S. McKee & Company / McKee Glass Company

S. McKee & Company

 Pittsburgh, PA (1834-1908)

McKee Glass Company (F. & J. McKee, McKee & Brother, McKee & Brothers, McKee-Jeannette Glass Company, McKee Glass Company)

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (c.1854-1888)

Jeannette, Pennsylvania (1888-1951)

The McKee name has long been associated with glassmaking in the Pittsburgh region. The various firms they were involved in, and the history and timelines are highly confusing and incomplete.  For much more detailed, well-researched info on McKee factories, products and marks, see Glasshouses & Glass Manufacturers of the Pittsburgh Region 1875-1910 by Jay W. Hawkins (published 2009).

Firm #1:  S. McKee and Company.  Samuel McKee (in 1834), and later along with brothers James and Thomas (starting a new glass plant in 1836) produced tremendous quantities of window glass as well as hollowware including fruit jars, bottles of every description, pressed telegraph and lightning rod insulators, with total glass production apparently extending over a period of over 70 years. They are well known among insulator collectors for their threadless insulator (CD 731 style) marked “S. McKEE & CO”.

CD 731 telegraph insulator, marked “S. McKee & CO.” circa 1865-1870. Photo courtesy of Rick Jones.

This was produced for telegraph lines during or immediately after the Civil War period, probably from 1865 and possibly into the very early 1870s. They went out of business in about 1908.  Markings on bottles and other containers include “S. McKee & CO” , “M’Kee”, “S. M’Kee”, S. McKee & Co. Pittsburg” and probably other minor variations.

Firm #2:  McKee Glass Company.  Frederick and James McKee (two of five sons of Thomas, co-owner of S. McKee & Company, discussed above) started this firm under the name  “F. & J. McKee” in 1854, after the breakup of a previous partnership “Bryce, McKee and CO” which had begun in 1850.  They produced cut glass, vials, bottles, pressed, and other types of glassware as well as window glass. The exact company name changed several times, becoming “McKee & Brothers” in 1867.  A wide variety of early pressed glass tableware patterns and novelties were made by this firm, especially throughout the 1860s, 1870s, 1880s and 1890s.

McKee & Brothers moved to Jeannette, PA in 1888, and in 1899 became part of the National Glass Company “combine”.  However, by 1903, McKee had apparently broken away from the combine, and about 1904 became known as  “McKee-Jeannette Glass Company”.  In 1908, the name was changed again to simply “McKee Glass Company”.  Under this name large quantities of high quality glassware was produced, including pressed pattern glass,  jadite (opaque green) , white milk glass, blackglass and other opaque ware.

“Glasbake” brand glass, introduced in 1917,  was McKee’s answer to “Pyrex” (the heat- and breakage-resistant cookware produced by Corning).     Window glass was also produced, at least during the early years at Jeannette.

McKee also made industrial glassware, as I have received information from Mark Ounan indicating they produced automotive glass headlight lenses in the c. 1917 period.  He owns a lens marked “Dodge Brothers / U. S. A. / McKee & Co. / Jeannette PA”. I presume this is the same company as “McKee Glass Company” .

After many years of production, the McKee Glass factory was acquired in 1951 to become the McKee Division of Thatcher Glass Company.

In 1961 Jeannette Glass Company bought the property and a variety of pressed glass tableware was manufactured there by Jeannette until it closed in 1983.

Note: for a much more thorough summary of the various McKee glass companies/partnerships/firms, and their products, including a comprehensive listing of EAPG (Early American Pattern Glass) patterns that have been attributed to them, I heartily recommend a great reference work recently published by Jay W. Hawkins, entitled “Glasshouses & Glass Manufacturers of the Pittsburgh Region 1795-1910“.



10 Responses to S. McKee & Company / McKee Glass Company

  1. J. Dinner says:

    Hello i found jadeite salt and pepper shakers and they are def old and in the same design as the McKee square salt and pepper shakers however they are not marked in the bottom. Did they make some pieces that weren’t marked?

    • David says:

      Hi, I’m not sure about this. I’m posting your query here, and if any collectors/readers have solid information they can pass along, please do. Thank you and take care,

  2. Susan Mcgill says:

    I have a question about an older piece of Mckee glass. This item can best be described as a large tankard type pitcher. After doing a lot of research, I have identified the pattern as Mckee Stars and Stripes. I was told that this item is very old and once contained some type of metal lid which is missing. In looking for other items in this pattern on the internet, I ave not seen any other pieces this large. Also what makes it kind of unique is that it is not clear, but pink, kind of a depression pink shade. Do you think this piece would be considered rather unusual? Thanks for any thoughts you might have.

  3. William Fisher says:

    I have a Ford Head light that I found buried in my farm field. It’s a 9″ pressed lens with the Ford script on it. When I dismantled the unit I also found “MCKEE G. Co.” cast into the rim of the lens, as well as some patent numbers that are unfortunately partially missing due to a chip in the glass.

  4. Vennie Govender says:

    Hi there
    My GlasBake fish shaped casserole dish is made in Brass, and heavy approx.5kgs,
    L45cm x W22 cm
    Strange as i cannot find further info on this product, stamped “GLASBAKE”, USA on top and at the bottom i think the number is 4141.

    South Africa

  5. margie says:

    I have a glass tray with M’Kee 274. Does the “M’Kee” date it? And which book do you recommend to look it up? I have not seen this large tray online. Also says “do not put in hot water” which makes me think it is not a pyrex type.
    Clearing out moms house and I have found may beautiful punch bowls. Does each company have markings? Some seem to have none.
    Thank Margie

    • David says:

      Margie, I don’t know anything about your glass tray. McKee did not mark some of their items. From the marking “Do not put in hot water”, it sounds like a relatively recent item, perhaps from the 1950s-1980s. Sorry I don’t have any better info for you. Readers??

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