Pittsburgh: 15 of 20
steel steamers for South American rivers, cold rolled shafting for
Antipodes, and ploughs for "all creation," and that send iron tanks into
the oil regions to hold the surplus of Oildom. There are hundreds of
other objects of interest directly relating to the iron industry that
must be passed with this mere mention.
Were Pittsburgh not the Iron City,
she certainly should be the Coal City, and did she deserve neither
appellation, assuredly she would be the Glass City.
Since shrewd old General James O'Hara
and Major Isaac Craig "fired up" Pittsburgh's first glass furnace n 1796,
this industry has found in that city such congenial soil that to-day
ninety glass furnaces silently swell the overhanging cloud of smoke.
In these furnaces, exposed to a heat that would appall a Shadrach,
stand eight hundred big, queer "pots," nestling in the clear,
bright heat, and holding a syrupy mass that is molten glass.
or "glass-houses," are bulbous pyramids of brick, so encompassed with
frame buildings as to their lower three-fourths as to closely resemble
from a distance great square inkstands.
Inwardly they glow with the fervor shown by their neighbors
the iron furnaces. Outwardly they are dusty with sand and lime, and
suggestive of a country grist-mill. The racket of wheels, however,
is conspicuous by its absence. Nor is there puff of escaping steam, or
hurrying tread of workmen; only the great upward roll of deep black smoke
from the mouth of the giant ink-bottle, and the glare of the furnace.
Internally this "glass-house" is almost as full of weird beauty as is
the steel-melters' domain. In and about the glass pots and furnaces of
Pittsburgh there labors an army of five thousand men and boys. These,
as to the former, are strong of muscle, and stronger of lung; as to the
latter, duly observant of the adage referring to throwing stones in glass
houses, and deft in the handling of fragile things. A glass-blower's
daily duties call for an amount of lung duty that would appall a Levy,
or disgust an Arbuckle. In this phase of glass-making, i.e., the
"blowing" of window and other glass, there has been little or no advance
in half a century. Every other avenue in the industry has been