Biography of Matthias R. Pepper
Armstrong County, PA Biographies

MATTHIAS R. PEPPER was born in Keel, Staffordshire, England, March 29, 1846, and is a son of William and Elizabeth (Edge) Pepper. He lived with his parents in Keel and vicinity until he was about twelve years of age, when his father moved to Birmingham, where he was employed for a number of years in running a stationary engine for a plate glass works.

When about thirteen years of age, M. R. Pepper entered the Birmingham plate glass works, where he was employed as a bench boy in the polishing department, where, by working industriously and step by step, he learned the manufacturing of plate glass in all of its details. At the age of twenty one he was foreman in the polishing department.

On Sept. 30, 1866, he married Esther Cooper, daughter of John and Priscilla (Gosling) Cooper. They have five children, two sons and three daughters: Jennie, who is married to Chas. Kier of Creighton, Allegheny county, Pa., John A., Matthias R., Jr., Esther P. and Lillian A.

In 1870 there was great talk in England of a large glass works being built by Captain J. B. Ford, of Indiana, who is the founder of the first plate glass works in America. M. R. Pepper's father in law, John Cooper, determined to come out as a glass grinder. Captain J. B. Ford then had a grinder, but where could he get a man that understood smoothing, polishing and the finishing of glass in all of its details? He was then told of M. R. Pepper, and at the wish of Captain J. B. Ford, Mr. Pepper came to New Albany, Indiana, where he acted for Mr. Ford as superintendent. In 1883 he went to the Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co., Creighton, Pa., where he acted for Mr. Ford as foreman polisher for two years and then became superintendent of the works, which position he held three years. In 1888 he was offered and accepted for the same company the general superintendency of the Ford city plate glass plant, which is the largest glass works in the world, and removed to that place, where he has remained ever since. He is the first practical plateglass worker in the United States. He polished the first plate glass that was made in this country, and it was ground by his father in law, John Cooper. Matthias R. Pepper is a republican in politics. He is a member of the American Legion of Honor, No. 932, and Kittanning Lodge, No. 244, Free and Accepted Masons. Since being in the United States he has twice visited the land of his nativity.

Biographical and Historical Cyclopedia
of Indiana and Armstrong Counties, Pennsylvania
Samuel T. Wiley, Historian & Editor
John M. Greshan & Co.
Philadelphia, 1891

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