Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/599

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THE GLASS INDUSTRY.

phia and the eastern part of the State could not possibly compete with the Pittsburg district. The conditions are much less favorable in the matter of fuel and crude materials. Skilled labor, however, is more available, and artistic influences are more in the air. In the production of this finer ware the intellectual element is so much the larger ingredient that the cost of the bare material itself is of less moment. In consequence we find Philadelphia at the present time an important center in what may be called the æsthetic department of glass-making. We find here the manufacture of large quantities of decorated gas globes, together with such other wares as require the etching action of hydrofluoric acid, and of cut and engraved articles of various designs and for multiform uses. It was here that the process of making cameo glass was imported from England. This department of glass-making, it is true, has not proved commercially successful, but the manufacture of the cameo ware well illustrates the tendency toward variety of product which is shown by industrial centers depending for success upon nicety of workmanship rather than quantity of output.

These conditions have also given rise to the invention of machines and processes noted for their ingenuity and importance. The sand blast, by which glass is quickly and cheaply ground by exposure to a blast of air charged with sharp sand, is the invention of a Philadelphia gentleman, General B. F. Tilghman. So powerful is the abrading action that a plate of corundum may be drilled in this manner, and even the diamond is worn away. The blast has also been applied to the manufacture of files, and to the drilling of metal plates.

The industry also started up in a number of other districts in the eastern part of the State. The attempt made by Mr. George Lewis, an English gentleman, to establish glass works at Eaglesmere some time between 1803 and 1809 was scarcely less picturesque than the earlier efforts of Baron Steigel. In 1886 the ruins of the glass-house were still to be seen on an eminence overlooking the lake. An old frequenter of the place—for it has since become a well-known summer resort—was fortunate enough to have in his possession some excellent specimens of the early glass. But in the first decade of the century it must have been a lonely place, and we can not help wondering that any one should have had the temerity to put a glass-house there. It is true that the natural conditions were good. The sand at one end of the lake is beautifully white and pure, while the surrounding forests furnished an abundance of fuel and alkali. The glass-making seems to have been a technical success, and it is said that Mr. Lewis made considerable money during the War of 1812, but the difficulties of transportation were ultimately too