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William Kahlson Papers

Identifier: MS-0231

Scope and Contents

This small collection documents the life and career of William S. Kahlson, the General Electric (G.E.) Company Pitney Glass Works plant manager from 1931 to 1965. Of particular interest to glass manufacturing technology researchers are the photographs of G.E. light bulb production after installation of the Corning Glass Ribbon Machine. The photographs depict facilities and machinery, as well as men and women at work producing light bulbs. Post-1940 photographs depict an integrated workforce, with African American and white employees working side-by-side. Other materials include clippings about Kahlson, correspondence, a family history by Kahlson's son, Donald Kahlson, and photographs and letters from Kahlson's retirement. Finally, researchers should be aware that the 1932 New Pitney Glass Works opening program contains racial slurs and sexual innuendo.


  • Circa 1925-2001


Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English and Swedish.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for public research. Researchers must make an appointment to view the collection.

Conditions Governing Use

The Copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement. The user agrees to defend, indemnify, and hold harmless the Corning Museum of Glass and the Rakow Research Library against all claims, demands, costs and expenses incurred by copyright infringement or any other legal or regulatory cause of action arising from the use of Library materials.

Biographical / Historical

William Kahlson was born in Helsinki, Finland, in 1902. His family moved to Sweden, and Kahlson immigrated to the United States in 1920. He returned to Sweden to pursue a university education, earning a degree in chemical engineering from Chalmers University. He was also an amateur wrestler, and he won the Swedish middleweight wrestling championship in 1923.

He returned to the United States and began working as a physicist for General Electric (G.E.) Company in Niles, Ohio, in 1925. He married Ruth M. Edelberg in 1926, and the couple had twin sons. He then became the plant manager of the G.E. Pitney Glass Works in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1931. There he oversaw the implementation of G.E.’s first Corning Glass Ribbon Machine to produce light bulbs. Kahlson managed the plant until his retirement in 1965; he died in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1983.


0.5 Linear Feet (1 Hollinger box)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Received from Donald Kahlson and Glenn Kohnke in 2020.

Accession 2020.013

Processing Information

Processed by Colleen McFarland Rademaker in 2020.

William Kahlson Papers, Circa 1925-2001
A Guide to the Collection
Colleen McFarland Rademaker
December 8, 2020
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Rakow Research Library Manuscript Collection Repository

The Rakow Research Library
The Corning Museum of Glass
Five Museum Way
Corning NY 14830 USA