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American Manufacturers - New England Glass Company Boston & Sandwich Company

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> American Manufacturers - New England Glass Company Boston & Sandwich Company


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The New England Glass Factory, circa 1820
Zoom in on The New England Glass Factory, circa 1820 The New England Glass Factory
circa 1820
Collection of the Maryland Historical Society

The New England Glass Company

Cambridge, Massachusetts, was started by Deming Jarves and three wealthy founders in 1818. They began with six pots and 24 cutting mills that produced ten tons per week under manager Thomas Leighton. Jarves had a special furnace built to produce pure red lead for their crystal and to sell to other glassworks. Henry Whitney took over when Jarves left to start the Sandwich Glass Company.

Cruciform Pattern Millefiori
Zoom in on Cruciform Pattern Millefiori Cruciform Pattern Millefiori
New England Glass Company (attributed)
circa 1852-80

By 1849 the factory had grown to 500 employees who made flint glass. In 1850 they built a new 250-foot tall central chimney with underground flues that allowed for higher temperatures in the several furnaces attached to it. The plant also had a pot factory, in which men kneaded clay and built pots. Each pot could fire 2,000 pounds of glass. Paperweights were made in the glass-blowing department with its annealing kilns. In this department, each "shop" had a foreman, a helper, and two assistants. In 1878, William Libbey leased the firm, and his son took over n 1883. Labor unions formed and during a strike in 1888 Libby closed the company, sold the buildings, and moved the business to Ohio.

View of the Boston & Sandwich Glass Factory
Zoom in on View of the Boston & Sandwich Glass Factory View of the Boston & Sandwich Glass Factory
circa 1830
Courtesy of the Boston & Sandwich Museum

Deming Jarves founded the Boston & Sandwich Glass Company in 1825 in Sandwich, Massachusetts, near Cape Cod. Jarves was a sales manager, not a glassmaker himself, who had worked at the New England Glass Company from its beginning. His second company produced up to $600,000 in glass, both high quality and for everyday use.

mericans began making paperweights about 1851. Many American glassmakers were immigrants who brought their skills with them from European countries such as France, England, and Bohemia. For example, the Lutz brothers had worked for Saint Louis and Thomas Leighton had worked in glassworks in Birmingham, England and Scotland. Because the Boston & Sandwich and New England Glass Companies shared an owner, managers, and workers at one time or another, it is often difficult to identify which paperweights were made by which company. In the 1880s the factory was bought out by the Electrical Glass Corporation. The business was unable to survive competition from midwest factories and labor strikes, so it closed in 1888.

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