Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘Tom Mosser’

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.

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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