A major fire occurred on the evening of October 10, 1901 at the Central Glass Works in East Wheeling. The fire started around 6:45pm in the etching department and spread rapidly, destroying a large part of the factory within a couple hours. The blaze caused an estimated $50,000 in damage, though the company had $39,250 in insurance coverage. The fire left 350-400 employees out of work until rebuilding could occur.
The Central Glass Company was formed in Wheeling in 1863 by a group of dissatisfied workers who pooled together $5,000 to start their own glass works in an old pork packing plant. In 1888, fire destroyed the factory but it was immediately rebuilt and became one of the largest glass producers in the U.S., shipping train car loads worldwide. Though initially resistant, Central Glass joined the U.S. Glass Company combine in 1891 as "Factory O", but closed from 1893-1895. In 1895, former employees purchased the empty plant and reopened it as Central Glass Works, but it took until 1898 to resume production. Fire again destroyed the factory in 1901, but it was rebuilt a second time. Due to foreign competition, Central Glass closed from 1904-1919, when it purchased the Chippendale molds from another company. By 1926 it was the only remaining glass factory in Wheeling. It closed briefly in the 1930s due to prohibition and the depression, but reopened when prohibition ended, only to close for good in 1939 due to high levels of foreign competition, selling its molds to Imperial Glass Company. (https://tinyurl.com/ms3zpwkt) (https://tinyurl.com/256zjfkp) (https://tinyurl.com/azt365sb)