Museum of Connecticut Glass


Connecticut Glassworks

Fund Raising


Upcoming Events

Contact The Museum

Board and Officers

Museum History



The John Mather Glass Works 1806-1821

The following is an excerpt from the "Memorial History of Hartford County, Connecticut, 1633-1884". The original text can be found on the Manchester Historical Society website, by clicking here and scrolling down to page 252.

Within the present limits of Parker Village a settlement was started in 1808 by John Mather, who built a small glass-factory and powder-mill. It required, it is said, twelve men to operate these establishments; and Mather was regarded as the aristocrat of the region, on account of his ability to give orders to such a multitude. The powder was made by using hand-mortars for working the materials. Two kegs of twenty-five pounds each were the daily product of the mill. When fifty kegs were produced, they were loaded into the team-wagon and started on the old turnpike for Boston to be sold for part cash and part New England rum. In the old time the latter article was deemed an important force in building and running the mills. Some veteran manufacturers remember their apprentice days, when one item of their duty was to go to the store at eleven o'clock for the supply necessary for "dinnering the men." In 1830 Mr. Mather sold this property to Hazard, Loomis & Brothers, then the powder monopolists of New England, who built a new powder mill and introduced new methods of manufacturing. They also bought of Daniel W. Griswold another small powder-mill on the same stream nearer Union Village. The latter privilege was sold, in 1840, to Keeney, Marshall & Co. The Mather privilege, sold also in 1840 by the Powder Company, was bought by Lucius Parker & Co., who erected a cotton-warp mill, which is still in operation. Nearly all the powder mills have had their detructive explosions. The last occurred in 1834, in the mills above mentioned, resulting in the death of six men1.
1 The record of deaths kept by the pastor of the First Church gives the names of these persons, and adds: "All but Bivins were killed instantly, and most of their bodies were shockingly mangled. A leg of Avery was carried about thirty rods against the roof of a barn with such violence as to break a hole through."