Biographical / Historical
The son of a glass cutter, John Hoare was born in Cork, Ireland in 1822. He immigrated with his family to the United States in 1853 and in 1855 he purchased and became proprietor of the glass cutting shop of the Brooklyn Flint Glass Company. He named the business Hoare & Dailey. The Houghtons bought the bankrupt Brooklyn Flint Glass Company in 1864 and persuaded Hoare to open a branch shop in Corning, NY after the company relocated there in 1868. Hoare moved his cutting shop into the Corning Glass Works factory and appointed Thomas G. Hawkes as foreman of the shop in 1870. Hawkes would later go on to establish the T.G. Hawkes & Co. cut glass firm in 1880. By 1875, "Dailey" was dropped from the company name and it became known as John Hoare, Rich Cut Glassware. Hoare’s firm quickly garnered interest both locally and nationally. An exhibition was arranged in Corning displaying Hoare glass, and President Ulysses S. Grant was reported to order items for the White House in the early 1870s.
In the 1870s and 1880s, Hoare's firm was one of the largest cut glass companies in the United States, employing up to three hundred people. Products included inkstands, vases, preserve dishes, butter dishes, engraved castor bottles, bar bottles, and much more. Customers included jewelry and department stores from Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago, St. Louis, and Helena, MT. John Hoare sold the business in 1887 to his son James, and George Abbott, a son-in-law of Amory Houghton. They changed the name of the firm to J. Hoare & Company. Also in 1887, the company successfully produced an electric light radiator made of flint glass, a product that helped diffuse the glare of an ordinary electric light bulb. In 1893, J. Hoare & Company entered a punch bowl into the Chicago World’s Fair; it took two months to make and weighed seventy pounds. The bowl won several medals for its quality and artistic design.
John Hoare was a leader in the glass cutting industry, even after a fire in October 1876 damaged his cutting shop, forcing him to move his shop temporarily until repairs were made. In the 1880s, labor troubles and strikes plagued American workers. Hoare was able to gain respect from his workers and ensure they did not quit. He once declared, “You know I shall not ask you to do any work I myself would not do.” Hoare died in 1896.
James Hoare expanded his father’s business, opening auxiliary shops in Corning and Wellsboro, PA. By 1915, however, the market for cut glass was decreasing, and there were only fifty workers employed in the shop. The onset of World War I also contributed to a cut glass business decline. J. Hoare and Co. closed in 1920.
Hakes, Harlo. Landmarks of Steuben County, New York. Syracuse, NY: D. Mason & Company, 1896
Sinclaire, Estelle F. and Jane Shadel Spillman. The Complete Cut & Engraved Glass of Corning. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1997.