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The Coventry Glassworks 1815-1848

On January 14th, 1813, seven men signed an agreement to erect a glass factory at Coventry, along the Boston Post Road. They were:Captain Nathaniel Root, Sr., Nathaniel Root, Jr., Ebenezer Root, and Joseph A. Norton of Coventry; Eli Evans, Thomas Bishop and Uriah Andrews of East Hartford. By 1820, it is believed that Thomas Stebbins was operating the glassworks. His initials T.S. are embossed on the Lafayette GI-80 pint mold. Another Stebbins must have also worked there as S & S is also embossed on the Lafayette GI-86 1/2 pint mold. This was around 1825, and later that year the firm became Stebbins and Chamberlain (Thomas Stebbins & Rufus Chamberlain) evidenced by yet another embossed flask, S & C, which was the Lafayette GI-81 1/2 pint mold. In 1828, the firm was taken over by Gilbert, Turner & Company (Jasper Gilbert, John Turner, Rufus Chamberlain, and Levi Turner). On October 31st, 1828, they became owners of both Coventry Glassworks and West Willington glassworks. Gilbert, Turner, and Alvin Preston were among the founders of the Ellenville, NY, glassworks in 1836. In the spring of 1838, Chamberlain bought the interest of some others. The old firm dissolved and the sole owners were Chamberlain and Turner. Lack of fuel and wood slowed the works down and it eventually closed around 1849. Coventry was a powerhouse, though, and produced all types of bottles, porters, wines, flasks, snuffs, blackings, octagon vials, jars of all sizes, demijohns, chestnuts, sunburst flasks, Pitkin-type flasks, medicine types, including a large lettered Swaims Panacea, blown three molded wares including inkwells and tableware. Coventry glass comes in an impressive array of colors but the yellow-olive-greens and ambers dominated. The figured historical flasks are the most popular and prized with the Lafayette grouping as well as two rare Masonic molds. Some examples of Coventry bottles can be seen at the Coventry Historical Society in Coventry, Connecticut.