Two men sat in the lobby of a hotel in the early summer of 1887. Both were businessmen, both were from out of town, both in Bowling Green, Ohio for the same reason – looking for a site to locate a new factory.
But they were not competitors.
One had an option on some old rolling mill equipment down on the
And that is what
It was the classic win-win situation. The city fathers could give the energy-intensive factories what they were looking for - cheap fuel and incentives. In turn, the factories would employ workers, hundreds of them. The job opportunities would attract people to the town. The newly hired workers would need a place to live, and, with their new jobs, they could afford to buy a house close enough to the factory to walk to work. The land and homes would be purchased from the local land developers, making them rich. Since the land developers were also the city fathers, the circle was complete and everyone was happy.
The only problem was the up-front expense for the incentives. The city fathers were not interested in shelling out money from their own pockets for the free land or the cash inducements. So they turned to the obvious source – the public coffers. This was not entirely unethical, as the additional jobs, homes and factories would result in more taxes being collected, along with increased business for the local merchants.
The plan worked in theory, but
not always in practice. The
Each of the two businessmen who were staying at the local hotel had made his case to the committee of councilmen. Each been told that the request would be taken under advisement, that the committee would get back with them later. And both men were still waiting.
As the two sat in the lobby
waiting and commiserating, the town bell rang. One said to the other,
hopefully: “Mr. Giles, maybe that means my case is to be acted upon.” The other
replied “Sir, I have been in
A week later, Mr. Frank C.
Frank and his four brothers
built their glass factory in
And whatever happened to the
other man in the hotel lobby? The rolling
mill went bankrupt before it became operational. John S. Giles bought the equipment of the
closed Crystal City Glass Co. in
Giles-Clough and Redkey were both competitors of Ball Brothers in the fruit jar business, making the Fruitkeeper GCCo and the Redkey Mason, among others. Ball managed to survive the gas bust, but Redkey Glass did not. Following a fire in April 1902, it was decided that the failing gas supply did not warrant rebuilding the plant, and the glass-making equipment was sold off.
This version of the
Written by Richard H. Cole, Jr.
With thanks to Joe Terry
© 2003 Minnetrista Cultural Center
First Published in the March 2003 Glass Chatter