Fostoria Glass Company had its original glass factory built in Fostoria, Ohio, and began operations December 15, 1887. This site was chosen because natural gas at a recently opened field in the area had been offered at a very low cost to attract new industries. However, the field was so short-lived that in 1891, Fostoria moved to Moundsville, West Virginia, where there was an abundance of gas, coal, and the other needed materials close by.
During its first ten years, Fostoria made pressed ware, but early in the century Fostoria realized the importance of developing fine quality blown stemware, lamps, and other decorative accessory pieces. In 1924 the company was one of the first to start a program of national advertising, and the first to produce complete dinner services in crystal. Besides their regular line of blown, etched and pressed patterns they did custom work, such as providing glass with government seals for officials in Washington. All the presidents from Eisenhower through Reagan ordered glassware from them.
Members of the Dalzell family held strong management roles throughout the years of the company’s existence. Fostoria is rather unusual among the late nineteenth century American glass factories in that it never chose to join either of the large American glass combines, U.S. Glass or the National Glass Company. Fostoria competed with the Heisey, Cambridge, and Westmoreland companies during this time and there are noticeable similarities between several of Fostoria’s patterns with those of Heisey and Cambridge. Over 1150 patterns were produced over the course of the company’s production.
In 1965, Fostoria purchased Morgantown Glass Company, adding new design capabilities to their inventory. The lead crystal which had made Morgantown famous was losing interest among the buying public, and Fostoria was forced to discontinue most of their product lines in 1971 During the 1970s, foreign competition increased dramatically and Fostoria was eventually sold to the Lancaster Colony Corporation in 1983. Three years later and ninety-five years after its groundbreaking in Moundsville, the factory closed.