McKee Glass Co.

The McKee Glass Company was established in 1853 under the name McKee and Brothers Glass Works. McKee began its operation as a large business and mantained that status thoughout the Depression Era. After 1888, because of rising fuel concerns, the company relocated to Westmoreland County, and settled in a small town which they created and named Jeannette, after Mrs. Mckee.

Jeannette turned out to be the perfect location for glass manufacturers due the rich coal supplies. By 1929 Jeannette had expanded to a population of 18,000 and the town now contained eight different glass companies. McKee was slow to automate and much of the glassware made through the Depression Era was produced by hand. Colored kitchenware and dinnerware lines were a large part of the production by the mid 1920's. The Glasbake line was the primary kitchenware issue. Rock Crystal Flower was the leading tableware line in both crystal and colors. Opaque green, blue and yellow colored kitchenware was made for refrigerator storage and kitchen use. Opaque colors were also used to express the detail of the Laurel pattern. Specialty items such as Sunkist reamers, Tom & Jerry sets, Art Deco vases, lamps, and children's dishes were also important products.

Due to the mass production and marketing of machine made glassware during the Depression, Mckee began to lose business to its competitors. As a result, Mckee began to look to the future and all but abandoned hand-made glassware in favor of machine made glass. In the 1940s Mckee was purchased by the Thatcher Glass Company and was renamed the Mckee Division of Thatcher Glass. In 1961 it was again sold, this time to Jeannette Glass Company. At this time Jeannette took over the company for their own use and the Mckee Glass Company ended production of its own glassware.


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