The New Hampshire Glass Factory was in existence the longest of any glass factory in Keene from 1814 to the mid-1850s. It was located on Washington street, and as you might expect, produced primarily an rich aqua window glass. Other products that were produced included free blown wares and bottles like the ones below. All of the Glass picture content on this webpage is from the Michael George and Stephen Atkinson glass Collection's. Mike is a Glass Historian with over 25 years experience in the glass Factory's and their products from the State of New Hampshire. The ads and the glass research are a collaboration between Michael George and Stephen Atkinson
Below in the ad is the The earliest mention of the new Glass Factory to be built in Keene speaks of a few shares remaining.This ad was in the Saturday, February 19, 1814 edition of the New Hampshire Sentinel out of (Keene, NH)
Early in the year 1814 the town of Keene New hampshire was growing rapidly and the need for industry was calling. A group of stockholders got together to build primarily a new Window glass works. None of the shareholders had any prior knowledge in the art of glassmaking.After sveral meetings they agreed to hire Lawrence Schoolcraft,who at the time was a superintendent of the Mt Vernon New York Glass Works and prior to Vernon he worked at the Hamilton Society glasshouse in Dowesburgh near Albany in New York State to manage their new factory.One of the proprietors Timothy Twitchell met with Schoolcraft in the April of 1814 at Albany ,N .Y.,to persuade him to come to Keene. The offer must have been lucrative because Schoolcraft had located himself in Keene by June of that year.
On August 17, 1814 he wrote to his son,Henry Rowe Schoolcraft,who at that time was the superintendent of the window glass factory and a new Flint glass manufactury factory at Salisbury, Vt on Lake Dunmore.:"I arrived at Keene on the 16th instant,and Caty Ann & myself found it one of the most beautiful country places we ever were in.The stockholders and directors of the establishment here were most highly pleased at my arrival,and by no means will let me go back again-I had hopes they would.I have already agreed to Caty Ann's tuition by one of the most accomplished ladies of Boston in this place.She is to board with the preceptress, in one of the finest houses in the place. Many young ladies from Boston are now in the school."Arrangements for the works are in a state of forwardness,the buildings & materials provided.I will write you more particularly in a few days
Lawrence Schoolcraft,a veteran of the American Revolution, had received valuable training in the successful window glass factory at Hamilton,not far from Albany,N .Y .,where he was superintendent from 1802 until he left to assume management of a new glasshouse at Vernon,in Central New York State. Both Lawrence and his son,Henry Rowe Schoolcraft,who after a brief interval in glassmaking enjoyed a distinguished career in other fields, were prolific letter writers. Fortunately a significant amount of their correspondence has been preserved,from which dates and other details of their profession can be verified.
In 1810 Lawrence was writing from Vernon to his son that sales were brisk and the demand was greater than the supply.According to one letter he had left the glassworks at Hamilton over a disagreement with several individuals, including James Kane ,one of the incorporators. However, as the son was to write of his father years later, the elder Schoolcraft was adept in the "disciplinary knowledge and tact in the government of men" which "united to amenity of manners" enabled him to overcome any ill feelings he might have harbored.In March, prior to Schoolcraft's engagement as superintendent,a notice appeared in the newspaper The New Hampshire Sentinel proposing a glass factory "90 feet long, 60 feet wide, and 20 foot posts and 40 foot rafters, to stand about 1/2 mile northeasterly from the meetinghouse. Below is that ad placed to the ditor on March 11th 1814 and advertised the next day on March 12th.
Three bottle's below are thought to have been made based on shard evidence found at the factory site. These bottles are in the Michael George Collection
At the end of a glass workers day the factory owners allowed the gaffers to make personal items for family members and their friends. Here are three Hat whimsy's with pretty solid attribution to Keene and possibly these very works. All of these glass items are in the Stephen Atkinson collection.The largest hat is made from a bottle mold and is from the 1840 to 1850 era.The next size has two stickers attached to the bottom one of them stating Keene Glass. This hat is free blown and suggests a time frame of manufacture at around 1825 to 1835. The smallest hat is the crudest of the three and may be the oldest at 1820 to 1830 It is also free blown.
A Bottle mold was used for this 7 inch tall hat hat, it also has a rough pontil mark,plenty of base wear and was made sometime between 1840 and 1850.
This hat was free blown sometime between 1825 and 1835,has an almost sand like pontil mark, and has a nice green color.
This hat is the oldest one of the three with a manufacture time between 1820 and 1830. This hat has has a folded brim on one side and is quite small at only 1 and 3/4 inches tall.This hat is also a darker shade of green in color.
In 1814 a group of men petitioned the legislature of New Hampshire,this was the very beginning of the new glass factory to be established in Keene.
The Laws of the New Hampshire Second Constitution State Of ) New Hampshire )
An ACT TO INCORPORATE CERTAIN PERSONS BY THE NAME OF " THE PROPRIETORS OF THE NEW HAMPSHIRE GLASS FACTORY
Approved June 24' 1814 Original Acts Vol.22, P. 120; recorded Acts Vol. 20, P. 277 See act of December 22, 1820, post
Section I. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened,that Gilbert Mellen, Daniel Watson, Abel Blake, Daniel Bradford, Aaron Appleton, Amos Twitchell, Timothy Twitchell, Nathaniel Sprague, John Prentiss, Albe Cady,John Towns, Luther Smith, Justus Perry, and their associates, successors and assigns,be and they are hereby constituted and made a body corporate forever,by the name of "The Proprietors of the New Hampshire Glass Factory." and by that name sue and shall be sued,defend and be defended, and be known and distinguished in their acts and preceedings, and in all cases whatever. And they are hereby empowered to make and to execute such by-laws , rules and regulations, not contrary to the constitution and laws of this state, and annex such penalties to the breach thereof, as may be necessary and convenient for the Government of said Corporation, and the prudent management of their affairs; they are hereby vested with all the powers and privileges which by law are exercised by, and are incident Corporations of a like nature.
Section II And be it Further enacted, "that said Proprietors are hereby empowered to divide their capital or joint stock into any number not exceeding one hundred equal shares, and thereupon to raise by assessment any sum not exceeding fifty thousand dollars, which may be laid out in the purchase of real estate; in erecting buildings; in constructing furnaces, ovens and machinery, in purchasing materials used in the composition and manufacture of window and other Glass, and in such chemical processes as are connected therewith and in defraying the expenses incident to similar establishments. The shares in the said factory shall be considered and holden as personal estate and transferable upon the books of said corporation and twenty thousand dollars of the said Capitol Stock belonging thereto shall be exempt from taxation for the the term of three years from and after the first day of April next and all workmen employed in said factory as blowers and stokers shall , while so employed ,be exempt from military duty.
Section III And be it further enacted,that the said Aaron Appleton,Daniel Bradford,and Timothy Twitchell, or either two of the, shall call the first meeting of the said proprietors by posting up notifications for that purpose in at least two public houses in Keene or by advertisement in the New Hampshire Sentinel printed in said Keene fourteen days at least before said meeting; at which a clerk shall be chosen and sworn to the faithful discharge of the duties of the said office;and they shall also agree on the manner of calling future meetings; or at the same or at any subsequent meeting legally holden they may divide their capital into shares;may elect their officers pass by laws;order assessments;agree upon the form; of transferring shares;and do any act or acts which may be deemed necessary and proper to carry into effect the purposes of said corporation. All elections shall be determined by the a majority of voters present or represented at any meeting; and all representations shall be in writing signed by the person to be represented and tied with the clerk;and each proprietor shall be entitled to the number of votes according to the number of shares owned by said proprietor in the following proportion,towit:for one share,one vote;for any number of shares above one and not exceeding three ,two votes;for any number above three and not exceeding six,three votes; above six and not exceeding ten,four votes;above ten and not exceeding fifteen,five votes;above fifteen and not exceeding twenty,six votes;and no more for any greater number of shares owned by the same person.
Section IV and be it further enacted ,That it shall be the duty of the clerk to keep a fair record of the proceedings of said Corporation, and shall exhibit the same, and give certified copies thereof to any person applying therefor ,upon payment of such fees as by law are allowed to Registers of deeds; or upon refusal or unreasonable neglect so to do, the said clerk shall forfeit and pay for every offense the sum of twenty dollars to any person suing for the same in any court of competent jurisdiction.
Six and a half years later the company was granted an extension on its tax exempt status as shown by the legislature papers of Dec. 22 1820.
Keene Glass Works Product Sheet
An early bowl and a Bellows bottle Whimsey are end of day products of this window glass factory These items are in the Michael George Collection.
A famous Matt Johnson Lily Pad pitcher from the Michael George Collection