Below is a 1640 map of New York City known then as New Amsterdam As you can see the area was quite developed in 1640 and Glass Makers street is marked in yellow the Canal in Blue.The Canal made it quite easy and safe to load and unload products from ships.Tall arched bridges cross the Canal allowing ships easy passage under them. One other neat feature is the Wall that was built around the entire city for protection mainly from Native Americans but also from invading countries from Europe.Glass Makers Street was in the heart of the Manufacturing district and judging from this map looked quite developed and very busy. To see New York City this developed in 1640 is amazing and something I cant recall that I learned about in school. Seeing first hand just how developed New York City was then makes a strong case for quite a bit of glass manufacture occurring on Glass Makers Street which proves beyond a doubt that dark green drinking vessels were being blown here in 1640.
New Amsterdam was the first successful area in North America to manufacture glass continuously in the 17th century.
Evert Duycking, who came to America in 1638,by 1640 he had constructed his first glass house and manufactured mainly window glass. He soon realized the need for utilitarian glass but there were no master gaffers in the colony of New Amsterdam at the time. Soon Master Gaffers were being lured from Germany to come to New Amsterdam to blow glass. Evert was a leading citizen in his day. Evert Duycking was a general artisan and was succeeded in 1674 by one of his assistants, Jacob Melyer, whose family was said to have made glass "unto the third and fourth generation." Cornelis Dirkson, and members of the Jansen family, and other Dutch artisans also practised the art of glass-blowing in New York during the late 1600s.
At the same time Johannes Smedes who had been here quite a while when, in 1654, he was allotted an area of land on which he erected a glassworks. The bordering path soon became known as Glass-makers Street,because Smedes had a neighbor Jacob Melyer, who as mentioned above was said to have made glass "unto the third and fourth generation." . After a few years in America, Johannes simplified his name, becoming Jan Smedes. He retired from the glass business in the same year that Peter Stuyvesant "retired" from the Governorship in 1670. His glass works made "bulls-eyes, for the windows and doors of the early homes, and plain utilitarian bottles and all the hollow ware for the citizenry of New Amsterdam.
With the influx of German refugees from the Palitinate region in Germany it wasn't long before new glass houses would be established at present day Brooklyn,Mid-Town Manhattan, and Newburgh New York. All of these were the direct result of the Glass House Company formed in 1750 by Lodewick Bamper, Samuel Bayard, Matthew Earnest, Christian Hertell, and a Master Gaffer, named Johann Martin Greiner from the Saxe-Weimar Palatinate region of present day Germany,(who also a few years later would be hired by Wilhelm Henry Stiegel in 1767) entered into partnership and organized the Glass House Company of New York.
With financial backing from the Dutch West Indies company they constructed their first glass factory at the present day site on The Hudson river in Newburgh New York 12 miles north of Manhattan on January 3rd 1751. The second factory was established near Lodewick Bampers home in Brooklyn in 1754 and the last factory was built in what is present day Mid-Town Manhattan near a location which would now be located between 34th and 40th Streets, and 8th and 11th Avenues in the present day city of New York in December of 1758. This location was then known as New Found Land, where a stage coach road with a tavern had been established in the late 1600s when New York was under Dutch rule.
As a resident of Southern New Jersey and an amateur glass historian at best, I have always been quite proud to have known that the first successful glass works (The United Glass Company) in the colonies were located just 15 miles from my home at Alloway New Jersey,Salem County in 1738...was it the first,evidence seems to prove otherwise quite clearly? It now is quite evident to me that the English when they ruled the Colonies in the late 1600s on and up to the American revolution may have conveniently forgotten about the history above when assembling the records of the glass industry in the now United States.
As students of the early glass manufactured here in the United States it is time to give due diligence to the Dutch as the first at glass manufacture on a grand scale in North America. Secondly we need to rethink that all the black glass bottles which turn up in large numbers were only produced in Europe in the glass centers of England,France and The Netherlands when in fact they were produced right here at home in New York City beginning as early as 1640. The Sealed dark glass wine bottles in the Van Cortland Museum from Mr Bamper were most definitely produced here for the Prominent citizenry of the Colonies from Boston to New York to Philadelphia.
Was New Amsterdam first or as I am finding out now by bits and pieces a glass factory may have been erected by the Swedes and Finns in Present day Wilmington Delaware in 1638 and lasted for 6 years if this account is true then this attempt would have been 2 years prior to the Dutch at New Amsterdam. Stay tuned
The type of mallet bottle below sporting Dutch and German traits could have been the same type made at the early New York City glass factory's What is unique about this one is the sheared lip not usually seen on this type of bottle which usually has a string wrap.This bottle was found in Glassboro New Jersey.
Flat based Mallet type Utility bottle large concave base with rough solid rod pontil mark.The bottle stands 12.5 inches tall. The neck is 2 inches wide and the widest point near the base is 11 inches wide.
Close up of the sheared neck again a trait not seen on these type of bottles.
Solid rod pontil mark on the base.
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