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Bakewell, Pears & Co.
Benjamin Bakewell
American, 1844 - 1880
Benjamin Bakewell
Biography: Benjamin Bakewell, an Englishman, founded the firm that was the best known of all the Pittsburgh glass companies and is also recognized as the oldest glasshouse west of the Allegheny Mountains. The firm underwent nine name changes due to many associations with the Bakewell and Pears families. Bakewell’s first factory was located at the corner of Water and Grant streets in downtown Pittsburgh. Both the factory and warehouse were destroyed in the Great Fire of 1845, but the plant was rebuilt at the same site. In 1854, the factory was moved across the Monongahela River to Bingham Street, on Pittsburgh’s South Side. It operated there until 1882, when Oliver Brothers, wire manufacturers, purchased the site. Bakewell was known for the quality of its lead or “flint” glass, fine cut and engraved glass, window glass, bottles, lamps, chemical ware, and apothecary shop equipment. In its later years, the firm produced blown urns and jars, fish bowls, lanterns, smoke bells, and pressed glass patterns that bore names like Argus, Thistle, Prism, Rochelle, Icicle, and Saxon. The firm was one of the first to patent the pressing process and produced fine pressed wares—pressed furniture knobs and window panes—with the Bakewell mark.