Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/459

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THE GLASS INDUSTRY.

Massachusetts took the lead. About 1750 works were erected by German artisans at the village of Germantown in Braintree. They were intended for the manufacture of bottles. After a short run they were destroyed by fire, and were never rebuilt. Two years later the General Court attempted to encourage the industry by granting Isaac C. Winslow the sole privilege of making glass; but he seems not to have profited in his monopoly, for in 1787 the same exclusive privilege was granted to a Boston company. The monopoly covered fifteen years, and had attached to it a penalty of five hundred pounds for each infringement. By this time there was a sufficient home market to warrant somewhat extensive operations. Public sentiment was overwhelmingly in favor of American products. The company devoted itself to the manufacture of crown glass, and was one of the first makers of window glass in America. It started out rather badly by erecting a large and ill-adapted factory at the foot of Essex Street. This had afterward to be taken down and another structure put up in its place. Then came difficulties in obtaining workmen, so that the new industry did not get under way until the fall of 1792. In the following year the company was fortunate in securing the services of a skillful German glass-blower named Lindt, and under his management the enterprise was wonderfully successful. The Boston window glass was reported to be equal to the best imported glass, and possibly even superior. The shares of the company sold at a good price, and the industry enjoyed, or suffered, something very similar to a modern boom. By the end of the century the annual output of window glass amounted to seventy-six thousand dollars. But the confidence born of success finally brought the company into difficulty. They extended their operations in several directions, and made the dangerous experiment of substituting native fire clay for the imported. They were also embarrassed by a lack of suitable fuel. These difficulties, combined with subsequent bad management, finally led to failure, and the works were shut down.

In New York, glass-making was again undertaken in 1754. The factory was located in what is now Brooklyn; the venture being made by a Dutch gentleman of the name of Bamper. But the enterprise was of short life. A little later, Albany seems to have been the center of the glass industry. A Flemish family by the name of De Neufville were the chief spirits in these enterprises. It is uncertain how many glass-houses they established, but one at least seems to have been in operation in 1786, and to have had a very hard time of it. In 1788 Leonard de Neufville and his partners appealed to the State for aid in behalf of the Dowesborough glass-house. Their patience must have been severely taxed, however, for it was not until 1793 that their petition