CLEON H. TONDEUR, whose portrait accompanies this sketch, is a manufacturer and flattener of glass, and a prominent and honored resident of Canastota. He was born in Belgium, February 5, 1847, and is a son of Joasin Tondeur, who was a glass-cutter and foreman of a large glass works in his native country. It was of his father that the subject of this sketch learned his trade. Joasin Tondeur was a most skilful workman, industrious and economical in his habits, and acquired a large property. At his death, which occurred in 1879, when he was eighty-nine years old, he left a comfortable estate. Six of his children are still living, two sons and three daughters in their native land, and the subject of this sketch. All of his children had excellent opportunities for securing a good education, and all but Cleon H. availed themselves of those opportunities to the fullest extent; and even he secured a good common-school education. His eldest sister is a physician. and midwife, as was her mother before her. The mother was killed in a railroad accident in Belgium, May 31, 1860, on her way to the college commencement at which this daughter was to graduate.
Cleon H. Tondeur left his home in Belgium when he was eighteen years old, going thence to Sunderland, England, and engaging there as flattener in the glass works. This was in 1865; and he remained there, engaged in the works for the same company, until 1880. On January 11,
1870, he was married to Mary Jane Cunningham, whose parents were both deceased. She has one brother and two sisters living, namely: William, of Canastota; Margaret, widow of Joseph Johnson, living in Dunkirk, Ind.; and Elizabeth, wife of John Grant, a glass-cutter of
Findlay, Ohio. In 1880 Mr. Tondeur came to the United States, leaving his wife and family in England until such time as he could find a home for them in this country. He reached LaSalle,
Ill., on the 28th of August of that year, and worked there as flattener until October 26, 1881, when he removed to Ithaca, N.Y., working there some few months. While in Ithaca, he invented a process of
annealing glass, for which he received letters patent May 16, 1882. Since that time he has taken out six new patents, including one upon an oil-burner and another upon a berry basket. Upon his several inventions he has received a fair return, though, like many another of his class, he has been compelled to spend large amounts in the defence of his rights to his inventions. A late decision in his favor passed by the Court of Appeals of New York City has, however, confirmed his rights, thus ending a long-continued litigation. Being a very skillful man and faithful to his employers, he has always been able to command good wages; and through this source, and from his patented articles, his income has been and is ample to meet all the necessities of life and to lay by for later years an abundant support.
On October 20, 1881, his wife and two children joined him at Durhamville, N.Y., two of their children having been buried in England. The two living are: Felix Cleon, a young man of twenty-two years, at home and in business with his father; and Barbara Honoree, a well-educated young lady of twenty, a practical housekeeper, and living at home. She also has a natural talent and taste for art, of which her work in this line gives abundant evidence. In politics Mr. Tondeur is a Republican and a stanch supporter of his party. He has filled various offices of trust, having served as Trustee of the village of Canastota for two years, and also as a member of the Board of Water Commissioners. He is now a member of the Excise Board of the town of Lenox. He and his family are members of the Catholic church. His present home, which is in striking contrast with neighboring houses because of its railings, colored glass in the windows, etc., he purchased in 1883; and it stands on one of the finest residence streets in the village. The house is very attractive on account of these features, and also because of the fine front and side porch, richly ornamented and enclosed above and below with a rich variety of colored, or cathedral, glass. Every resident of Canastota knows where Mr. Tondeur, the glass manufacturer, lives. His invention of a process for annealing and cooling glass as it comes from the furnace was a most valuable one to the business world; and this process, being quite elaborate as well as ingenious, proves that he is a man of great ability and ingenuity.
Mr. Tondeur owns a farm of twenty acres at Onionville land which is well adapted to the growing of onions and celery. This farm he purchased recently at one hundred and fifty dollars per acre. Besides this valuable piece of property, he owns stock in the Canastota Glass Works, and has glass works of his own at Freeville, Tompkins County, which he started in 1886. This is a six-blast furnace, making roof, rib, and cathedral glass, employing twenty-seven hands, and is doing a prosperous and increasing business. Thus it will be seen that Mr. Tondeur is successful, not only as an employee and business man, but also as an inventor--a combination of talent as rare as it is valuable. Both he and
his wife are excellent people, and stand high in the estimation of their friends and acquaintances.
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