Last Updated: Sep 19, 2016     Views: 237

I checked the book by Carl U. Fauster, Libbey glass since 1818: pictorial history & collector's guide. Toledo: Len Beach Press, 1979, and did not find Racinger listed. Fauster's book provides a great deal of information about Libbey Glass that may be of interest to you. 

Martha Louise Swan's book, American Cut & Engraved Glass: The Brilliant Period in Historical Perspective. Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 1989, includes a chapter on "Libbey Cut Glass," pp. 178-201. She discusses several designers and management employees, but did not mention Racinger or other cutters. She states, "After 150 years of glassmaking, Libbey employed in 1968 over two thousand workers and had annual sales of $40 million." p. 182. 

Rakow Research Library's resources for finding information about glass factory workers are limited. Factory workers, including glass cutters, are difficult to trace; they are recorded infrequently in published literature. 

At this time, the Rakow Research Library’s archives include few glass company employee records. We are unable to provide individualized archival searching. You are welcome to visit the library to use our resources. 

In general, information about individuals is difficult to find because glass factory personnel records are confidential. Many factories either discard older records or do not make them accessible to the public. 

I have attached a brief bibliography of other sources about Libbey Glass that are available in our library. It also lists two resources that have archival materials for Libbey Glass -- their staff may be able to help you. At least, you can gain a better understanding of how glass cutters in America lived and worked in Racinger's time. You may wish to contact the Toledo Museum of Art library for additional records: 
Online catalog: 

The American Cut Glass Association may be helpful: 

Generally, to investigate glass workers, these sources may be useful: 
- city directories 
- local historical society records 
- public libraries 
- glass collectors clubs (specializing in a particular factory or type of glass). See Maloneys Online Antiques & Collectibles Resource Directory for topical listings: 
- NARA - US National Archives and Records Administration: 
- genealogical departments at local universities 
- local genealogical clubs 
- state and county records 

Some of our library's materials are available via Interlibrary Loan (ILL). Please see the library’s website for more information about ILL: 

I hope these clues are useful. Please let me know if I can provide additional information. 


Comments (4)

  1. I'll be happy to give you background information on Joseph W. Racinger. This extraordinary man was my grandfather. Please send me your email address.
    by JAM on Dec 27, 2012.
  2. I spent time in your grandfather's workshop on Virginia Ave in Rochester watching him etch glass. He and Betty were both good friends of my parents. I have 2 nice pieces of his work in addition to many glasses he made for my family. Please contact me.
    by Dan C. on Mar 27, 2017.
  3. I just found an extraordinary decanter that is signed by J W Racinger so was trying to find out more about where it was done. I would love to find out more about him & from what era this piece began.
    by Patty W on Mar 09, 2020.
  4. Hello! You can submit a question about a specific glass object to the Museum's Curatorial Department at In the meantime, Rakow Research Library staff are working to update this answer about J. W. Racinger's life and work. Stay tuned!
    by Public Services Team, Rakow Research Library on Mar 09, 2020.

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