The first successful glass factory venture in the 13 original colonies during and after British rule was the United Glass Company at Wistarburgh in the year 1739. The factory site was located near present day Alloway New Jersey. From this factory a family of German immigrants named Stenger anglicized to Stanger who Caspar Wistar had summoned for from his homeland in the Palatinate region of Germany left Wistarburgh when John Wistar the last surviving original family member of the Wistars connected to the glass factory stopped producing glass in 1782. He continued to sell the glass at the family owned store in Philadelphia for another year.John finally sold the glass property in 1792 when his brother Bartholomew passed away.
The Stanger clan then set out across South Jersey and soon glass factories designed and started by one of them began to spring up all over Southern New Jersey.When all was said and done no other name in the history of early glass manufacture in the United States influenced the glass industry more then them. Stangers designed and owned glass factory's as far away as Kentucky,Western Pennsylvania and New York State.
South Jersey was home to more early glass works then all other areas and regions in the country in the early 1800s. On this page are links and descriptions of the towns,the founders of the glass works, and all of the different owners and corporations that operated them. All of the glass shown on this web site from these works are from my own personal collection unless otherwise noted. I hope you enjoy your stay here and in the process learn a little about our rich glass heritage that made South Jersey the hotbed in early glass manufacture.
In 1848 the window glass manufacturers of Southern New Jersey came together at their monthly meeting and determined a seven day work week was not in the best interest of all involved and on the Sabbath day all glass making activities would cease for that day to allow the workers to worship and spend more time with their families.
These glass makers who gave their employees the window makers the day off apparently weren't as forgiving to the hollow ware makers at each factory because no mention of Sabbath time for the bottle blowers can be found!!
Taxes Taxes Taxes !!!
Robert K. Walker, secretary of state during James K. Polks presidency, suggested a new tariff, that replaced the Whig-supported Black Tariff. This tariff was the lowest in American history, because it reduced rates more than 25 percent, and was primarily supported by Southern Democrats. The Walker Tariff of 1846 dramatically increased trade and improved relations between America and Britian .While this new tax was a great benefit to Southern United States Farmers and their Mid-Western counterparts the new law proved to be ruinous to the Glass industry of the Northeastern United States as it opened up trade with Great Britain and British glass was soon back in the American market. With this new surge of imported glass flooding the market it devalued the Home made glass in New Jersey substaniouly.
Over taxation by government is not a new phenomenon it has always been around and can halt, severely alter, or put out of business a firm quite quickly if the current conditions warrant it. The year 1849 was no different and this article on page 3 of the March 6th 1849 Cabinet Newspaper out of Schenectady New York shows how a newly enacted tariff can affect many business's in the same type of manufacture quite detrimentally the same.
Wistarburgh the beginning of the glass industry in the United States 1739-1782. Click on the picture below or the link below the picture to go to the Wistarburgh page
The Calabash style flasks were a largely a product of South Jersey and were a cousin to the early Wistar type Chestnut bottles. The Baltimore area produced some also as there were direct business ties between factories in Bridgeton and Baltimore. Philadelphias Sheets and Duffy glass factory in Kensington also produced them. These were larger flasks always at least a quart in size, with some of them slightly larger. Long necked with pictures of national heroes and prominent events on them, they were the mid 19th century collectable glass souvenir available to the public . Here is a link to a page dedicated to them. Click on the picture above or the link below to go to the calabash styled flasks.