The Mansfield Glass Company was putting out products in great demand a few years ago, but today the factory is gone from Mansfield's western front. At one time it was doing a thriving business. The plant was making products that most people thought obsolete.|
The main product was lamp chimneys, and W. F. Wagoner, plant owner said, "The demand for handmade glass articles (the company made minnow traps, lamp shades and vases) was much greater than the supply."
In 1958, more than one hundred train loads of lamp chimneys alone were made and sold each year. Nine carloads were made in Mansfield. The best markets were Louisiana and Kentucky.
The firm, while it specialized in lamp chimneys, was also the largest manufacturer of minnow traps in the United States and Canada. The principal markets were Texas and Louisiana. They even shipped a (train)carload to Alaska.
Lamp shades and vases made by the company were sold through specialty and antique shops. They were all hand blown. The Mansfield firm was at that time the top manufacturer in the nation of these items.
Efficiency at the plant was amazing. A lamp chimney was turned out every forty seconds. The personnel had had years of practice. Production by hand at that rate of speed was possible by blower who had spent many years perfecting their craft.
Dean Piret, and employee there, started at the age of thirteen and spent forty-three year blowing glass. Otto Slaymaker began at the age of sixteen and at that time was a twenty-five year man.
Wagoner, the owner of the plant for four years, said, "The plant remained in Mansfield because of the cheap gas rate. And we liked the people here too," he added.
Wagoner was a former glass blower for General Electric. He was a General Electric employee in 1913 in Niles, Ohio. Wagoner's company, which was established in 1943, was one of the three hand "blown glass companies" in existence.
The employees who worked with lime, sand and soda had very few accidents.
This unique factory had many visitors and observers from across the nation when it was running full blast. And the students in the school always enjoyed a sight-seeing trip to the plant.