|Edward Dithridge's patent #33,428, October 8, 1861
, inventor and glass manufacturer, was born in Birmingham, England, August 22, 1804, and emigrated to the United States in 1812. Both his father and grandfather were skilled workmen in glass who found employment at Bakewell Page & Co. until the remaining members of the family joined the trio in Pittsburgh in 1815.1
Dithridge attended school until 1817 and then worked for one year at Doddridge & Co. glass works in Wellsburg, Ohio. He joined the Old Union Rolling Mill Co. in 1819 and three years later moved with his parents to New York City where he worked for nine years and invested in a cooperative glass company in Baltimore that went bankrupt.2
Edward and his father then returned to Pittsburgh and entered the glass works of Curling, Higby & Curling at the Fort Pitt Glass Works. Eventually Edward was admitted into the partnership of Curling, Robertson & Co., although the glass house business was dissolved in 1860. Dithridge leased the works a year later, and received a patent in 1861 for lamp chimney, oval in cross-section, which Dithridge & Co. manufactured.3 Dithridge manufactured a full line of lamp chimneys of every description, including Jewel Top, engraved and decorated chimneys. They made a wide variety of shades for all types of lamps - 14" hanging parlor lamps, 10" table lamps and all manner of opal and decorated shades. Their ca. 1888 catalog features many color plates of brightly decorated shades and parlor lamps with Bisque and Royal Worcester decoration.
1879 illustrated billhead - Dithridges Patent Oval Chimneys
"Dithridge & Company’s Fort Pitt Glass Works of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, also made silvered glass. Edward
Dithridge was issued three patents for silvered objects between 1866 and 1867. One of the patents was for an improved
process for making and silvering a gazing globe on stand. The Dithridge gazing globe was made in two separate pieces which
were cemented together after the parts were silvered.
Dithridge's X-RAYS Chimney
Patented September 8, 1896
The Dithridge catalog of 1874 lists, but does not illustrate, the many pieces of silvered glass manufactured by the company. In
addition to the gazing globes on stands, they also manufactured bouquet holders, curtain pins, mortar and pestles, goblets, spoon-holders, salts, celeries, six sizes of bowls, six sizes of salvers (cake stands), cigar holders,
match holders, card receivers, paperweights, five sizes of candlesticks, and lamp reflectors. Again, without
illustrations, it is impossible to attribute the majority of American silvered glass. Production of silvered glass at
Dithridge probably ended in the late 1870s."4
Dithridge & Company was assigned at least eight patents between October 8, 1861 and November 19, 1901. See the patent table below for details. Six of the eight were patented by the Dithridges themselves. All of these patents, except the last one, were relating to the manufacture of lamp chimneys - design, tooling, molds and decorating. Dithridge certainly had other non-lighting patents.
On his deathbed, Dithridge admonished his sons, "never to change the formula." Edward, Jr., owned a glass factory at Martins Ferry, Ohio, and moved his operations to New Brighton in 1887 where he continued to manufacture glass chimneys.5 Dithridge & Co. was absorbed into the Pittsburgh Lamp, Brass & Glass Company in 1903.
|Cover of Dithridge & Company Fort Pitt Glassworks Catalog
|Patents assigned to Dithridge & Company between October 8, 1861 - Nov. 19, 1901|
|[ additional patents will be added as they are discovered ]
|D = Design Patent, RE = Reissue of an earlier Patent|
|Some of Dithridge's non-lighting patents
To view any of the above patents, enter the number in the box below and select Query USPTO Database. This will take you to the specific patent images on the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office Database. Learn more about the USPTO here.
- 1Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Dithridge & Co.: Pittsburgh's Glass Industry
(14 March 2003) <http://184.108.40.206/locations/scitech/ptdl/pgh/dithridgeco.html>.
- 2 ibid.
- 3 ibid.
- 4 Wheaton Village, http://www.wheatonvillage.org/museumamericanglass/
- 5 Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, ibid.
- Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. Dithridge & Co.: Pittsburgh's Glass Industry
. 14 March 2003. <http://220.127.116.11/locations/scitech/ptdl/pgh/dithridgeco.html>.
- Lechner, Mildred and Ralph. The World of Salt Shakers. Paducah, Ky: Collector Books, 1992
- Wheaton Village, http://www.wheatonvillage.org/museumamericanglass/