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Courtesy of James E. Casto This view of the Huntington Tumbler factory dates from 1910.

Editor's note: This is the 89th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington landmarks.

HUNTINGTON - In the late 1890s, a group of local businessmen purchased land just west of Huntington and developed a new town, Central City. From its birth, the new community worked hard at attracting industry. One of the factories that thrived in Central City was the Huntington Tumbler Co.

Huntington Tumbler began as the West Virginia Flint Bottle Co., established in 1893 on 15th Street West between Madison and Jefferson avenues. It manufactured glass bottles and fruit jars. An article in the Huntington Advertiser of Aug. 20, 1895, reported that several glass blowers and molders had arrived from Martins Ferry and Wheeling to work at the new factory. An 1896 newspaper article said the factory had a capital stock of $100,000.

After a couple of owners, the factory was sold to Anton Zihlman in 1900. Zihlman had learned the glass industry in Germany and had come to Central City by way of Bellaire, Ohio, and Cumberland, Maryland.

The West Virginia Flint Bottle Co. was renamed Huntington Tumbler in 1904. In addition to tumblers, the company manufactured barware, stemware and cut glass. Much of the company's glassware was etched with intricate and fanciful designs.

The fires in the plant's glass furnaces were kept burning with huge quantities of coal from the Pearl Mining Co. at Dingess, West Virginia, shipped via the Norfolk & Western Railway. At its peak of production, Huntington Tumbler employed 150 workers. It wasn't unusual for a family to have several members working at the factory in various jobs.

In the 1920s, the company expanded its product line to include glass vases and even candlesticks. A 1928 advertisement in "China, Glass and "Lamps" magazine promoted the company's "New and Snappy Items" in "High Grade Lead Blown Table Glassware.

Like many other factories, Huntington Tumbler was a casualty of the Great Depression. It closed in 1932.


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