Salem Glass Celebrates 90th Anniversary

Submitted by Salem Glass Company of Salem, Mass.

(l-r) Larry Miller, Mrs. Miller, and Jim Miller

As rapidly as the world is changing every day, there are still enduring successful companies in our community. This year, the Salem Glass Company celebrates its 90th year in business. The firm is a third generation, family-owned glazing contractor and manufacturer that considers itself 90 years young.

The company has been headquartered in Salem, Mass. for the entirety of its 90 years, though in 2002, a gleaming new 50,000sf modern facility was built to house both the administrative and manufacturing arms of the business. One of the many keys to success for Salem Glass has been the ability to apply its knowledge and expertise to every phase of its clients’ projects from pre-construction services, to fabrication, to installation.

Government Center MBTA. Barletta Engineering, general contractor; HDR Engineering, architect / Photo by Chris Iwerks,

The Salem Glass commitment to new technology is evident from the impressive equipment that lines the production floor. “Our hand fabrication has always been top notch,” said Jim Miller, executive vice president, “but adding our new automated CNC machinery has made it even better. It’s unmatched.” He added, “We know we constantly need to advance. Standing still and resting on our past successes will lead to failure. We try a lot of new techniques and technologies because it’s the only way we’ll remain the best. We are not afraid to invest in our people and in our equipment.”

Many years ago, the industry was driven by material costs. Early on, Salem Glass recognized that labor costs would become a primary concern and retaining well-trained employees would become essential. Employees are regularly trained in safety and their crafts. They are given the responsibility and authority to get their jobs done well. Experimental efficiencies abound from custom rack-dollies to unique, retrofitted vehicles that improve employee safety and minimize the risk of damage during the transport and handling of materials. “We are process driven. The less material handling, the better,” said Larry Miller, executive vice president. “When you give people what they want, when they want it, where they want it, you win customers for life.”

Umass Medical School Ambulatory Care Center; Consigli Construction, general contractor; Payetten, architect / Photo by UMass Medical School

Through three generations of family ownership, the company has proudly employed engineers, project managers, fabricators, installers, and office staff that also include fourth generation family members. Bringing their homegrown talent to bear on large projects has been the key to maintaining the high level of customer satisfaction required to thrive and grow for nearly a century. It does not happen by accident. It takes planning, perseverance, and ecstatic customers. According to Larry Miller, “We recognized long ago that it is vital for us to control every aspect of the process from the cradle to the grave. That’s the only way anyone can assure a client that the end result will be flawless. With total control, we can influence price, quality, and flexibility.”

Salem Glass has been involved in some of the most high-profile projects in the Northeast. As one of the largest union skin contractors in New England (and one of the only contractors with excellent vendor relationships dating back to the World War II era), customers have looked to Salem for help with complex projects like the Government Center MBTA, South Station Transportation Complex, The Koch Institute at MIT, and the breathtaking conoid glass wall of the Moakley United States Courthouse in Boston. Heading toward a second century, it’s crystal clear that the Salem Glass commitment to excellence is unbreakable.