1907 - 1910:  Smethport Cut Glass Works

photo credit: Mary Pierotti Family Collection

See this building today
Backus Novelty buys building in 1911
See articles on factory accident

The Official Backus/Chef Specialties Timeline

1906: Backus teams
with Holmes & Gilfillan

1906: Birth of Backus Company

Early Backus Garage: Backus builds
automotive garage in front of Backus Co.

1911: Cutglass Factory
purchased by Backus Novelty

1950's: Backus joins the Garage
and the new factory


In 1907 Smethport Cut Glass Company opened in Smethport, creating exquisitely fine quality cut glass.

Factory employed about 30 workers at its peak.

Frank Reynolds originally from New Bedford, MA and later from Vineland, NJ was one of principal stockholders. Mr. Reynolds taught the staff  how to cut glass.  Glass resembles Vineland, NJ style of cut glass.

With the advent of importation of cut glass from Belgium the market fell and the business failed to make a profit.

Building & contents were sold at sherrif's sale March 3, 1910.  Grantee was Hamlin Bank.
The original 3 story cut glass factory would later be purchased by Backus Novelty Company.  Present building rebuilt on original foundation.

The Basics

incorporated:  June 26, 1907
dissolved: March 7, 1910

operation moved to Smethport from Vineland, NJ
located at 411 W. Water St.  Present location of Backus Co./ Chef Specialties

7 Directors of Smethport Cut Glass Company
R.W. Hilton, R.E. Burdick,T. W. Camp, C.A. Burdick, C.D. Comes, Geo. R. Reinhart, Frank Reynolds

Shareholders: (5 shares each)
J.E. Myers (secretary), C.A. Burdick (President), John Forrest, H.H. Redfield, R. W. HiltonO.J. Hamlin, Sanford L. Fry; Clinton D. Comes, H.W. Rubin, Thomas Camp, Chas. McKean, James McKean, W.D. Gallup, Leo Herzog, Ed Walker, J.S. Walker, Ralph E. Burdick (Trustee), J.C. Gallup, C.H. Gleason, J. Colegrove, M.W. Heinlein, F.W. Brownell, G.C. Oviatt, H.H. McCoy,  Frank Reynolds from Vineland, NJ (20 shares), Geo. R. Reinhart from Philadelphia (40 shares)

photo credit:  Mary Pierotti Family Collection

These are some of the employees of the cut glass factory around the 1907.
Maybe you can help us identify them!
McKean County Miner; Thursday, March 19, 1908 (Page 1, Column 2 )

Fire Early This Morning

The night watchman at the Smethport cut glass factory discovered a fire on the second floor of that building about 1:30 this morning. He at once blew the factory whistle and in a short time the fire whistle called the hose company to the scene.
The firemen soon laid a line of hose and the blaze was drowned out within a very short time. At first it was thought that the fire started in a closet, but perhaps the most reasonable theory is that the building was struck by lightning. The flames burned along the ceiling, charring the roof on the inside.
A heavy rain was falling and the water rushing down the hillsides made a roar that almost drowned the sound of the whistles, consequently a number of firemen were unaware of the alarm until they arose this morning.
The damage done by the flames is not extensive and the damage by water cannot be estimated correctly at this writing.


McKean County Miner; January 14, 1909 (Page 1, Column 1)

Miss Hazel Colegrove Has Arm Badly Lacerated on Grindstone
She Was Working in the Cut Glass Factory. - Accident Happened
Shortly After Noon. - So Quick She Did Not Realize It.

Miss Hazel Colegrove, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. B. D. Colegrove, met with a painful and quite serious accident at the cut glass factory yesterday afternoon which will probably lay the young lady up for some time.
She is employed in this factory and was grinding a piece of glass on one of the grindstones. She turned to lay down the article on which she had been working and in some way her right elbow came in contact with the swiftly revolving stone and before she could draw her arm away it had furrowed a deep wound about two inches in length over the joint.
The friction so benumbed her arm that it was some time before she realized that she had more than bumped her elbow and the first intimation she had of the cut was when she saw blood streaming down her arm.
She was taken to Dr. Clark’s office where her wound was dressed, and from there to her home on Green street where she will be confined for a week at least. Such is the nature of the wound that she will be obliged to keep her arm perfectly straight until it is healed.
Miss Colegrove has many friends here who will sympathize with her in her misfortune and wish her a speedy recovery.

Collections From:
Tom Pollack  Portville, NY,
Anne D. Potter, Smethport, PA &
Amy Pierrotti, Smethport, PA
McKean County Historical Society, Smethport

* Smethport Cut Glass was not marked with a logo it is impossible to identify unless its origins are known. We have photographed collections associated with original shareholders or workers.  Because shareholders were paid with remaining inventory glass at the closing of the factory we were able to track down collections.  Examples from Anne D. Potter collection (from O.J. Hamlin, shareholder) and Thomas Pollack (Clinton D. Comes-shareholder) collection were cross referenced to each other.  Pieces that matched were included as examples of Smethport Cut Glass products. (Additional photos of collections will be linked to this site!)