Charles L. Casey was a prominent businessman in Cambridge, Ohio, known for his energy, business acumen, and his role in the development of the “Guernsey” earthenware, a variety of practical and sanitary cooking utensils. This biography provides a detailed account of his life, including his education, early career, and his achievements as the president and general manager of The Guernsey Earthenware Company. Casey’s contributions to the industrial and public life of Cambridge are also highlighted, demonstrating his status as a public-spirited citizen and influential figure in his community.
The present article deals with one of the most forceful, original, and energetic businessmen of Cambridge, Charles L. Casey, who is a native citizen, being born in Cambridge, Guernsey County, Ohio, on February 25, 1872. He is the son of John K. and Anna D. (Scott) Casey. John K. Casey was born in Lewistown, Pennsylvania; his wife was born in New Metamora, Ohio, and both are now residing in Cambridge. For some years prior to 1874, John K. Casey was engaged in the manufacture of carriages, but that year removed to Cumberland, Guernsey County, where he remained until 1885 and continued his manufacturing business there. In 1885, he was elected recorder of Guernsey County, and in that year the family returned to Cambridge to reside. He served two terms as county recorder, was recognized as a competent and accommodating public official, and now enjoys the respect of the people of Cambridge.
Charles L. Casey attended the public schools of Cumberland during the years of the family’s residence in that city, and on their return to Cambridge in 1885, he entered the public schools of the city, graduating from the Cambridge High School in the class of 1889. He then became a student at the University of Cincinnati, from which he graduated in 1892. Until 1900, he was engaged in various pursuits when he organized The Cambridge Art Pottery Company, becoming its president and manager. A plant was built at Cambridge, and the company began the manufacture of their wares, placing upon the market a high grade of pottery which found a market in the larger centers. For two years the company manufactured a line of color-glazed pottery exclusively, but after two years’ operations, they decided to include in their line an entirely new product in earthenware, and the result was the “Guernsey” earthenware, a variety of practical and sanitary cooking utensils, a product of which this company were the originators and the first manufacturers in the United States to introduce the “casserole” vessel for cooking and serving. This ware is light in weight, has a rich brown exterior, and a spotless white porcelain interior. For more than six years, it has stood the strongest possible tests and grows in favor constantly. Their line includes every kind of vessel that may be conceived for cooking and serving purposes, and the company is supplying all of the large silverware manufacturers with “Guernsey” earthenware for mounting in sterling, silver-plated, and other metal holders. The company’s line includes all the standard shapes and sizes, their casseroles being exceptionally fine.
The business under the direction and guidance of Mr. Casey has grown from its first inception until it now invades every part of the United States and some foreign countries. The reputation of “Guernsey” earthenware has become worldwide, and every day letters of inquiry come from faraway foreign commercial centers. At the Jamestown Exposition in 1907, the first national exhibition at which they were exhibitors, the company’s exhibit of art pottery and “Guernsey” earthenware products were awarded first prizes.
The company disposes of its wares directly through the retailers, maintaining showrooms and offices in Portland, Oregon; San Francisco, New York, and New Orleans, each in charge of a personal representative of the company. Two years ago they abandoned entirely the manufacture of art pottery and have since given their undivided attention to the rapidly growing demand for “Guernsey” earthenware.
In July 1909, the name of the company was changed from The Cambridge Art Pottery Company to The Guernsey Earthenware Company, Mr. Casey taking over practically all of the stock and continuing as president, general manager, and guiding genius. This plant is one of the busiest and most prosperous of the industries of Cambridge. It employs about one hundred and sixty persons throughout the year. Mr. Casey’s keen insight, never-tiring energy, and great business capacity have thus established and developed one of the most conspicuous business concerns in the Guernsey valley. He is a man of great energy and force, and whatever he gets behind must move. Not only is he prominent in the industrial life of the community, but he is greatly interested in whatever movement aims at the advancement of Cambridge. Mr. Casey is one of those public-spirited citizens who made possible the recently organized Cambridge Board of Trade and is one of its directors and vice-president of the organization. A man of optimistic views and action, giving his influence and support to all progressive movements, he occupies a high place in the estimation of the people.
In politics, Mr. Casey is a Republican, has always been active in the counsels of this party, and his name is generally found in the list of delegates to county, district, and state conventions. Politics is his recreation, and few men get more pleasure out of the game than does Mr. Casey. He is a member of the Cambridge Country Club, a man of broad generous views, and most companionable. No community could fail to be improved had it many citizens like Mr. Casey.