Ishwar Das Varshnei (died 1948) was the father of the glass industry in India. He was born in Aligarh and was the son of Lala Jagannath Prasad and grandson of Lala Gabdamal, famous cloth merchants in Sikandra Rao. He received the S. B. in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1906 and he was the first Indian student to graduate from MIT.
Known for his dreams and vision of a modern India, he started the first glass factory by the name of Paisa Fund Glass Works in Talegaon near Poona with the help of Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Later he established the first flat glass factory in Bahjoi by the name of United Provinces Glass Works, incorporated as a limited liability company in 1916. He was assisted by his wife Vidya Devi Varshnei in times of struggle. An able scholar and industrialist, he was instrumental in starting country level organizations like AIGMF (All India Glass Manufacturers' Federation), CGCRI (Central Glass and Ceramic Research Institute), and IDTI (Ishwar Das Technical Institute).He died in 1948 and was survived by three of his four sons. The eldest, Bishambar Dayal Varshnei , who died in 1939, is credited with the introduction of sheet glass manufacturing (with the Fourcault process) to Continental Asia (ex-Japan) in the 1920s.The I. D. Varshnei Memorial Lecture of the Indian Ceramic Society is given in his honor.
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