Museum of Connecticut Glass


Connecticut Glassworks

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The Pitkin Glassworks 1783-1830

Connecticut's first successful glassworks was formed by William Pitkin, his cousin Elisha Pitkin and Samuel Bishop and they were granted a 25 year exclusive privelage from the states general assembly to produce all types of glass. The Pitkin family was large, old and influential with many land holdings in pre-and-post revolutinary pies including guns, gunpowder, textiles, flour, iron, silver, tobacco and snuff. Two of the names of former superintendents and managers are Robert Hewes of the Temple glassworks fame in New Hampshire and John P. Foster, whose initials are embossed and appear on an inkwell and a figured flask GII-57. The glassworks has always been considered a bottle glasshouse of which commercial products blown there consisted of chestnuts, demijohns, utilities, snuffs, globular bottles and tableware like pitchers, creamers, bowls & pans. The most popular and recognizable wares were the inkwells and molded flasks blown in the german half-post method consisting of ribs and swirls. The figured flasks and sunburst flasks are all prized by collectors with some extreme rarities. We do know window glass and clock faces were also manufactured there in the early years. The Pitkin colors are yellow-amber, olive-amber, olive-yellow, yellow-olive, olive-green, yellow-green and a bluish to deep green. These are the New England "earthy" tones and were basically carried on in the future Connecticut glasshouses. The site containing the romantic ruins of the glassworks is owned and managed by the Pitkin Glass Works Inc and professional excavations are conducted there on a regular basis. Some examples of Pitkin glass are on display at the Old Manchester Museum in Manchester, CT.

Note: For most of its active existence, the Pitkin Glassworks was located in East Hartford. It became part of Manchester in 1823 when Manchester incorporated to become a separate town.

An article from the Manchester Historical Society's website on the Pitkin Glassworks can be found by clicking Places to Visit: Pitkin Glassworks, which describes the Glassworks as it exists today and links to an article on an archaeological excavation undertaken there in 2012.