Visit to Lyndeboro Glass Works


Publication: The New-Hampshire Statesman

Concord, NH, United States
vol. 45, no. 2409, p. 1, col. 4-5

From the Amherst Cabinet.



It was our good fortune to find ourselves, one pleasant afternoon, a member of an excursion party, from Milford, to the Quartz Hills of Lyndeborough. Passing through the thriving village of East Wilton, up the Forest road, our eyes feasted upon a succession of beautiful mountain scenes which, with the earth clad in her richest verdure, is sufficiently often the subject of tourists' pens, without now adding to the rapsody [sic] rhapsody so common in mid-summer; and it must suffice to say that at 3 o'clock we were landed at the very mouths of the glowing furnaces, distant 3 miles from Wilton. On our arrival we found everything in full blast. The broad platform around the radiant ovens was covered with busy workmen, who seemed to take no little pride in their airy and commodious works. Our limits will not, or course, permit us to speak particularly of all there is to be seen in these enclosures. During the brief hour we were there we asked not a few questions, and found the gentlemanly superintendent ready and willing, not only to answer all, but to exert himself to make our visit both interesting and instructive. The workmen also complimented the ladies of the party with glass ladles, globes &c., of different colors, made in their presence.

The silex quartz is first taken from the quarry in a condition much like granite, but white and clear, placed in a kiln to soften, and then ground to flour. It is then placed in the six great melting pots, with the other ingredients, differing according to the quality of the glass desired, and well mixed together. The fires are then pushed vigorously, bringing the pots and their surroundings to a white heat, when the operation is judged by the workmen dipping iron rods into the mixture and examining the appearance of the drops withdrawn. If the right temperature for working, the workman takes his pipe or blowing tube, made of iron, from four to five feet in length, with a bore one fourth of an inch to an inch in diameter, and with one end at a red heat, passes it into the melted matter and gathers up the quantity he requires, which afterwards holds the article in the manipulations to which he subjects it, and is at the same time the air tube through which the breath is forced to expand the vessel. The workman then rolls the soft glass over and over on a polished iron slab, in order to give it a perfectly circular form, during which time it is made to swell by gentle blowing. The fine ornamental bottles and jars are shaped more completely by blowing them in moulds of brass or iron, which are made in two parts hinged together so that they may be opened and shut with the foot. The top or disk is then knocked off, when they are taken with spring tongs, in the hands of boys, to the annealing oven, there to remain from 24 to 48 hours.

The construction of the great melting pots must be an object of especial solicitude, and the placing of a new one in the furnace which in operation, which occurred in our presence, is a task of no little difficulty and danger.

The number of men and boys employed at the establishment is seventy - seventeen being experienced blowers from the glass works of Philadelphia and Brooklyn. They turn out from 6000 to 7000 bottles and jars per day, varying in size from the largest demijohns to the smallest ink bottles - about one-fourth being colored work. Daily expenses of the establishment, $250.

In June, of last year, the Legislature incorporated this company with a capital of $200,000, divided into 2000 shares of $100 each, but no effort was made to sell stock, nor a blow struck toward erecting their extensive works, till October, yet on the 1st of May they had so far completed the eleven buildings now standing on their twelve acres of land, as to commence the manufacture of glass ware. They have now in operation the largest and best arranged glass works this side of Philadelphia, and are turning out $500 worth per day of better glass than can be found elsewhere in the country.

The officers of the corporation are: President - Luther Roby, Concord, (a graduate of the Cabinet office); Directors - John F. Holt, George F. Spaulding, Lyndeborough; Henry M. Hooke, Ambrose Lawrence, Lowell. General Superintendent of the works - Charles W. Foster.

It would seem to be eminently fitting that New-Hampshire should stand foremost in the manufacture of glass ware, as the first glass factory in the United States was built in Temple, in the year 1780. It is said to have been located there on account of the cheapness of fuel and labor. The building, of which the ruins are still to be seen, was 65 feet square, and the blowers, 32 in number, were German deserters from the British army. In the winter of 1871 the works took fire and were destroyed. Some of the manufactured articles, of a greenish color, are still preserved. To encourage the re-building of the works, the State of New-Hampshire, on petition of Robert Hewes, authorized him, by act of the General Court of March 30th, 1781, to issue lottery tickets, and by their sale raise the required capital. The attempt, however, was unsuccessful.

A. A. R.


Keywords:Lyndeboro Glass Company
Researcher notes: 
Supplemental information: 
Researcher:Bob Stahr
Date completed:October 16, 2008 by: David Wiecek;