The Maryland Glass Co. started in 1918 at the same site as the Eastern Glass Co., which had burned in 1913. It was between Queen Street and the CSX railroad in South Cumberland. A modern brick facility was erected which included several buildings. The bricks were obtained from the brick factory in Mt. Savage. In addition to the main furnace building, there was a building for cutting , finishing, and packing, and a separate building for the acid etching shop and painting shop. The main building had two furnace stacks for pots for glass blowing. Click on the photo at left to see a larger image.
The Maryland Glass Co. was mainly a glass decorating company, however, some glass was made there at the factory while some glass was purchased as blanks. They even purchased blanks from the Heisey Glass Co. in Ohio. The decorating included acid needle etching; acid deep plate etching of both rim designs, on stemware and porcelain dinnerware with gold, silver, and platinum coating, and stemware bowl designs; glass cutting and engraving; enameling in orange, green, black, and blue; gold gilding; and painting, usually of flowers. What they decorated may have been made in house or may have been purchased as a blank. The end result was a well decorated product.
The Maryland Glass Co. had 5 gold rim designs with known names, and several others that are presently unnamed. The known names are Laurel, Greek Key, Rose, Medallion, and Dragon. It is thought that the Maryland Glass Co. was the sole users of the Dragon design, while the other four mentioned were also produced by other Glass Companies.
There are several known plate etching designs. These are known by artifacts from the factory dump and by family attribution. Unfortunately, other than two pages, there is no catalog available showing the different type of etching designs produced at the factory. We do have two pages of a catalog, so we know there was a catalog. One deep plate etching design made by the Maryland Glass Co. is commonly referred to as the Lotus Springtime design. It pictures the Goddess Diana with Cupid inside an oval frame surrounded by flowers. This design is pictured in Glass Of Cumberland Maryland area on page 62. This design was misplaced in the Potomac Glass Co. section. The Lotus Glass Co. was a glass decorating company in Ohio, which did not make any glass. Artifacts of the Springtime design have been found at the Maryland Glass Co. factory dump. In addition, the known stemware examples of the Lotus Springtime design contain molded stems manufactured by the Maryland Glass Co. Another deep plate etching design made by the Maryland Glass Co. is listed as the Fostoria "Victory Pattern." Artifacts of this design have also been found at the factory dump. Artifacts have also been found of a basket design and a ribbon design. The Maryland Glass Co. also did some business with the Tiffany Glass Co. of NY. It is known that they decorated lamp fonts with their gold Dragon design for Tiffany lamps.
We know about 10 molded or Hokey-Pokey stems made at the Maryland Glass Co. Most of this information comes from artifacts from the factory dump. This does not include the plain pulled and off hand type stems. The molded stems are pictured with the factory dump shards or artifacts. Anyone wishing to collect stemware from the Maryland Glass Co. must study these stem designs.
There were also many other products at the Maryland Glass Co. There were items that contained hand painted flowers or roosters. There were black amethyst products, stretch glass products, stipple glass, iridescent glass, and crackle glass products. There were clear stemware and dinnerware with various cut glass designs. There were also a wide selection of stemware with off-hand, pulled and molded stems in various colors.
The glass colors included green, blue, pink, amethyst, amber, and of course clear. There was some production of ruby red, Bristol blue, and even orange. These products included candle holders, handled sandwich trays, salt & pepper shakers, dinnerware, pitchers, tumblers, fan vases, and other style vases. Many of these items were decorated with enamel, painted flowers, acid etching, cutting, or gold. The decorating was what Maryland Glass Co. was really about.
The green color glass made by Maryland Glass Co. is interesting in that it has a reflective response to the black light similar to Vaseline glass. This is because the green color was attained by using uranium dioxide in the glass mix. Up until the Second World War, uranium dioxide was the chemical of choice for coloring glass either green or yellow. It was not radioactive or dangerous to the glass workers. The uranium reacts to the black light, giving off a fluorescent color.
It was mentioned that the Maryland Glass Co. did silver coating on the rim decoration. This was for only a short time. When it was found that the silver tarnished rapidly, they changed to coating with platinum, which never tarnishes. The Maryland Glass Co. made black amethyst bud vases for the Cumberland Rotary Club about 1920, which had the silver trim at the top. The vases have the organizations name on the base in gold writing. Some of these black amethyst bud vases can be found with company stickers on the base. These tall bud vases may be trimmed with gold or silver etching designs or with cute little flowers painted on the side. The vases are very similar to those of several other glass factories (Morgantown, Tiffin, etc.), but we are sure they were made here at the Maryland Glass factory by the artifacts from the factory dump. Other dark amethyst products include handled sandwich plates, cracker and cheese plates and compotes, various sizes and shapes of vases and urns, mostly decorated with gold or flowers. The artifacts recovered so far, are not the complete story of the Maryland Glass Co. The dump area is very large, and only a small portion has been investigated to date. Future digging may bring to light many other products of the Maryland Glass Co.
One point of caution, when seeking items or information about the Maryland Glass Company, make sure you're not being led to items or information about the Maryland Glass Corporation. The Corporation was based in Baltimore and have no connection with the Maryland Glass Company of Cumberland. They were in business about the same time and focused mostly on items made of cobalt blue glass. They made molded items and had the letter "M" inside a circle on the base.
The Maryland Glass Co. decreased the volume of products in the early 1930's. John Schellhaus left the Maryland Glass Co. in 1932. The company finally ceased production in 1935, but it wasn't down long. The remaining employees pooled their resources and resumed production with Eddie Grove as manager. About 1938, Dick Sloan invested in the factory and became the manager. Finally, in 1941, the glass producing factory closed for good. Some men worked almost continuously from in the 1920's until the very last day in 1941. The decorating facility at the site continued as Kortwright, Nehring, & Weaver.
Webmaster's NOTE: This article, and related articles on the subject of Cumberland Glass, came from the web site www.cumberlandglass.org. The NDGA wishes to thank Dale Murschell for permission to post this article on our web site.