Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘Mary Martha Mitchell’

Creative Touch to Cambridge Glass Makes Treasures That Have Historic Value

Cambridge Ornaments - Fireplace MantleIf you break or chip a piece of your precious Cambridge Glass, don’t throw it away. There still might be a use for it.

   Cambridge Glass Company made beautiful pieces of glassware from 1902 -1958 that are still cherished today. Once in a while a piece gets scratched or even cracked, but those who love Cambridge Glass don’t want to throw it away.

Cambridge Chipped

A shelf filled with damaged Cambridge Glass waits to be transformed into ornaments.

   That’s when sisters Cindy Arent and Lindy Thatcher decided they would use these imperfect pieces to make Christmas ornaments. This year they made 170 ornaments and see them selling quickly at the National Museum of Cambridge Glass.

   All of the decorations they make are from imperfect donated glass. Some may be broken dramatically, while others may just have a chip or small crack. No perfect pieces are ever used to create an ornament.

Cambridge severely broken

The stem on a severely broken piece will someday hang on someone’s Christmas display.

   When a goblet is donated, Lindy cuts off the bowl and then cuts off the stem. Two ornaments can be made from one piece of damaged glass. The base of the goblet is not used for decorations.

Cambridge Lindy smooths

Lindy grinds the cut section smooth while wearing protective covering.

   She has a power saw that cuts the glass smoothly, but she still has to grind it to make the end perfectly smooth. Lindy is very cautious as knows that glass particles often fly through the air. She wears a respirator and protective glasses when grinding.

DSC04231

The top part of a goblet becomes a beautifully etched Christmas ornament.

   After grinding the edges, a bell cap is formed over the end from which it will be hung. An epoxy glue holds the bell cap in place after a few minutes of pressure before letting it set for 48 hours. Then a ring is attached for easy hanging.

Cambridge Cindy decorate

Cindy decorates the ornaments with ribbon and Christmas cheer.

   Every year in the springtime when National Cambridge Collectors Convention meets, Lindy and Cindy often get a new selection of items donated to them for use as ornaments. These ladies donate their time and materials, and all money from the sale of the ornaments is given to the National Museum of Cambridge Glass in Cambridge, Ohio.

Cambridge Sisters

Sisters Cindy and Lindy give all proceeds to the Cambridge Glass Museum.

   A favorite ornament is an etched goblet hung upside down so it resembles a bell. Add a beautiful gold or red bow and it’s the perfect highlight for your Christmas tree.

Cambridge OSU Buckeye and Rosepoint

This OSU Buckeye / Rose Point ornament is an eye-catcher.

   Requests are frequently given for ornaments of a particular pattern or color. A favorite of many is that ever-popular Rose Point. They are shipped all over the United States to people who had family working at Cambridge Glass. A perfect gift!

Cambridge and Cameron (2)

Cameron Fontana from Good Day Columbus chose a Christmas ornament for his wife.

   While Carl Beynon and Cindy began making jewelry in the form of necklaces and earrings from the broken glass many years ago, today those items are being created by Susan Elliott, an NCC member who now lives in New Concord. Her jewelry items can also be purchased in the gift shop at the museum.

Cambridge stem pictures

The wall behind Cindy’s work area shows different stem styles.

   Cindy and Lindy have a long family history of Cambridge Glass. Their aunt, Mary Martha Mitchell worked at the Cambridge Glass Company for most of her life so the girls heard about it all through their youth. Today both ladies are on the Board of Directors for the National Museum of Cambridge Glass. Cindy is the museum director while Lindy is the treasurer.

Cambridge Wildflower ornament

A Cambridge Wildflower ornament is trimmed in gold.

   While Cindy had heard about Cambridge Glass all her life, her interest was piqued when her husband, Mike, bought her a Cambridge Glass Moonlight bowl as a Christmas present. Her interest shortly thereafter became more serious.

   Lindy often went with her Aunt Mary to glass shows all over the country. She couldn’t help but catch the fever traveling with someone who for over thirty years had served as secretary to Presidents of the Cambridge Glass, A.J. Bennett and W.L. Orme.

Creative Team

These busy ladies at the museum, Cindy, Sharon, and Lindy, also co-chair the Dickens Creative Team.

   Not only do these ladies volunteer their time to the Glass Museum, Lindy, Cindy and Sharon Bachna are also co-chairs of the Creative Team, which designs the Victorian scenes for Dickens Victorian Village. Cambridge is fortunate to have such dedication. They are busy and creative volunteers!

Cambridge Ornament Display

Ornaments can be purchased from the museum display.

   Cambridge Glass is still treasured in many ways today. You can find these spectacular sparkling ornaments in the gift shop at the National Museum of Cambridge Glass on 9th Street in Cambridge, Ohio. Their Holiday Hours from November 1 – December 21 are Friday and Saturday from noon – 4:00. 

   Cambridge Glass ornaments will add a special touch to your tree or home. For many, they will bring back memories of family members who worked at the factory. Stop by and visit their outstanding displays. It’s a great place to find a special sparkling Christmas gift or perhaps a treasure for yourself.

National Museum of Cambridge Glass is located at 136 South 9th Street in Cambridge, Ohio just a half block off Wheeling Avenue. Cambridge is located at the crossroads of I-70 and I-77 for easy access.

Variety – The Spice of Dad’s Life

Making glass was “in his blood”. Those words described my dad, Rudy Wencek, as working with glass intrigued him. That passion is the basis for my Father’s Day tribute to Dad and Variety Glass in Cambridge, Ohio. Dreams do come true.

Dad working at Variety Glass

Dad working at Variety Glass

At the age of twelve, Rudy quit school and went to work as a “carrying-in boy” at Cambridge Glass Company. As the years passed, Rudy performed a variety of jobs there from pressing to the skilled art of blowing delicate pieces. The only thing he knew well centered around making glass, while his wife, Kate, raised chickens on the farm.

Rudy never even considered doing anything else until the day in 1959 when the Cambridge Glass plant closed – this time for good. What would he do now?

As luck would have it, Rudy was good friends with Tom Mosser, another glassmaker whose family had a hand in operating Cambridge Glass. Rudy and Tom purchased some of the original Cambridge Glass molds for use in producing laboratory and pharmaceutical glass for doctors and science labs, plus a variety of other items.

Where should they start the business? How about in Kate’s chicken house near Indian Camp. While Kate didn’t mind giving up her chicken house, two things worried her.

First, the large propane tank needed to fire the furnace could explode. Second, taking out a loan frightened her as she watched every penny. But Rudy told her, “It takes money to make money.” Therefore, late in 1959, Variety Glass got its start – in our former chicken house.

Dad in front of future Variety Glass

Dad in front of future Variety Glass

Rudy and Tom worked long hours on their new business. Tom enjoyed making business connections to purchase supplies and generate sales. Rudy got to follow his love of being in charge of making the glass products, always working closely with the other employees, nearly all being former Cambridge Glass craftsmen.

Officers of Variety Glass: Mary Martha Mitchell, president; Tom Mosser, vice-president, Rudy Wencek, treasurer

Officers of Variety Glass were: Mary Martha Mitchell, president; Tom Mosser, vice-president, and Rudy Wencek, treasurer

The following year, a late night explosion caused a fire that stopped their dream. But Rudy and Tom were not giving up. They contacted former Cambridge Glass president, Mary Martha Mitchell, asking for her leadership expertise. Between the three partners, they discovered the empty street car barn on Second Street and began refurbishing it to meet their needs.

With the added room for growth, items were added to their production list with glass products being sent worldwide. Surprising though it may seem, some of their laboratory glass was used by NASA and the Atomic Research Center in Los Alamos.

But fate seemed to delay the three of them again, as once more fire caused extensive damage to Variety Glass in 1966. Mary Martha Mitchell kept the company going from her kitchen table office by notifying customers of the circumstances and encouraging them to wait until production started once again.

Today Variety Glass is still in operation on Second Street although none of the three originators are around to oversee its production.

Variety Glass in old trolley barn

Variety Glass in old trolley barn

Due to health problems, Rudy found it necessary to retire from Variety Glass in 1966, but he never lost his passion for making glass. He told his grandsons how proud it made him feel to see sand and a few special ingredients turn into beautiful glass objects, thus Rudy’s long-ago CB handle of “Sandman”. The sparkle in his eyes when he talked about making glass reflected his passion.

Dad’s cheerful, caring attitude provided a life-long example to follow. He was the best dad imaginable!

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