Owens, Michael Joseph
- Regina Lee Blaszczyk
Owens, Michael Joseph (01 January 1859–27 December 1923), inventor and glass manufacturer, was born in Mason County, West Virginia, the son of Irish immigrants John Owens, a coal miner, and Mary Chapman. Although impoverished and little-educated, Owens was blessed with a talent for tinkering that matured into a tremendous mechanical ability. After leaving school at the age of ten, Owens moved from his rural birthplace to Wheeling, West Virginia, a bustling manufacturing center on the National Road that boasted several glass factories. There he secured an apprenticeship with J. H. Hobbs, Brockunier and Company, one of the nation’s leading manufacturers of consumer glassware, and by age fifteen he had mastered the craft of glassblowing—a task that he would later revolutionize with his inventions....