����������������������������� WISTARBURGH

 

 

����� The Wistarburgh Glass Manufactory was in operation from 1738 until the beginning of 1782.���� It was located near Alloway in Southern New Jersey.���� The name can be found with several spellings.(Wistarberg)(Wistarburg)(Wistarburgh)�� The spelling on a recently found 1760�s map shows the spelling as Wistarsburgh. Casper Wistar had come to Philadelphia in 1717 and had become a button maker in Philadelphia.At first, he would buy, divide, and sell land to the newcomers.�� He soon invested in an iron furnace, and then a forge in Bucks County.He went into the business of making brass buttons.He got married to Catherine Jansen in 1726.Casper became one of the city�s leading merchants, living on Market Street near Mayor Charles Willing and Ben Franklin.��

 

����� In 1738, he built the first successful glass factory in America.����� Casper was traveling in Salem County on a trip to sell buttons.��� The area around Alloway seemed ideal to Casper, as the site of a glass factory, when he noticed the abundance of white sand.�� There was sand, wood for fuel, and water transportation nearby.��� Casper had some experience with a factory requiring heat having owned two iron forges in Berks County.��� Thishad prepared him to know what to look for when looking for a site for a glass factory that needed a good supply of wood for fuel.�� For the task of actually building and working the glass factory, he arranged to have four experienced glass workers come over from Europe.������ Casper created a profit sharing system with the four glass workers to insure their full support.����� The products of the glass factory were eventually flat glass for windows and various types of utility and beverage bottles.���� Some tableware may have been made, but not as the normal production, since the tableware did not show up in the advertisements of the products.����� There were also many other workers required to operate a glass factory, so Casper had workers homes built near the glass factory.�� A mansion was built to accommodate the factory manager and to serve as a place for him to stay when he visited the factory.��� A company store was built to provide the needs of the workers and other local residents.�� Much of the wages of the workers was issued in company money to be used in the company store.��� Casper helped his friend Ben Franklin, by having scientific glassware made at the factory.��� Casper Wistar died in 1752, leaving the glass factory to his son Richard. When Richard ran the glass business, he made an effort to increase the volume of production and increased the number ofitems of production.���� Richard ran the glass business mostly from Philadelphia as his father had.����� Neither Casper nor Richard actually worked with the molten glass.���� When they needed additional glass workers, they made contacts in Europe, and experienced workers were obtained to come to America.����� As a resident of Philadelphia, Casper had observed a need for certain glass items, but was also mindful that the English Law did not allow for the manufacture, in the colonies, of anything that would be in competition with England.������ For this reason, much that was written at the time of operation inferred a less than successful glass factory.����� The real success of the Glass factory can better be measured in the wealth accumulated by Casper and his son Richard.������ When Richard died, he owned a large amount of land in Philadelphia, and he left his sons in a position that they didn�t need to work.����� In 1780, Richard attempted to sell the glass factory with no success.�������� The Wistarburgh Glass Manufactory is considered by some as the first successful manufacturing site in America in addition to being the first successful glass factory.���� There continues to be difficulty with attribution of production items to the Wistarburgh Glass Factory.������ The factory was in operation for over 40 years, with an obvious good profit, yet there is reluctance by historians to allow attribution of items to Wistarburgh.�� Surely, some of the early bottles in today�s market, now attributed to later times, are probably from the first glass factory.

 

For more on Wistarburgh, go to���� www.wistarburg.org

 

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