When we speak about the development of the glass industry, we certainly mean the way glass manufacturers were changing their operational approaches and procedures. We at Glass Chandler know that the American glass market had undergone a number of serious changes, before it reached its current state. However, we often forget about the valuable knowledge delivered through primary historical documents. The document I have recently (and, actually, accidentally) found presents an extremely interesting picture of the historical developments in the glass industry.
It is an article published in Popular Science Monthly in 1893. The article was titled “The Glass Industry” and written by Prof. Hanford Henderson. The article was part of a larger project providing insight into the development of American industries since the times of Columbus. The article is extremely interesting, because it shows how the glass industry functioned at the end of the 19th century!
Henderson writes that, at that time, New Jersey and Pennsylvania were leading the national glass industry. Moreover, Henderson says that those two states had been at the forefront of glass industry development since its beginnings! In Henderson’s view, it is due to the abundant fuel resources that Pennsylvania managed to become the American glass manufacturing leader. Pennsylvanian glass manufacturers were the first to use gas in their industrial processes.
The coming of gas to the glass industry was quite thorny. Even in the 1880s, researchers found no mention of gas in the glass industry records. Yet, once in the glass industry, natural gas quickly made its way to become the most essential manufacturing resource. By 1886, all glass-making departments would have been heavily dependent on gas.
Today, Chandler Glass cannot imagine glass manufacturing without gas. Natural gas has made glass manufacturing economical, also bringing it to a scale “hitherto undreamed of”, as Henderson puts it. Like everyone in the glass industry, we at Chandler Glass owe our success to natural gas, and we hope that the industry will keep developing and flourishing in the future!