Also known as: also spelled Lock

Born: 1843, Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Died: December 2, 1913, Chelsea, Maine, United States

Nationality: American

Glassworking relatives:

Active: [at least 1865-1888]

Associated acts:

Brief biography

Oliver Locke was born to James S. and Abby S. Locke in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1843. His father was a silversmith. Locke may have first encountered lampworking when itinerant glassworker George Woodroffe married his sister Eliza in 1854. The couple lived with the family for a period of time in the 1860s, and it’s likely that Woodroffe taught Locke the trade.

Locke enlisted in the 60th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry as a private on July 16, 1864, during the American Civil War. The regiment didn’t see any action, and they were mustered out when their term of service ended on November 30, 1864.

He was a member of several troupes, including The Great Bohemian Troupe of Fancy Glass Blowers in the 1860s and Madam Nora’s Original Troupe of Glass Blowers, Workers, and Spinners, likely in the 1870s. An advertisement for Madam Nora’s troupe stated that Locke had “just returned from a tour around the entire globe.” In 1876 and 1877 he traveled with P. T. Barnum’s Greatest Show on Earth as one of the show’s “Bohemian Glass Blowers.” Locke founded his own troupe, Locke’s Original Bohemian Glass Blowers, Workers, and Spinners, in the 1880s.

Locke was admitted to the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, Eastern Branch, Togus in Maine on May 2, 1913, with dilated cardiomyopathy and chronic bronchitis. He died in the home on December 2, 1913, due to mitral insufficiency. He is buried in Togus National Cemetery.

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