Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/457

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THE GLASS INDUSTRY.

the work to him. Once located, he is fairly permanent, and his dexterity is soon reproduced in the band of apprentices who gather around him.

With our present increasing output, the question of a market is no less important than the technical operations. The product is so fragile and so bulky that the market must needs be fairly accessible. Difficulties of transportation wrecked a number of the earlier enterprises. An observer of the first attempts at glass-making in Virginia reported that the industry would have done very well had there been any market for its wares.

These are the five elements which in the kaleidoscope of industrial progress have given us the series of pictures constituting the history of the glass industry. These pictures are the more intelligible when one has studied their elements separately.

The Jamestown venture in 1608 was evidently undertaken because of the abundance of timber. This gave the necessary supply of potash as well as of fuel. The early colonists in America suffered indeed from an embarrassment of riches in the way of forests. They needed no arbor-days. As a consequence, any enterprise which cleared the land for farming, and did it at a profit, commended itself to their thrift. So in the colonial records of the seventeenth century we find not infrequent mention of existing or projected glass works. The early Virginia enterprise was followed, in 1621, by a more extensive attempt. Subscriptions were opened in London for funds to build a second glass-house—the first having fallen into decay—to be devoted to the manufacture of beads for the Indian trade. Italian workmen, probably educated in the famous factories of Murano, were sent over to the colony to take part in the new enterprise. It was, however, brought to a tragic end by the Indian massacres of the following year, when the glass-house was destroyed. The natives seem to have been for the time quite blind to the allurements of glass beads, or they may have thought that they were paying too high a price for them. With this double failure glass-making in Virginia entirely ceased, and was not revived until many years after.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts was starting her first glass works. These were at Salem, and were built in 1638. In New England the town has ever been an active agent in all affairs concerning the public good. It took a lively and possibly at times a troublesome interest in these early manufactures. The establishment of glass works at Salem was held to be an event of public importance, and the town voted the projectors several acres of land, which passed into record as the Glass-House Fields. In 1641 it showed its further interest in the enterprise by granting a loan of thirty pounds. The works continued in operation for some time, turn-