In the hunt for the products of the vanious glass companies, collectors frequently overlook the histories of the companies themselves. The histories of the larger natnonal glass companies and the smaller glass companies of the heartland of gloss in the Pennsylvania - Ohio area are fairly well documented. 0ccasionally we hear about some of the smaller companies that were spread about the country.
In the Los Angeles, CA, area there were several glass manufacturers, among them Long Beach Glass Co., Latchford Glass Company, Pacific Coast Glass Co., and McLaughlin Glass Co. The Latchford plant is still in operation, their field was mainly bottles. The information about the others has been rather dissppointing with the exception of McLaughlin where information is now coming to light.
The telephone directory colletion of the Los Angeles Public Library has provided a background on the McLaughlin Glass Co. anod the people and products. Recently stock certificates were discovered that added some additional information about the company. (Shown at end of article)
The Los Angeles City Directory listings cover the company from 1922 until 1930. The Los Angeles Business Directory lists the company from 1929 (the oldest on file) until 1936. The Los Angeles Telephone Directory lists McLaughlin from 1927 (oldest on file), until December 1934. Allowing for the inaccuracy of the Business Directory, it would appear that McLaughlin operated from 1922 until 1934. The Corporate Seal shows the company was incorporated June 1920. The company was capitalized for $30,000.
From the various directory listings, we have been able to identify some of the officers of he company. President, William J. McLaughlin; Secretary, Charles E. Norton, James S. Postgate, Mervyn R.W. Rathborne; Treasurer, Thomas H. Morgan, Mervyn R. W. Rathborne.
The plant was located at 1900 E 52nd Street, Los Angeles (Vernon), CA. Located on the southeast corner of 52nd and Alameda Street, the property is now a yard of the Pioneer-Flintcote Co., used for the storage of baled waste cardboard. The property is now fully paved over and nothing remains of the McLaughlin Buildings.
Without the help of catalogs, the listings of the products is difficult. Fortunately, many of the products were signed and can be traced to their origin. The Directory of advertisements also carried a fairly complete description of the product lines. Known products included insulators, made in several sizes and colors. Orange reamers, made in several colors and variations on a basic pattern. Apparently the same molds were reworked several times. Juice dispensers, with the signatures of both McLaughlin and C. A. Look. Five Gallon water bottles, made for the local water bottlers. Bottles, apparently made to order, signed bottles with the McL mark are rare, but samples are extant. Carboys, cylinders, fish globes, cookie jars and special shapes of glass. These are finds for the collector to be on the lookout for. Many undoubtedly are marked with either the McL or the McLaughlin name.
While the operation of the McLaughlin Glass Co. spanned the Depression Era, the manufacturer has loosely carried on. William J. McLaughlin, now in his eighties, is still making glass insulators. While I have not been able to personally contact Mr. McLaughlin, he is well known in the insulator collecting field for his commemorative insulators.
Just as new items keep turning up in the collecting of glass, new information keeps coming to light about each of the manufacturers of glass. Perhaps you will be fortunate and find a historical item to help broaden our knowledge of the makers. Perhaps you will find one of the catalogs.
At the November 2-3, 1974 Glass Show and Sale in Anaheim, CA, there will be a special showing of the products and history of the McLaughlin Glass Company. Including some of the orange juicers, bottles, juice dispensers and original stock certificates issued by the company. See you.