Electro-Glass chief to speak at Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum
Electro-Glass Products is of one of Mt. Pleasant area's most successful glass companies yet most — even those familiar with the area's glass history — know little about the products, which the company creates.
On July 18, company president Jim Schmidt will present “Electro-Glass Products: Who We Are and What We Do.”
The talk will begin at 7 p.m. at the Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum located at 537 W. Main St. in the borough.
“This is a continuation of our exploration of the history of glass in the region. What they do at Electro-Glass is completely different from what the three factories here did, and it's a modern way to use glass,” museum board President Cassandra Vivian said.
Schmidt, a resident of Mt. Pleasant Township, was born in Latrobe and is a graduate of Greater Latrobe High School.
Other than a few engineering courses from Penn State University, high school was the highest education he received.
In the 1950s, he worked as a draftsman for a glass company and became interested in the various applications for glass and manufacturing process.
After serving two years in the U.S. Army with the 569th Engineers in the 1960s, Schmidt accepted a position with an electronics company in Maryland where he designed and fabricated glass products for their hermetic seal department.
From that point forward, glass became Schmidt's focus.
“It's an interesting product. It's a solid, but you can shape it, you can make it do different things. It's been a very gratifying life's work,” he said.
In 1973, Schmidt moved his family back to Pennsylvania and founded Electro-Glass Products in the former Mammoth School in Mt. Pleasant Township.
In 1980, the company purchased the former Hurst High School building in Norvelt and moved its growing operation into the auditorium and gymnasium areas.
Since then, the company has grown and has a total of four locations in the United, Mammoth and Norvelt areas.
Electro-Glass has expanded its product lines over the years to include glass preforms, tubing, lenses, powders, cullet and granulations.
The company's products have many special designs and applications for the medical industry, auto industry, defense applications, space exploration and underwater applications.
Today, Electro-Glass products are known throughout the world in its related industry for its quality and engineering abilities to design glass products that set the standards in advancing the use of technical glass.
Schmidt said he will talk about the various products the company makes as well as preparations, processes, inspections and testing necessary to create those products.
“I will bring samples of a lot of our products and pictures of many things and people will get to see what we do here in Norvelt,” he said.
Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum volunteer docent Jim Enos, 62, of Bear Rocks has worked in the glass industry all his life at various facilities all over Western Pennsylvania including the Lenox plant in Mt. Pleasant.
He said he is looking forward to Schmidt's talk.
“I know about Bryce and Lenox glass but I don't know much about the type of glass that Electro-Glass does,” Enos said. “I think its great that he is coming to speak to us.”
Linda Harkcom is a freelance writer.