John C. Reifschneider

Male 1889 - 1975  (86 years)

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  • Name John C. Reifschneider 
    Born 9 Feb 1889 
    Gender Male 
    Military Begining 26 Jul 1917 
    • US Army
    Military End 6 May 1919 
    Died 11 Jul 1975  Reno, Washoe, Nevada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried 11 Jul 1975  Reno, Washoe, Nevada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Masonic Memorial Gardens 
    • Bio from

      From the Nevada State Journal, Sunday, May 4, 1975, page 7:


      Two Careers Enough For One Man? Now He'll Be An Author

      Forty years is a long time to spend on one career. John C. "Jack" Reifschneider of Reno did just that with Jack's Auto Metal Body Shop in Reno. He opened it on North Virginia Street near the corner of 4th Street in 1929.

      He retired in 1968 and his business was considered the longest lived of its kind in Reno. But Reifschneider, now 86, had an earlier career before getting into the auto reconstruction enterprise. He was a glass blower.

      Reifschneider was a lad of 20 when he arrived in Beausejour, Manitoba, Canada, on a winter day in February and the temperature reading 47 degrees below zero. He spent three working seasons at the Manitoba Glass Factory.

      "I was asked if I wanted to be a mold boy," Reifschneider wrote in a rough draft of a proposed book he plans on the art and history of glass blowing. He is being helped by his wife of 55 years, Olga.

      "The superintendent soon learned he was talking to a union glass blower," Reifschneider continued. He said he was probably the youngest journeyman at the time.

      Although having worked as a mold boy for four years, Reifschneider only served four months of a five-year apprenticeship before receiving his union card.

      He'd signed as an apprentice with the American Bottle Company in his home town of Belleville, Illinois, in March of 1908, but in June of that year the company closed.

      "The officials released me and a friend and gave us journeymen cards with the Green Bottle Blowers Association for $25 each," he wrote, adding, "It was up to us to prove our skill in the trade."

      After working for the Illinois Glass Company in Alton, Illinois, he went to the Sydenham Glass Company, Limited, in Wallaceburg, Ontario, and then on to Beausejour in 1909 until the end of the season in June.

      He said it was the custom for glass factories to close during July and August in order to make necessary repairs and changes in the tank furnaces and factories.

      Upon his arrival at Beausejour, Reifschneider was told the original glass factory was operated by Polish glass blowers who used pots for mixing glass and the European method to make the free blown containers.

      It wasn't long until the factory was rebuilt to cater to the American method, and American glass blowers took jobs. Reifschneider recalled the types of containers made in the Manitoba Glass Factory as being amber and green beer and soda bottles.

      After he left in December of 1911, the factory was changed over to semi-automation in early 1912. The factory then produced clear flint bottles shaped like ten pins for a beverage firm, lids for Ball Brothers, clear medicine bottles and ink bottles.

      In the several times the Reifschneiders have visited Beausejour since an initial journey in 1954, they have obtained from friends there several of the beer bottles made then. They include an amber bottle McDonagh & Shea, Winnipeg; green bottle E. L. Drury, Winnipeg and green bottle Pelissier and Sons, Winnipeg.

      Reifschneider said the American method of glass blowing required a tank furnace constructed of fire-clay brick and fire clay, which could operate continuously for 10 months of the year, providing glass blowers, working in teams called "shops" with good quality working glass full time.

      The tank furnace in the Manitoba factory was built semi-circular of fire-clay brick imported from St Louis, Missouri. A bridge of fire clay was built lengthwise in the center of the tank, in the lower center of which was an opening or throat.

      The batch of raw material including mullet (scrap glass) was fed into the rear of the tank, the melted glass flowed through the throat into the front to form a pool of molten glass.

      The semi-circular side in front had openings called glory holes, from which the glass blowers gathered the glass on pipes.

      Efficient operation of the furnace required glass in weight (tonnage), removed by the glass blowers, be balanced with the amount in weight of batch fed into the rear of the furnace.

      Tamarack wood was burned through a flue to make the gas from which flames played around and over the open furnace. Crude oil heated the double glory hole unit which was separate and used in the final operation of making bottles.

      Each shop was a working unit of men and boys, working on two levels or benches with three journeymen glass blowers, one mold-boy, one glory hole boy, and one carrying in boy.

      The glass blower heated the end of the blow pipe cherry red, gathered a small amount of glass on it, rolled it on the stone on the upper level, blew into the pipe to form a stem, dipped it into water to cool slightly, gathered more glass and blew again, working it on the stone.

      It was then placed in a singed, two-way, air-cooled mold, which was clamped by the mold-boy on the lower level. The glass blower blew again to form the bottle to shape. The mold boy took it out of the mold and set it on a table.

      The glory hole boy placed it in a clamp the size of the bottle, ground off the rough glass on the neck, and placed the bottle in the double glory hole to heat the neck cherry red.

      It went to the gaffer sitting on a bench. He had a tool to finish the neck, using a mix of charcoal and powered resin. the glory-hole boy put the bottle on a paddle and carried it to a conveyor belt in the annealing oven (lehr), which was kept at 1,300 degrees.

      If the heat was too hot, the bottles stuck together and were ruined. If the oven was too cold, the annealing process failed. That was how the bottles were made, according to Reifschneider.

      While he has had two different careers, he also has had a lifetime hobby - photography. Reifschneider has his own pictures to peruse to remember the good old days of glass blowing, and to use in his book.

      Masonic Memorial Gardens
      Washoe County
      Nevada, USA
      Plot: West Mausoleum (East Entrance)
    Person ID I582  Bratt Family Tree
    Last Modified 17 Jul 2016 

    Family Olga A Wuertz,   b. 18 Mar 1901, Illinois Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 Jan 1978, San Mateo County, California Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 76 years) 
    Married 31 Jan 1920  Detroit, Michigan, USA Find all individuals with events at this location 
    +1. N. Reifschneider
    Last Modified 14 Jun 2016 
    Family ID F297  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart