Star Glass Works, New Albany, Indiana

Star Glass Works / W. C. DePauw’s American Plate Glass Works

New Albany, Indiana

(1869-1879) (1879-c.1893)

The Star Glass Works was located in New Albany, Indiana, along the Ohio River across from Louisville, Kentucky. (Not to be confused with Albany, Indiana, a town famed for tableware and colored glassware made by Model Flint Glass Company, 1893-1902.  Albany is located northeast of Indianapolis —  New Albany is in southern Indiana.)

From 1869 to January of 1870, it was operated by John B. Ford (dba John Ford & Sons), at which time New Albany businessman W.C. DePauw became part-owner, along with Ford and John B. Winstanley.  The Star Glass Works (also called “Star Glass Company”) was officially incorporated in February 1870.

Star’s main focus was the production of rolled plate glass, but the firm also made considerable quantities of hand-blown fruit jars, liquor flasks and other bottles. Star was later, approximately 1879, to become known as “DePauw’s American Plate Glass Works”. In January of 1879 Washington C. DePauw, formerly a part-owner, became sole owner, and the window glass/fruit jar production “division” of the firm was being called “W. C. Depauw Company”, at least as far as city directory business listings are concerned.

The entire complex, at it’s height of production, encompassed several acres of ground along the Ohio River between 10th and 13th Streets in New Albany, including the property/buildings, located slightly upriver, that had operated as New Albany Glass Works (1867- c.1872).

The New Albany Glass Works property was acquired by Depauw in 1874, and so became part of the Star Glass Works operation.   W. C. DePauw’s glass works operated until June 1, 1893, at which time the plant closed down production. Judging from brief mentions in newspaper articles, occasional re-starts were attempted as late as 1895 or 1896, but for all practical purposes, the Panic of 1893 led to the demise of the factory.

In the earlier years (likely up to around 1880), a bold five-pointed raised star served as their main identification mark/emblem, as shown.  This star marking is usually quite heavily embossed. Probably the most well-known bottle variant found with this star on the base is a quart-size “squat ale” type bottle embossed Cream Ale / A. Templeton / Louisville Ky. , made for brewer/bottler Alonzo Templeton in the very late 1860s or early 1870s. It is found in shades of amber and very dark olive green. At least two variants of that bottle exist; another one seen frequently was made by competing glass manufacturer Lorenz & Wightman, of Pittsburgh, and has a fancy “L & W” on the base.

It is possible (not proven) that the Clasped hands / Eagle flask listed in the McKearin flask chart as GXII-12 is a product of Star Glass Works.  There is a star on the bottom of that flask. (The star-marked base type is deemed “Type 14” in the landmark reference work on flasks – “American Bottles and Flasks and their Ancestry” by Helen McKearin and Kenneth Wilson, 1978).   If anyone has information that could help prove (or disprove) this idea, please contact me!  The GXII-12 type might have been made at another glass works with “Star” in the firm name, or possibly the base star is merely a decorative emblem.

There is also a well-known wax sealer style fruit jar with the wording “Star Glass Co. / New Albany Ind” across the front. Those jars are found in quart and half-gallon sizes, and in several colors including aqua (most common), green aqua, and (rarely) in green, medium blue and amber.

The later DePauw operation produced large quantities of “Mason” style (screw-cap) fruit jars, marked “MASON’S / PATENT / NOV 30TH / 1858” on the front,  some marked  “W. C. D.”  (in an arc, above a mold number) on the base. They are found in 3 sizes, and in a range of colors including aqua, yellow amber, olive amber and citron.


Star Glass Works, New Albany, IN. Base of A. Templeton, Louisville, KY ale bottle

Star Glass Works, New Albany, IN.  (Base of A. Templeton, Louisville, KY ale bottle, circa 1871)


Local author/historian Gerald O. Haffner, in his book The Glass Industry of New Albany (1983), writes, on page 44, that glass “telephone pole” insulators were produced by Star “after 1876″, apparently referring to contemporary newspaper articles. (I do not know exactly what articles he is referring to.   In April 1995 I personally wrote to Haffner and asked for clarification on the subject of possible insulator production at Star.  At that time he was in Florida with all his reference material in storage, and couldn’t answer my questions, other than to tell me that mention of insulators was made somewhere in local newspaper articles of the time period in question. I was not able to find that reference, although I may have missed it as I haven’t scrutinized every newspaper article from those years.)

In any case, at the present time, no actual insulators are confirmed to exist that have been shown to be products of this factory.  If any insulators were made by Star, (which is certainly not out of the question), they would presumably be unmarked, and, at present [2016], still unattributed / unidentified examples.

IMPORTANT NOTE: NONE of the glass electrical insulators with embossed 5-point “STAR” markings were manufactured here. They are of a somewhat later era (c. 1900-1915) and were made by (principally) three glass companies: Novelty Glass Company, Elmer, NJ; Sterling Glass Company, Elmer, New Jersey; and Harloe Insulator Company, Elmer, NJ & Hawley, Pennsylvania.    In addition, some of the “star” insulators might have been produced by Brookfield Glass Company.

Research done by N. R. Woodward, Ray Klingensmith, and Frank Swies over the last few years has shown that there cannot be any connection between Star Glass Works of New Albany, IN and the glass insulators marked with a star which were actually marketed in large quantities by General Electric Supply Company.

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