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The New London Glassworks 1856-1868+

Editor's Note: Historical records are unclear regarding glass operations in the New London area. Many thanks to Museum Board member Bruce Mitchell for his research in preparing the following narrative.

New London Glass Works • Union Glass Works

The New London Glass Works began operations 1856, with operations starting late in 1857 or early 1858. Company organizers were N.S. Perkins Jr and Lorenzo Hodsden, along with Leonard S. Shaffer and Thomas W. Perkins.

Operations lasted until sometime in 1865 when New London land records show that the Union Glass Co. began operations. This was probably through the efforts of Charles Prentis, who purchased the New London Glass Co. property and then sold it to the Union Glass Works. Union Glass may have begun its operations either adjacent to the New London Company or on the Union Glass company's land (records are not clear on whether both were in operation with the New London Co. ending and the Union Works continuing.) From these operations we know of at least one flask (GXV-23) and some marked soda bottles.

The New London flasks and also the Union glassworks flasks came in some fantastic colors like copper-amber, golden-amber, red-amber, yellow-amber, aquamarine, emerald-green, very-pale-green, olive-yellow, clear deep-green, bluish-green, yellow-green, olive-amber and pure yellow.

Thames Glassworks • Fort Trumbull Glass Works

The "New London Chronicle" reported that on August 13, 1863, a glassworks near Fort Trumbull that was idle had been purchased, and was to be operated by William Barry and Nathan S. Fish. This operation was called the Thames Glass Works Co.

A large amount of light and dark green glass was produced. Among the products were canning jars with one such aqua-colored quart jar bearing the straight-line embossing: "J.J. SQUIRE" (apparently the name of one of the 9 glassblowers) and the dates: PATD-OCT - 1864/March and Sep 1865 in a circle which enclosed the J.J. Squire name. The factory also produced a pressed amber glass insulator for telegraph wires.

An early glass author, Van Rensselaer, wrote that Nathan S. Fish and William Barry subsequently sold the property to Ellenville NY interests.

In December 1865 the factory was taken over by a new firm which renamed the works the Fort Trumbull Glass Works with D.S. Calhoun, president, N. Hendricks, secretary/treasurer, and J.R. Gilbert, agent and at one time president. H.G. Foster also was part of the firm, and a stock certificate dated June 2, 1868 shows he was then president of the glass company.

Fort Trumbull Glass produced druggist ware, including medicinal bottles, fruit and pickle jars, wines, demijohns, flasks and orders for owners of private moulds. They also produced bottles for popular medicines including Perry Davis's Painkiller, Hyatt's Infallible Life Balsam, Dr. Ford's Pectoral Syrup, Wilbor's Rheumatic Medicine, Ring's Ambrosia, and Knowles' Hair Invigorater. There is also a unique freeblown pitcher known to have been blown there.