Museum the New Llano Colony

Peter Glavincheff

Birth: Born in Ohrid, Bulgary.

He traveled to the U.S. from Glasgow on the S.S. Astoria, arriving at Ellis Island in New York on Sept. 28, 1907.

Family Information: Met Marie Popoff at a Bulgarian newspaper company in Granite City, Illinois and they soon married.

Father of Josephine Glavincheff (Nash).

Description: He held a Bachelor's degree, a Master's degree and lacked but a little of completing his Ph.D. degree.  

Pre-Colony History: He moved to Dubuque, Iowa shortly after his marriage and earned a 4-year degree in Chemistry, only to later discover that the college was not accredited, so he moved the entire family to Iowa City, repeated all of his studies and finally earned an accredited degree in Chemistry.

He became a U.S. citizen on May 5, 1921 at the Iowa City, Iowa courthouse and spoke at the naturalization ceremony on "What Citizenship Means to Me."

After graduating, he took a job as a chemistry professor at Mount Morris College from 1926 to 1932. After the college was liquidated in 1932 (due to the Great Depression) he moved to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin where he taught at the high school.  

Home in Colony: When they first arrived, the Glavincheff's lived on one of the farms outside the main colony and grew peanuts. They moved into the colony proper in 1934 so he could be nearer the school and growing chemical business.  

Job in Colony: He ran the colony laboratory where he created an assortment of useful products, including a bed-bug deterrent, very fine paint of various colors (made from the soils of Llano), food flavorings, nail polish and more. He also taught in the colony high school and in 1935 ran the commissary.

He and fellow chemist, Mr. Richards (of Ohio), often took the school boys out into the surrounding woods to gather and identify the common medicinal herbs in the neighborhood. Jimson weed, for instance could be sold at anywhere from 2 to 8 cents per pound, so he thought an herb business where the colony bought herbs from neighbors could be created. As he saw it, the herbs could be purchased not with cash, but with credit slips for colony goods or services.

Another proposal of Comrade Glavincheff was to have a truck go out into the surrounding communities with spray equipment and supplies with which they could spray farm animals and property with pesticides. He thought farmers might pay for these services with goods which would be delivered to the colony on a regular basis. He had already entered into such an arrangement with Mr. Ford at his dairy located on the hill opposite the farm -- who delivered a quart of milk to the hotel every day.  

Other Info:  

Post-Colony History: In 1935, the entire Glavincheff / Nash family left the colony and Peter opened a laboratory in Melrose Park, Illinois named Vitalene Dental Manufacturing Command where he gained national fame through his work on plastic dental plates and fillings during the 40's and 50's.

The Vitalene lab was one of the first to work on developing the better acrylic-based plastics for dental materials that we use today. Glavincheff also developed a dental re-liner for false teeth called Brimm's and was one of the first to improve their appearance by coloring the gums a natural-looking flesh color (prior to that time, gums on false teeth were a dark red rubbery material). Some of the organic bases he developed for his dental products are still used in many household items to this day.

According to the family, Glavincheff was approached in the 1940's by the FBI to work on the Manhattan Project, though he politely declined.  


Sources: Family members: Jean Luett, Jennifer Vital; "Iowa City Press Citizen": May 5, 1921; "Llano Colonist": July 1, 1933, Sept. 9, 1933, Sept 23, 1933,  Sept 30, 1933, Nov 11, 1933, Dec 2, 1933; Apr 28, 1934, Feb 23, 1935, Jun 22, 1935  


Sketch of Peter Glavincheff by Florence Anderson

Advertisement from the "Llano Colonist." Expand Image

Peter and Marie Glavincheff, Melrose Park, Ill. around 1967

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