D. O. Skillen & Earl S. Goodin
These two men, whose names are entwined in the history of glass of East
Central Indiana, were more than just business partners.† And they were involved in another industry in
It might be supposed that Skillen was involved in one of the known glass operations of the Loogootee area, but there is no record of a glass plant being in existence while he was there.† Natural gas was not discovered until 1899, at least two years after Skillen left the community.
After an outbreak of typhoid fever in the area caused the death of
Effieís father and six of her siblings, she and her husband took on the task of
raising one of her surviving younger brothers.†
Earl Sentney Goodin
had been born in Loogootee on
In 1897, D. O. Skillen purchased, for $10,000, the Leader Glass Works in
Goodin family tradition says the Skillen and Goodin families moved from
Regardless of the exact sequence of events, the Skillen-Goodin Glass
Company was incorporated on
While Skillen was the president of the company, his brother-in-law Earl Goodin actually ran the factory, as Skillen was busy with another partner.† He and H. L. Warner formed a company to make automobile parts, which later became the T. W. Warner Company, a forerunner of Warner Gear of transmission fame.
The glass factory continued to make the Leader Fruit Jar that Patterson had patented in 1892, as the patent rights were part of the purchase.† It also made flint, green and amber bottles, vials, flasks, panels, inks, pickles and ointments.† The plant continued to operate successfully for over two decades, any unusually long lifetime for this era of glass factories.† Eight gas wells supplied the energy in the beginning, but the factory had to covert to producer gas after the natural gas ran out.† There is no indication that the factory ever converted from hand-blown to machine glassmaking, but it may have.
Far outlasting the brief enterprises of Patterson and Lenon, the Skillen-Goodin Glass Company successfully produced glass until 1918.† On Friday, April 26 of that year, about in the morning, the packing room was discovered to be ablaze.† The night force had gone home around , leaving only five or six men on the site, working in the engine room.†
When fire was finally discovered, the entire packing room had become involved in the conflagration.† Despite the efforts of bucket brigades and the local fire departmentís hose wagon and engine, most of the factory was destroyed, at an estimated cost at $35,000.† Insurance would cover only 30 to 40 percent of the loss.†
The damaged operation was never rebuilt, primarily because of
unfortunate bad timing.† The
Meanwhile, the Skillen and Warnerís auto parts business was going strong, so well that it was bought out in 1919 by General Motors of Detroit.† As a result, D. O. Skillen became general manager of the new GM subsidiary called Muncie Products.† He became a vice-president of the organization, when it was called Muncie Gear Works.
Earl Goodin, with his glass background, went to work for Turner Glass
It was there that Earl Goodin died, on
In addition to his other businesses, D. O. Skillen was a member of the
real estate firm of Skillen,
He belonged to the Methodist Episcopal Church of Yorktown, serving as elder, secretary and conducting several orchestras. †He was a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers, a 32nd degree Mason, vice-president of the Chamber of Commerce and a member of Rotary International.
After retiring, D. O. Skillen and his wife moved to the Muncie Colony at
Tri-Lakes, a resort area near
The glass company was never resurrected, and the only physical remnants
remaining today are three worker cottages along
Richard H. Cole, Jr.
© 2003 Minnetrista