Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for April, 2021

Coal Miners’ Exhausting Work at King’s Mine

Photos from David Adair collection

This double engine stops by the tipple for some coal in its feeders.

In 1895, Robin’s Mine just two miles from Lore City loaded train cars with coal mined there to take to the big cities, where much of it would be used in steel mills. However, one day something happened. The mine ran out of its vein of coal.

Two years earlier, Madison and Alexander Robins furnished financing for the opening of a 97-foot shaft that led to a vein of coal 5′ high. As the men worked the shaft, that vein kept getting smaller and smaller until it disappeared into a wall of stone called a “horseback.”

This 1895 picture shows a fairly new King’s Mine tipple with wooden coal cars waiting to be filled.

At that time the Robins brothers thought about abandoning the project but they had thousands of dollars invested. Up stepped Joe King, a local colored man who worked in the mine. He proposed that they blast through the horseback, without having any idea of its thickness,  to see what was on the other side.

Joe and a few friends took on that project and did indeed blast through the stone wall and find another vein of coal. This vein was even larger than the first one at 14′ high!

Joe King had a professional picture taken at a studio in Cambridge.

Imagine the excitement of the Robins brothers when they were shown this new discovery. Why they were so happy, they changed the name of the mine from Robin’s Mine to King’s Mine in honor of Joe King. A town near the mine was named Kingston. Joe became a bit of a celebrity in the coal mining town for a while.

A locomotive gets a load of #7 coal in its tender.

During their heyday, King’s Mine had as many as thirty trains a day stop to pick up coal to take to places like Akron or Cleveland. At the tipple, they would drop 35-40 tons of coal into each car plus 14 tons into the tender of the steam locomotive. Now, that’s a lot of coal.

This receipt shows coal being sold to Morton Tin Plate Co. in Cambridge in 1895.

Workers in the mine were a diverse group but most were uneducated in 1895. There were around 350 Hungarians, Slavs, Polish, and Negroes who found this a place where they could at least feed their families and have a roof over their head.

This young couple dressed in their best to meet at the tipple.

Housing was provided for the workers by the company. In those early days, the miners earned about $15 every two weeks and were paid in cash. Their rent was $12 a month, which they paid at the company store. Not much left for anything else. A mule was worth more to the company than a miner.

This photo of King’s Mine in 1926 shows the company store on the left with all the windows.

That old song “I owe my soul to the company store” was certainly true in King’s Mine and other towns in Guernsey County at that time. You must realize that in the summer there was no work at the mine because not as many needed coal in the summer. Then the miners had to put their rent and any food purchases on the tab at the company store to have part of their pay taken each payday in the future to help pay this debt.

Occupants of this little town would exchange milk, butter, eggs, and sometimes meat. If they needed sugar, flour, coffee, or supplies to work in the mine, they had to purchase those at the company store. Miners were never given equipment to work with. They had to purchase their own picks, shovels, carbine hats, and even dynamite. Life was not easy for these miners.

Students studied with their teacher at a one-room elementary school.

It was common practice for the miners to put a couple of lumps of coal in their dinner pail all year long either from the mine or on their walk home along the tracks. That way they could heat their house at no cost. The children most likely would also pick up a few lumps on their way home.

While the company had electricity in their company store and even at the coal mine to move the coal to the tipple, miners had no electricity in their homes. There was no running water and always outdoor toilets.

Ohio 265 sign shows a rough road in 1926 in front of the power house and tipple.

In 1908, a fire destroyed the tipple, all the buildings, and machinery. For seven years, this mine did not operate and became filled with water. At that time, it was leased to Akron Coal Company and the mine was rebuilt. From 1916 to 1936, the mine continued in full operation until all the coal was mined out.

This bronze statue made by Alan Cottrill to honor all miners stands at the old depot in Byesville, Ohio.

A bronze statue created by Alan Cottrill can be found at the old Byesville depot. In the early 1900s, Byesville was the coalmining capital of Ohio. It honors all those miners who worked in the dangerous underground mines with very little pay or benefits. Part of the plaque on that statue reads:

May our miners of those early days never be forgotten for all their dangerous work underground with little pay and no benefits.

Mosser Glass Celebrates 50 Years

Everyone enjoys a visit to their beautiful Mosser Glass showroom filled with glass made in the factory close by.

The art of glassmaking has been in the Mosser family for generations. It all began back at the Cambridge Glass Co. where Orie Mosser was the plant manager. His son, Tom, began working at the glass company as a teenager. You can see why this family knows how to produce fine glass.

When Cambridge Glass Co. closed in 1954, Tom Mosser wanted to find a way to continue making glass as it was the only thing he knew well. It wasn’t until 1959 that Tom Mosser joined forces with two other long-time employees of Cambridge Glass, Rudy Wencek and Mary Martha Mitchell, and started making glass under the name of Variety Glass. Glass held a passion for all three.

Tom and Georgia enjoyed vacations with their family at the beach.

For several years, they made glass pharmaceutical equipment, much of which was from molds of the Cambridge Glass Co. Several former employees of the glass company assisted. But Tom wanted to make decorative items and tableware that would add beauty to everyone’s home, so in 1971 he started a second business, Mosser Glass, which remains to this day.

Tim Mosser now serves as president and manager of production.

That tradition of fine glassware continues with Tom’s son, Tim, taking the reins of the company as president and manager of the production end. Tom’s daughters, Sally Johnson and Mindy Hartley, are partners in running the gift shop. They are one of the last glass companies around where you can actually stop by and watch them make hand-pressed glass. Tours are free!

Glass is poured into a mold to take the desired shape.

In the factory portion, you can see a product being made from its beginning to end. Watch as they gather the melted glass from a furnace with temperatures of 2900° F. Then it is placed into a custom glass mold, shaped, finished, and gradually cooled.

Glass is placed into the furnace to be reheated or fired.
It takes a skilled craftsman to finish a cake plate.

It takes a team of experienced, talented craftsmen to produce this quality glass. Tour groups find this an exciting stop during their day both for the factory and the gift shop.

The Mosser daughters, Mindy and Sally, take charge of the gift shop.

And what an elegant gift shop it is! The place just sparkles with beautiful colors that bring people back again and again. In the early days, Mosser made many collectibles such as cats, clowns, Christmas trees, and hen dishes. But today they have changed their focus to more plain and simple tableware that younger people seem to like.

Their newest addition is a marble batter bowl.

That family tradition continues as they bring new ideas to the company that people will cherish. Their newest addition is a batter bowl, which is sure to be popular.

This Mosser Bathing Beauty Soap Dish adds elegance to your bathroom.

Other items enjoyed by many include their Cambridge Spirit Collection, decorated cake domes, and the bathing beauty soap dish. Everything can be purchased in a wonderful variety of colors which vary from soft to bright and will add charm to your home.

Georgia was honored with this peaceful blue color being named with her in mind.

One of their most recent color additions is a peaceful Georgia Blue. This honors Tom’s wife, Georgianna, who exerted a calm influence over the family during her life. She was instrumental in designing many new pieces.

Ohio State glass creations are very popular.

You might be surprised at all the things that Mosser Glass makes. While you can see their beautiful productions for your home in the gift shop, they also make headlight and tail light lenses, industrial and residential lighting fixtures, dental light lenses, cuspidors, and the list goes on.

Their Christmas trees appear in many colors and are highly collectible.

Mosser Glass is located at 9279 Cadiz Road, Cambridge. They are known the world over for their elegant, hand-pressed glassware in a variety of colors. Stop by to see the beauty of the glass created here for fifty years and take something special home with you.

This jadeite trinket box makes a great gift.

Small family-run businesses like Mosser Glass succeed due to their love of making glass in the traditional way that has been in their family for over a hundred years. Tim, Sally, and Mindy have a passion for the glass business. That’s what makes Mosser Glass so special.

Mosser Glass is located at 9279 Cadiz Road, Cambridge, Ohio. They are located about a mile from I-77 west at Exit 47.

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