograph were immigrants from Belgium. They came to Hartford City, Indiana during the Gas Boom of the late 1800s to work at Hartford City Glass Company Notice the boy holding the tube of window. He is Alex Romain, grandfather of Mildred Baxter who donated the photograph to the Minnetrista Heritage Collection.

Like many glass companies, Hartford City Glass Company experienced fire. On May 24, 1896, a tank at the factory developed a leak, and the escaping molten glass set fire to the wooden portions of the floor. While men poured water on the fire, the end of the tank gave way and hundreds of tons of molten glass flowed into the pit and came in contact with the pool of water. The generated steam burned several men, some severely. Little damage was done to the factory, however. The company became American Window Glass Factory #3 in 1899 and continued to operate until 1929.
Number of images 3