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Fry Art Glass

Fry Art Glass

In 1901 the H.C. Fry company was formed from the desire to keep experienced, trained glassworkers employed. The lack of work was the result of a fire that had destroyed the Rochester Tumbler Works. H.C. Fry (the ex-president of The National Glass Company) was the entrepreneur behind this venture. He invested $250,000, and built his company in North Rochester, Pennsylvania, which was in the area of the destroyed company, but was more accessible to raw materials, water and transportation. Construction began on June 3, 1901. Production in the new plant started in1902. The plant used improved methods for making glassware and was capable of turning out high quality products. Some glassware was blown and pressed ware was also made during these early years. The plant was equipped with many innovative features such as a sprinkling system. The cutting room was the largest in its day. Mr. Fry wanted only the best and initiated a system of quality control to ensure his goals. He established a large sample room to promote his superior products. Production of Fry increased and another plant was built. Mr. Fry continued to innovate the industry. He hired the H.L. Dixon Company to design and construct an eight pot furnace. This design was adopted by other companies and soon reduced the cost of producing glass for the entire industry. In 1911 Fry glassware production doubled. The two plants were combined and new ideas were again put into use at the factories. In 1917 the plant was said to be the most and up-to date glass factory in the country. The factory began to have financial difficulty in the early 1920s and went into receivership to try to regain its former solvency. It remained in receivership until 1929, when it was reorganized. S.C. Stebbens was appointed as the new President. Fry continued its production of fine quality products and planned to add lines of attractive tableware and stem ware. The Great Depression proved to be another stumbling block for the Fry Company. Orders for glassware declined. In July of 1933 the company was again placed in receivership. The remaining company employees were dismissed and the Fry Glass Company was dissolved. During their production years, The Fry Glass Company was responsible for some of the finest cut glassware made in America. They made beautiful colored and crystal glassware as well. Perhaps Fry is best remembered for opal kitchenware and for its Art Glass in a translucent opal or pearl color called Foval. Foval items came plain, and trimmed in blue and green. Today Fry's Art Glass line is avidly sought after by collectors.

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