Warren probably covered all this thoroughly in his book, but for those who may not have seen it, here it is reprinted exactly as it appeared in an 1868 publication.....
STATEMENT OF THE SAN FRANCISCO GLASS WORKS
San Francisco, October 20th, 1867.
To the Committee on the award of Gold Medals for the State Agricultural Society :
Gentlemen : In accordance with public notice to exhibitors at the late State Fair, given through its Secretary, the undersigned herewith present their claims to your body for the gold medal which the Agricultural Society has authorized you, as its agent, to award to the most deserving exhibit made in the Third Department of the late State Fair.
Your memory will enable you to call to mind the exhibit of flint and colored glassware made by us on that occasion, comprising about one hundred articles of different patterns and construction, all of which were made at our works on Townsend street, near the foot of Third street, in San Francisco, and which comprised prescription bottles from one half drachm to sixteen ounces; also oval, panel and fluted prescriptions; extracts, oil bottles, ink bottles, mustard bottles, both plain and French; also wine bottles, soda and bitters bottles of colored glass; also carboys and retorts, the latter both plain and tubulated; chemical ware in great variety, such as flasks, matrasses, tubing, funnels, proof bottles, oil sample bottles; also lamp chimneys of all sizes, as well as locomotive and light-house chimneys, etc.
We beg leave to call your attention particularly to the fact that all this large variety of patterns and colors were produced from a single furnace—a work which has never before been accomplished with the same economy in the history of glass making. The means by which this is accomplished is a matter of our own invention, which will hereinafter be more particularly alluded to.
For this exhibition we claim the gold medal to be awarded to the Third Department, and for the following among other reasons:
"We have been the first to introduce upon this coast the manufacture of flint glassware ; and to make its introduction successful, we have been compelled to depart from the usual routine of glass manufacture in order to meet the special wants and necessities of the people of the Pacific coast, whose isolated position and paucity of numbers render it necessary that the variety of work which, in other countries, is distributed among a number of different establishments, must of necessity be comprised in one. This has been done at great hazard of pecuniary loss, and only by the employment of a rare combination of skill and experience.
In the establishment of any new enterprise of special importance to the public, the projectors are entitled to credit and encouragement in some respects commensurate with the difficulties to be encountered. It is a fact quite universally admitted that the business of flint glass making, even under the most favorable circumstances, is liable to more inherent contingencies, to be more carefully and constantly guarded against, than, perhaps, any other industry known to man. Unlike most other branches of industry, this is governed and aided by no motive power, and has no analogy to the productions of labor by the aid of machinery. Constant care and attention, directed by skill which can be acquired by experience alone, and a large outlay of capital, are here the only conditions of success.
There is no regular business where, in proportion to the capital employed, greater liability to loss is incurred, none demanding more untiring vigilance on the part of its immediate directors, none requiring so much personal skill and interest in the work. Hence it is that so many failures have occurred in the establishment of the business, both in this country and in Europe. It is a well known fact that nearly or quite two thirds of the efforts to establish flint glass manufactures in England have proved failures, and mainly through the lack of skill or want of application on the part of those in immediate charge, as managers or superintendents. The history of the business in our own country has been generally unfortunate. On this coast, no better success has attended similar efforts, as will be shown in the sequel. In no other business is success more dearly bought or more deserving of being honored and encouraged.
The ingredients of which glass is composed are taken from the earth in a form which is next to valueless until manipulated by the g]ass manufacturer. None of these ingredients are transparent by themselves. To make them perfectly so requires the highest skill of the mixer. The proper proportions of materials and the necessary degree of heat to submit them to must be made a matter of constant study and experience. It is in these manipulations and this experience that the chief skill of the glass worker is called into action. Formulas and receipts from the books are of no avail for this work, and cannot be depended on. Such dependence, or on that of faulty experience, is the usual cause of failure.
The incessant variations of Nature in her productions, and the difficulties of determining and controlling high degrees of heat, call for the highest and most careful exercise of human judgment. This tact, if it may be so called, is rarely to be found, and when found is with difficulty imparted to others. So rare is this acquirement that in a large glass establishment in Massachusetts, employing some seven hundred or eight hundred hands, the success of the whole establishment depends upon the skill in the above particular of one man, or, in his absence, singular as it may appear, upon that of his daughter. When such skill is found it is, or ought to be, duly prized. It need not be mentioned that without this kind of experience the manufacture of flint glass could not have become a success on this coast. Hence, the presence here of such skill should be warmly encouraged, especially as it exists in a form and to an extent which insures, as fast as pecuniary means and encouragement can be obtained, the ability of the San Francisco Glass Works to add to
their present variety of manufacture that of all the other varieties employed on this coast.
The San Francisco Glass Works are conducted by two practical and experienced men, with but limited capital for the extension of their business into the numerous branches demanded by the wants of our people. The proprietors have had a severe and protracted struggle to build up their business to the present extent, not the least part of which has been in consequence of the efforts of Eastern manufacturers to keep the white glass business of this coast entirely in their own hands by breaking down our incipient efforts at manufacturing it here. In our efforts to secure the trade for ourselves, skill and industry have had to take the place, in a great measure, of capital. It is with pleasure and pride that we refer to what we have accomplished in this direction. The display which we were able to make at the late State Fair furnishes the fullest evidence of our ability to meet the fullest wants of this coast in our line, provided only a reasonable degree of encouragement is extended to us on the part of the people.
We feel confident that with such encouragement the day will soon come when our citizens can have every article of glass which enters into consumption on this coast made- in our midst, and thus be placed independent of foreign or Atlantic made goods.
There exist here all the necessary materials, and a small portion of the capital that is yearly spent in California in wild and visionary schemes, if invested in this and similar legitimate enterprises, would be productive of incalculable wealth, would save millions to the State, and add immensely to the prosperity of our rapidly growing cities and towns.
The San Francisco Glass Works now employ about forty hands and have already the capacity for making one hundred thousand dollars worth of glass per annum, the amount and character for producing which are about as follows: Nine hundred tons of coal, two hundred cords of wood, two hundred and fifty barrels of crude petroleum, three hundred tons of sand, one hundred and fifty tons of soda ash, eight hundred barrels of lime, two hundred tons of old glass, one hundred and fifty tons of fine clay, besides red lead, saltpeter, arsenic, manganese, etc. It will be seen from this enumeration that nearly everything required in the manufacture is produced in our midst, giving employment to a great number of outside hands, so that the entire cost of the glass produced here may be set down as about so much value created here, the transmission of which to the East in bullion is saved to the State.
We have little or no data by which to calculate the annual value of the glassware on this coast; certain it is, however, that it is very large, forming an important item in our imports. Perhaps no better idea of the amount consumed can be formed than by referring to the large amount of broken glass which finds its way to our establishment monthly, almost all of which is from wholesale dealers and importers of glassware, in whose hands it accumulates from breakage in store or in transportation thither. A small portion only of broken glass is collected from private families, on account of the great cost of such collection, and the notorious lack of economy on the part of California housekeepers and others in their general neglect of saving anything in the shape of waste. The average amount of our monthly purchases of broken glass is about seventeen tons. This great loss, mostly from breakage in transportation, presents a most important reason for the necessity of such manufacture on this coast.
We would conclude by asking particular attention to an important feature in our exhibition, with which at least a portion of your Committee are familiar, and which all will probably be able to call to mind. We refer to a patent glass pot, the invention of Mr. C. Newman, one of the proprietors of the works, and which has been patented by him as a California invention.
In" establishing the business on this coast, as has already been remarked, it was found necessary, for several reasons, to embrace, as far as could be done, all the possible varieties of manufacture in one establishment. In carrying out this idea we found it necessary to accomplish, with variations in the melting pot, that which has elsewhere ever been done by differently constructed furnaces. In no other establishment than our own has the glass manufacturer been able to produce, economically, in the same furnace, both flint and common glass. We have been able to do this by the peculiar construction of the melting pot, a model of which was included among our articles of exhibition as above alluded to. This invention we claim as one of the most important which has been introduced into the glass business for many centuries. Its value has already been acknowledged by practical glass manufacturers.
It is impossible, within the limits of this statement, we fear already extended beyond the patience of the Committee for its perusal, to give anything like an intelligent description, of this invention and its advantages. Suffice it to say that we consider it the most important item of our exhibit, and of itself sufficiently meritorious to make it worthy of especial consideration in making up the award for the Third Department.
In conclusion, the undersigned would beg leave to state that we entertain a most lively appreciation of the benefits which must accrue from the awards of the Committee, and feel most sensibly our need of the endorsement of the society which you represent as an encouragement for a proper continuance of the arduous struggle in which we are still engaged, in the effort to place upon a proper foundation on this coast the more difficult branches of a most useful and important branch of industry.
Believing, for the reasons above cited, and for numerous others which might be adduced, that the award of the Third Department fairly belongs to us, we earnestly ask your particular attention to our request, hoping and believing that it will meet with your most hearty acquiescence and approval.
In the meantime we are, very respectfully, yours,
CARLTON NEWMAN, For the San Francisco Glass Works.
MANUFACTURE OF GLASS
Perhaps the following brief summary of the history of glass making may be considered by the Committee of sufficient interest to merit a place in the Agricultural Society's forthcoming report, although it is not offered as any part of the above communication :
Very few, if any, branches of industry have contributed more than has glass making to the advancement of the sciences. To this industry is especially due the great progress which has of late astonished the
world in the science of astronomy. It has revealed the wonders of the heavens—the sun, the moon, the planets and the stars are followed in all their phases and movements with a most astonishing accuracy—while with the microscope the naturalist has discovered innumerable phenomena among the minutias of creation. Muspratt says that "the discovery of glass is, without contradiction, one of the most important services which accident or chemistry has rendered to civilization." Another writer says that " the importance of glass and the infinite variety of objects to which it is applicable, cannot be exaggerated; indeed, it would be extremely difficult to enumerate its properties or estimate adequately its value. This transparent substance, so light and so fragile, is one of the most essential ministers of science and philosophy, and enters so minutely into the concerns of life that it has become indispensable to the daily routine of our business, our wants and our pleasures. It admits the sun and excludes the wind, answering the double purpose of transmitting light and preserving warmth ; it carries the eye of the astronomer to the remotest systems of space; through the lenses of the microscope it develops new worlds of vitality, which, without its help, must ever have been imperfectly known ; it renews the sight of the old, and assists the curiosity of the young; it empowers the mariner to descry distant shipping and trace far-off shores; it preserves the light of the beacon from the rush of the tempest, and softens the flame of the lamp on our tables; it supplies the revel with those charming vessels in whose bright depths we enjoy the color as well as the flavor of our wine; it enables the beauty to survey the charms of her person ; it reflects, it magnifies, it diminishes; it is a medium of light and of obscuration; its uses are without limit; and as an article of embellishment, there is no form into which it may not be moulded and no article of luxury to which it may not be adapted."
The discovery of glass is lost in the depths of antiquity. Pliny ascribes its discovery to the Phoenicians. He tells the story of a vessel of that nation which had been driven ashore, the crew of which made a fire of seaweed on the sandy beach, the heat of which converted the saline material and sand into a coarse glass. The story is no doubt a fiction. The origin of glass was more probably due the early process of assaying silver, or rather obtaining that metal from argentiferous galena, from which description of ore the chief part of the ancient silver was doubtless obtained. Carbonate of soda, a natural substance, was doubtless a flux in those operations; and nothing is more reasonable than to suppose that with the use of this flux, in the presence of great heat, the oxide of lead, which would be formed from the ore, and the silica, either of the crucible or the ore, migfct form a glass, the utility of which would have been readily observed by the ancient workers in precious metals. Being obtained in small quantities, it was readily cast or shaped into small ornaments, such as beads, etc., which have in modern times been found in the ruins of Thebes, Nineveh and Babylon. On some of these small ornaments have been found hieroglyphics, which fix the date of their origin as far back as fifteen hundred years before the Christian era.
For many years glass must have been made only in small quantities; in no other way can we account for its having been so costly and rare— its price being much above the value of gold. It has been stated that Nero paid for two glass cups a sum of money equal to two hundred and fifty thousand dollars in our currency.
The first establishments to make glass on a large scale were located at Tyre, near the mouth of the River Belus, where very pure silica was obtainable in great abundance. The " ships of Tyre" were often freighted with this beautiful ware, which was thus transported to different parts of the world. Many years afterward the art was carried to Rome, and from thence to Bohemia and Venice, where glass was greatly improved in quality. From Venice it was next carried to France, where the Government, with a wise forethought, gave it great encouragement by creating the glass makers noblemen and giving them, for many years, the exclusive right to manufacture glass in that country. In the year sixteen hundred and seventy, the Duke of Buckingham became the patron of the art in England, and greatly improved the quality of glass. He procured a number of Venetian glass makers and settled them down in London. The Government gave them liberal bounties in cash upon all glass exported or sold by them for export. By this means they became the successful rivals of the Venetian and French manufacturers, even in foreign markets.
In the year seventeen hundred and forty-six, the glass business was started in America, at Jamestown, Virginia; but the first successful establishment was in Massachusetts, started in eighteen hundred and three. That State, in order to encourage the business and to secure its firm establishment, gave liberal bounties on all glass made at those works. The business steadily increased from that time forward, until today there are about two hundred establishments in various parts of the Union, producing over twenty-five millions of dollars worth of glass annually. There are about fifty glass works in the City of Pittsburg alone, which manufacture about seven million dollars worth annually.
It is an interesting and important fact to note that the glassware made in the United States is considered equal to any in the world. At the International Exhibition in London in eighteen hundred and sixtytwo, the United States carried off the first premium for the best quality of glass; and again at the present Paris Exhibition we have been victorious, the first premium having been awarded to J. B. Lyard & Co., of Pittsburg.
The first glass works on the Pacific Coast were started in eighteen hundred and fifty-nine, by Baker & Cutting. These works were located on Beale street, and produced only the common varieties of glass—green and black. These works were soon discontinued, the company sustaining heavy losses. The next attempt was made by Lambert & Company, on Fourth street, who also made only common glass. This establishment was also soon closed. In eighteen hundred and sixty a small experimental furnace was started at North Beach, which was soon closed, and the company reorganized as a joint stock concern, under the name of the Pacific Glass Works, with a capital of one hundred thousand dollars, which was soon increased to one hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars. This company also meeting with heavy disappointments was dissolved, and the works are now carried on by private parties. These works manufacture common glass only. In March, eighteen hundred and sixty-five, C. Newman and P. T. Brennan started the flint glass business on Townsend street, between Third and Fourth streets, being the first attempt to make flint glass on the Pacific coast—which has since been enlarged and increased until they have now a large establishment, making flint and German flint, as well as common black or green glass. They have a large furnace, containing eight pots, which hold one thousand four hundred pounds of glass each, and employ forty hands. They manufacture about two million bottles and vials annually, valued at about one hundred thousand dollars.
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