Vintage Glass Fundraiser Scheduled for Sunday in Ford City

FORD CITY – A holiday sale of crystal and vintage glass will benefit the creation of what hopefully will become an internationally-renowned Ford City Glass College.

The event will take place this Sunday, December 10, from 1:00 until 6:00 PM at the CU Club,  914 6th Avenue in Ford City.

There will be 75 unique pieces of vintage crystal and glass art for sale. The profit of the sales will go to fund architectural renderings of a proposed glass college.

“We are looking at a few buildings in town. If some have a glass heritage too, so much the better,” said exploratory committee member, Don Mains.

Mains said that Ford City was specifically built as a glass company factory. It became a glass company town where workers lived in glass company homes, representing a classic American Company Town of that era. By 1910, the PPG Ford City plant was the largest glass factory in the world and continued that
distinction through the 1950s. It employed more than 5,000 workers for five decades in the town of Ford City, which mirrored the size of the factory with about 5,200 citizens living in town at that time.

The factory closed in 1993. Now, 24 years from the time glass-making ceased in Ford City, an exploratory effort is under way to create a structure called the
“Ford City Glass College”. Classes will be offered on a regular basis in the art relating to blown glass, stained glass, and glass mosaics. Ford City founder Captain John B. Ford scoured 10 eastern and southern Europe in the late 1800’s for the best glass artisans in which to bring to his company town. There he found the best glass artisans of the “Glass Rivera” and offered them a job, in a mammoth glass factory, and live comfortably in his homes. Today there are tens of thousands of glass artisan descendants.

Originally the Ford City Glass Company was state of the art. Due to the rural nature of our county, the company town primarily has remained in tact, albeit the factory gone and now 9  entrepreneurial efforts in place. Mains points out that when it comes to glass, there can be no community of equal size or even larger, with a greater glass pedigree, glass heritage, and now glass destiny.

When Ford City High School opened in 1908, its halls were filled with hundreds and hundreds of first generation American teenagers with accents from 10 nations.

Mains pointed out that although Ford City is just 45 min from Pittsburgh via Route 28, Armstrong County with a population of 68,000 is the smallest county in the region.

Mains welcomed interested persons who would like to serve on the exploratory committee to make inquiry at the Sunday fundraiser or email him at donaldmains1217@aol.com.