Lester D. Shockley donated the building, a former dwelling dating to the mid-nineteenth century. Dating from about 1850, the oldest part of the structure is supported by hand-hewn sills. An addition was completed at the turn of the century completing the building you see today. The Snow Hill Soroptomist Club provided a brick pier foundation. The Associated Builders and Contractors accepted the restoration of the building as a community service project.
Ernest Glaser, born in Germany, was a master craftsman who taught in New Jersey and moved to Snow Hill in his later years. His furniture was much sought after, and his Snow Hill workshop was featured in the June 1982 issue of Popular Mechanics. Just prior to his death, he donated everything in his woodworker shop that included over 3000 historic tools.
Ernest Glaser, born in 1907, was schooled in his native Germany under the European Guild system. Walking from city to city, studying and apprenticing, he became a master furniture maker. In 1928 he emigrated to North Plainsfield, NJ. Mr. Glaser received a degree in education from Rutgers University, and both he and his wife taught at North Plainsfield.
Mr. Glaser taught industrial arts, making one-of-a-kind signed furniture pieces on the side, all of museum quality. In 1964, the couple retired to Snow Hill, where he continued to fill a long list of custom orders. He possessed an ability to reproduce period pieces accurately and beautifully, using only a photograph. He lamented the passing of the day of the master craftsman, after seeing too many factory-made of pieces of cheaper materials. In 1979 he said: “All I hope now is that the Lord gives me a little more time so that I can finish up my lumber pile.” He was able to do almost that.
In 1993, a year before his death, Mr. Glaser donated all of his woodworking tools and equipment – in essence his shop – to Furnace Town with one requirement: that it be a working shop, not just a static collection. Today the shop is a tribute to Mr. Glaser’s faith in the project, showing and using early power tools as well as the hand tools of a master craftsman and a gentleman.