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by Ken Fones-Wolf

  • ISBN: 0252073711
  • Category: History
  • Author: Ken Fones-Wolf
  • Subcategory: Americas
  • Other formats: docx mbr txt azw
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press; 1 edition (December 21, 2006)
  • Pages: 272 pages
  • FB2 size: 1507 kb
  • EPUB size: 1287 kb
  • Rating: 4.7
  • Votes: 103
Download Glass Towns: Industry, Labor, and Political Economy in Appalachia, 1890-1930s (Working Class in American History) fb2

Fones-Wolf attempts to chronicle the manner in which these two forces merged to transform the political economy in. .The bulk of Glass Towns is devoted to the glass manufacturing industry in West Virginia prior to 1940.

Fones-Wolf attempts to chronicle the manner in which these two forces merged to transform the political economy in one region of Central Appalachia. To better make his points, he presents three West Virginia glass towns as case studies: Moundsville, Clarksburg, and Fairmont. The first part of Glass Towns traces the history of glass manufacturing in the United States from the 1820s to 1890. On this, Fones-Wolf’s writing and organization emerges more excellently and seems to find its true purpose (he even creates a peculiar term, Appalachianist ).

Other books in the series.

In a deft combination of labor and business history, Glass Towns complicates these answers by examining the g One of the central questions facing scholars of Appalachia concerns how a region so rich in natural resources could end up a symbol of poverty. Typical culprits include absentee landowners, reactionary coal operators, stubborn mountaineers, and greedy politicians. Other books in the series. The Working Class in American History (1 - 10 of 94 books).

Ken Fones-Wolf's long awaited study on the glass industry in West .

Ken Fones-Wolf's long awaited study on the glass industry in West Virginia is a welcome corrective, offering readers a more complex and polychromatic, albeit still bleak, narrative of Appalachia's economic past. Ken Fones-Wolf has written a fine, provocative and iconoclastic book that merits most serious attention. It encourages a rethinking of glass-making on both sides of the Atlantic and a much needed reappraisal of the making of one of America's most interesting and perplexing regions. Ken Fones-Wolf is a professor of history at West Virginia University.

Industry, Labor, and Political Economy in Appalachia, 1890–1930s. University of Illinois Press, Urbana and Chicago. xxvii, 236 pp. Dwight B. Billings. Published online by Cambridge University Press: 17 July 2008. Send article to Kindle.

In a deft combination of labor and business history, Glass Towns complicates these answers by examining the glass industry’s potential to improve West Virginia’s political economy by establishing a base of value-added manufacturing to complement the state’s abundance o.

In a deft combination of labor and business history, Glass Towns complicates these answers by examining the glass industry’s potential to improve West Virginia’s political economy by establishing a base of value-added manufacturing to complement the state’s abundance of coal, oil, timber, and natural gas. Through case studies of glass production hubs in Clarksburg, Moundsville, and Fairmont (producing window, tableware, and bottle glass, respectively), Ken Fones-Wolf looks closely at the impact of industry on local populations and immigrant craftsmen.

The Working Class in American History. oceedings{Blethen2008KenFG, title {Ken FonesWolf. Glass Towns: Industry, Labor, and Political Economy in Appalachia, 1890–1930s. The Working Class in American History. Tyler Blethen}, year {2008} }.

The first of these three provides the dominant paradigm for Fones-Wolf's story and thereby gives his book far greater intellectual breadth and contemporary relevance than one would expect from a regional case study of a single industry.

Published by E. ET (October 2007). A reading of Glass Towns also provokes questions about its place in international debates about political economy. Ken Fones-Wolf, Glass Towns: Industry, Labor, and Political Economy in Appalachia, 1890-1930s. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2007. Here I was reminded of the classic work by Fernando Ortiz, Cuban Counterpoint: Tobacco and Sugar.

Industry, Labor, and Political Economy in Appalachia, 1890-1930s .

Glass Towns : Industry, Labor, and Political Economy in Appalachia, 1890-1930s. Part of the The Working Class in American History Series). One of the central questions facing scholars of Appalachia concerns how a region so rich in natural resources could end up a symbol of poverty.

The glass blowers faced a major challenge in the 1880s from a new union, the American Flint Glass Workers' Union of North America (AFGWU). Glass Towns: Industry, Labor and Political Economy in Appalachia, 1890-1930s. Urbana, Il. University of Illinois Press, 2007. Flint glass, commonly known as "crystal", was made in closed pots to protect the glass from impurities (unlike green glass), and generally the flint glass workforce was more highly skilled. The AFGWU formed in Pittsburgh in 1878, and within four short years had locals throughout West Virginia and Ohio and was spreading east.

One of the central questions facing scholars of Appalachia concerns how a region so rich in natural resources could end up a symbol of poverty.  Typical culprits include absentee landowners, reactionary coal operators, stubborn mountaineers, and greedy politicians. In a deft combination of labor and business history, Glass Towns complicates these answers by examining the glass industry’s potential to improve West Virginia’s political economy by establishing a base of value-added manufacturing to complement the state’s abundance of coal, oil, timber, and natural gas.

Through case studies of glass production hubs in Clarksburg, Moundsville, and Fairmont (producing window, tableware, and bottle glass, respectively), Ken Fones-Wolf looks closely at the impact of industry on local populations and immigrant craftsmen. He also examines patterns of global industrial restructuring, the ways workers reshaped workplace culture and political action, and employer strategies for responding to global competition, unreliable markets, and growing labor costs at the end of the nineteenth century.


Reviews about Glass Towns: Industry, Labor, and Political Economy in Appalachia, 1890-1930s (Working Class in American History) (5):
Thabel
In Glass Towns: Industry, Labor, and Political Economy in Appalachia, 1890-1930s, Ken Fones-Wolf is interested in the story of how two groups of capitalists, the glass manufacturing industry and entrepreneurs interested in natural resources, joined forces in the last decade of the nineteenth century to bring economic development to northern West Virginia. Each group was motivated by different reasons: the glass manufacturing industry hoped to lower production costs; the entrepreneurs hoped to tap the natural resources of northern West Virginia (coal, oil, natural gas) and incorporate the region into the northeastern manufacturing belt. Fones-Wolf attempts to chronicle the manner in which these two forces merged to transform the political economy in one region of Central Appalachia. To better make his points, he presents three West Virginia glass towns as case studies: Moundsville, Clarksburg, and Fairmont.

The first part of Glass Towns traces the history of glass manufacturing in the United States from the 1820s to 1890. Essentially, this is a history of the transformation of glassmaking from preindustrial craftsmanship through industrialization. Here, Fones-Wolf presents an abundance of union history framed within the context of the three types of glass manufacturing: flint glass (tableware), glass bottles (containers), and windows. The dual monopoly that existed between unions and capitalists prior to 1890, as well as the reasons for its breakdown during the “turbulent 1890s,” is of high interest to Fones-Wolf (11). There are lesser themes of importance: the lack of conflict between competing groups (unions, capitalists); the roles played (or not played) by women, children, immigrants, African-Americans, and “native sons” in the industry; and the familiar (almost family-like) bonds that existed between craftsmen and the factory-owners.

For the most part, Fones-Wolf uses his early chapters to stoke sufficient interest in his topic. His employment of such concepts as “dual monopoly,” “craftsman’s ethos,” “craft fraternity,” and “industrial restructuring” make for interesting reading. His chart usage to support his points is excellent; the numerous data tables are neat and concise. One exception to his initial effectiveness comes in his treatment of union history within the glass industry. While well-written and concise, its complexity (i.e., the relationship that existed among the unions as well as between unions and the capitalists) makes for confusing reading. His analysis of the transformation of the industry in the 1890s is also generally well-done, but so crowded with information that it requires reading, and re-reading, for complete understanding. Likewise, his explanation for why the glass industry shifted away from its traditional locations to new regions, primarily West Virginia, is equally daunting because of his tricky writing style.

The bulk of Glass Towns is devoted to the glass manufacturing industry in West Virginia prior to 1940. On this, Fones-Wolf’s writing and organization emerges more excellently and seems to find its true purpose (he even creates a peculiar term, “Appalachianist”). In one chapter, he offers an unsurpassed summary of previous scholarship on John Alexander Williams’ “development faith” and its relationship to West Virginia politics. Actually, in his discussion of absentee landowners and the post-Civil War political scene, he seems to lift rather directly from Ronald Lewis’ Transforming the Appalachian Countryside. While useful to some, this rehashing of a familiar narrative and familiar themes (internal colonialism, world systems theory) might seem unnecessary to those well-acquainted with Appalachian scholarship. Other complaints are minor quibbles. Some, for instance, might take issue with Fones-Wolf’s designation of “industrial regions” of West Virginia, which omit central, southern, and eastern parts of the state, or with his occasional exaggerations (“perhaps one-third of the state’s voters sympathized with the Confederacy,” 61). But for the most part, his concluding chapters on three new glass manufacturing centers in West Virginia – Moundsville, Clarksburg, and Fairmont – are excellent mini-histories that show how each became glass towns for different reasons and in different ways. Throughout his book, Fones-Wolf is sensitive to political developments – whether the initial post-Civil War Republican enthusiasts from northern West Virginia, the Democratic/Republican factions of the 1872-1895 period, the Elkins-led Republicans of the imperial/progressive era, or liberal New Deal Democrats.

Glass Towns is a well-written account of the history of the glass manufacturing industry in Central Appalachia prior to 1940. Actually, it is likely the authority on the glass industry in the United States. Furthermore, it is an excellent examination of the manner in which the glass industry has created and altered towns within Appalachia. Glass Towns is strikingly similar to Altina Waller’s Feud and Ronald Lewis’ Transforming the Appalachian Countryside, each of which details the manner in which the large-scale arrival of a particular industry, primarily timber or coal, transformed an Appalachian region in the late 1800s. Fones-Wolf’s use of Moundsville, Clarksburg, and Fairmont as case studies greatly enhances the worth of his book. Glass Towns is relatively brief (a mere 192 pages of narrative) but includes a very useful section of notes totaling approximately thirty pages. Glass Towns would benefit any enthusiast of Appalachian history and culture, or anyone interested in industrialization and its effects on a region.
Anicasalar
This is a enjoyable read, but I suggest that it does require a working knowledge of West Virginia history to make the many many pieces and themes fit together. Weaving political history into industrial and social history brings many themes into play. The selection of three towns as the focus makes the unwieldy mass of information a tad more managable.
I found I wanted to re-read some sections a second time to insure I grasped the asundry points and was prepared to read on. It is a dense book. It is a dense topic. I beleive it covers well a number of things addressed no where else. I hope it is a great point of departure for much future schaolrship and writing on the glass industry and the many allied stories from within West Virginia.
I say read it. Read it again - and enjoy where it takes you.
Spilberg
The condition of the book was the same as a new book without any marks on the pages. The description by the bookseller was accurate. I am pleased with the purchase.
Jerdodov
Great info!
VizoRRR
I really enjoyed this book. I had already completed my novel, The Glass Madonna, set in central WV before reading this book, but found it backed up much of what I'd learned from scouring dozens of other sources. This book is a thorough examination of the rise and fal of the glass industry in West Virginia with all it political implications.

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