Lawrence Gale “Si” Wright (American, 1904–1969) started his career by selling a variety of products, but over time he was drawn to glass. By 1937, he was dealing almost exclusively in glass, and one year later he opened the L. G. Wright Glass Company in New Martinsville, West Virginia, which specialized in pressed and blown glass. The firm is perhaps as well known for Si Wright’s entrepreneurial business model as it is for its glass.
Wright began as a glass reseller, purchasing “seconds” from manufacturers for resale, but he quickly recognized the business potential in the demand for antique pressed glass and glass inspired by old patterns, and he decided to sell reproductions. In producing glass, Wright initially purchased and used original glass molds, but soon—as is evidenced in this archive—he started to make his own molds inspired by old patterns. He then outsourced the glassmaking to other glass companies, including Fenton, Fostoria, Viking, Morgantown, and Mosser. This business model served Wright well for many decades before his company went out of business in the late 1990s.
The James Measell Collection of L. G. Wright materials is a trove of primary sources. Original business records dating from 1937 to 1955 include bank checks for the purchase of glass and molds, tax returns, sales records, and handwritten year-end glassware inventories. Wright’s glass lines are documented in price lists from the 1940s to the 1960s, and in a nearly complete collection of printed catalogs, catalog supplements, and price lists dating from 1968 to 1996. Original invoices on letterhead detail dozens of molds made for Wright by B. Machine & Mould in the 1950s and early 1960s.
Perhaps most intriguing are the many photographs, including hundreds of color photos of glassware, black-and-white and color photos of Wright and his family and friends, and interior and exterior shots of the Wright company’s building.
For more information on the Wright firm, see Tom Bredehoft, L. G. Wright Production Records, 1955–1996, Weston: West Virginia Museum of American Glass Ltd., 2011; West Virginia Museum of American Glass Ltd., L. G. Wright Glass, Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Pub., 2003; and James Measell and W. C. “Red” Roetteis, The L. G. Wright Glass Company, Marietta, Ohio: Glass Press Inc., 1997.
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