The Northwood Story

An entire book could be written about Harry Northwood, using every superlative the mind could summon and still fail to do justice to the man, a genius in his field. Of course, Harry had an advantage in the glass industry since his father, John Northwood, was a renowned English glassmaker.

Harry Northwood came to America in 1880 and first worked for Hobbs, Brockunier and Company of Wheeling, West Virginia, an old and established glass-producing firm. For five years, Harry remained in Wheeling, learning his craft and dreaming his dreams.

In 1886 he left Hobbs, Brockunier and was employed by the La Belle Glass Company of Bridgeport, Ohio, where he advanced to the position of manager in 1887. A few months later, a devastating fire destroyed much of the La Belle factory, and it was sold in 1888.  Harry next went to work for the Buckeye Glass Company of Martin’s Ferry, Ohio. Here he remained until 1896 when he formed the Northwood Company at Indiana, Pennsylvania. Much of the genius was now being evidenced, and such products as the famous Northwood custard glass date from this period.

In 1899 Northwood entered the National Glass Combine only to become unhappy with its financial problems, and in 1901 he broke away to become an independent manufacturer once again. A year later, he bought the long-idle Hobbs, Brockunier plant, and for the next couple of years, there were two Northwood plants.

Finally in 1904, Northwood leased the Indiana, Pennsylvania, plant to its managers, Thomas E. Dugan and W.G. Minnemeyer, who changed the name of the plant to the Dugan Glass Company. In 1913 the plant officially became known as the Diamond Glass Company and existed as such until it burned to the ground in 1931.

In 1908 Harry Northwood, following the success of his student, Frank L. Fenton, in the irridized glass field, marketed his first Northwood iridescent glass, and Northwood carnival glass was born. For a 10-year period carnival glass was the great American craze, and even at the time of Harry Northwood’s death in 1919, small quantities were still being manufactured. It had proved to be Northwood’s most popular glass, the jewel in the crown of a genius, much of it marked with the well-known trademark.

Standard Encyclopedia of Carnival Glass

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