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Catalog Number 2000.001.0016
Object Name Print, Photographic
Description Sepia tone studio full view photo of a man leaning against a pillar. His bowler hat is on the pillar along with his right hand. He is dressed in a three piece dark suit, white shirt and four-hand tie.
Number of images 2
Date ca 1877
Title Totsch, John Jr.
Collection Glass Industry - Totsch, John Jr.
Accession number 2000.001.
People Totsch, John Jr.
Notes 1832-1943 Glassblower, Union Official

Parents: Matthew and Maria - see 1860 St. Clair County Census Index, p 65
Family emigrated from Prussia ca 1850, a shoemaker in Germany.

1877 Belleville City Street Directory - West Belleville (more)
Mathias, res NS West between Main and 1st North ALSO Peter, Laborer

John Totsch, VP Glass Workers Union 9509. 1903 Directory????

Occupation: Glass Blower, Port Glass, Lebanon Ave. at West Boulevard
from 1902-1910

1891-2 Belleville City Directory: John Jr., glassgatherer, AB (Anheuser-Busch)
Glass, bds 1706 West First St., also Phillip " "

1896-7 Belleville City Directory: John Jr., glassblower, res 19 S. Iron St.

Daily Advocate newspaper 11/1/02: VP of Glass Workers. Published sworn statement to Mayor FJ Kern while acting as arbitrator in labor dispute between union and A. Busch -- recommended and urged wage reductions.

Advocate newspaper 5/29/04: Delegate to glass house employees convention.

Contact: Sandra Fenske, descendent

EXHIBIT MATERIAL: Glasshouse Worker/Laborer/Union Organizer

John Totsch, a laborer in various capacities for 40 years felt very lucky when he found employment at Belleville's Glass Works in 1891 as a glass gatherer. Five years later, he achieved the prideful distinction of "Glassblower". In 1903 he was elected Vice President of Glassworkers Union 9509. Trouble loomed. Adolphus Busch was building a "state of the art" bottleworks at St. Louis, MO. It was to be operating in time for the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904. Glassblowers could not conceive of a machine that would replace mouth blown fruit jars and beer and soda bottles. The bottle works were completed in St. Louis and Busch closed his plants at Belleville and Streater, IL in 1910. Many glass house workers went to glass plants in Indiana for employment but Totsch remained in Belleville. He worked as a porter, a stoker -- whatever he could find. He found a niche as a union organizer and was instrumental in the formation of Federal Labor Union #7087, a union that covered all outside laborers. He was elected President in 1912 and again in 1915. Note: Building and common laborers were members of the already established Labor Local 459 which is in existence to this day.