Author Topic: Breaking News Nailsea / Bristol hat found in charity shop in Bristol for £1.50  (Read 6343 times)

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Offline Frank

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There are a couple of lavishly illustrated articles on Nailsea from 1911 and 1920 in the Glass-Study and those make it clear that there were more than one glassworks - the articles based on two collections might not be the most scholarly but the first has many references to factual data sources. The collections were largely sourced with locals who had the items from former workers.. included are plenty of colourful examples reputedly by French workers.

Also I quote
Quote
  The latticinio glass generally took the form of flasks, large pipes, bells, bottles, and rolling-pins. The flasks were sometimes used, it is said, by ladies and gentlemen taking the waters at Bath; and no doubt they were brought into requisition by our grandparents for carrying wine and other liquor during the wearisome journeys of the times.

These flasks vary in height from 3¼ in. (third row) to 10½ in., and four of them have the double neck. In the first and third rows are two specimens of the greenish-black bottle glass flecked with white. The smaller specimen with red and blue, in the top row, was exhibited in the Great Exhibition of 1851. Nearly every colour is represented in this fine series — clear white, opaque white, pale golden brown, yellow (rare), dark red (rare), pink and salmon, greens, blues (dark and pale). In referring to colour, mention should be made of the glass kaleidoscope in Mrs. Challicom’s collection, which is interesting as exhibiting specimens of the various colours of glass manufactured at Nailsea. It is 11¼ in. long, 3 in. in diameter, and was made by one Tom Bryant. 

I would suspect the statement that only windows being made was referring to the Chance period of ownership without looking deeper. But the article does say uncertainty over the origins of all the pieces cannot be guaranteed.
Frank A.
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Offline David E

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I would suspect the statement that only windows being made was referring to the Chance period of ownership without looking deeper. But the article does say uncertainty over the origins of all the pieces cannot be guaranteed.
As you appear to be referring to my statement, Frank, then I did not say that only windows were made, but that it was Nailsea's core business. There is no doubt that Nailsea produced bottles in the early days, and also a lot of fancy items of which most have been attributed as friggers, therefore not items made commercially, or sold, by the factory. The Hartley ownership (c.1850) was when the factory was leased out and the last was Samuel Bowen, whose core business was, indeed, making window glass.
To quote from Margaret Thomas' well researched book:
p.20, Methods of Manufacture
Quote
The glassworks at Nailsea made only crown glass...
and p.24
Quote
By the late 1830s Nailsea was using a new technique in glassmaking - cylinder or sheet glass - which had been reintroduced into England by Chance Bros. in 1833.

Crown and sheet glass was only ever made to produce flat glass. There are plenty of facts and figures in this little book to support this.

Chance then took over the factory in 1870, where it tried to renovate the works (unsuccessfully) and the business closed forever in 1874. The output during Chance's tenure was minimal and this was not the thrust of my statement.

Some dates are from memory, so may be slightly out.
David
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Offline Frank

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I am sure the account you mention has more accuracy than the 100 year old one but an amusing part of that is:
Quote
Chance & Co. did not buy the Nailsea works as a good speculation, but to keep other workers out. They manufactured only sheet and rolled plate glass, of which they kept a large stock; some of it was sent by water to Ireland, Scotland, and Bristol Conflicting statements are made as to the reasons why Chance & Co. closed the Nailsea works. It has been stated in print that the quality of the coal obtained at that time was so poor that it did not give sufficient heat for glass-making. Others report that the machinery became worn out, and that some of it fell into adjacent holes. Others, again, say that some of the buildings collapsed, and the firm suffered considerably from the endless expenditure in keeping the works in repair. The glass is said, too, to have been of poor quality in the seventies. But the true reason is probably summed up in the words, “The works did not pay.”
Visions of workers edging alongside the holes to do their work  ;D

Also, some of the workers went to Scotland and similar items that get attributed to Nailsea were made there in Alloa.
Frank A.
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Offline David E

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There is no doubt that the Nailsea works was in a dilapidated state when John Chance attempted to auction the works in 1901, as it is recorded as such. But a report of 1885 "all was found to be in good order", according to M. Thomas. The report of unsuitable locally based sand and coal could also have been a factor.

But as for the machinery failing, I somehow doubt it. It is recorded that Chance moved men, machinery and tools to Smethwick once the works had closed and "all available plant and machinery, not required at Spon Lane [Smethwick] was sold", so it is reasonable to assume that the machinery was still viable, and that any deficiency in this department could have been overcome.

The simple conclusion, as stated by Thomas, is that the works simply did not pay.
David
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Offline Baked_Beans

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Gosh , what a story ! Holes in the ground ! Probably the old coal mines giving way !

David when you say Crown and sheet glass was only ever made to produce flat glass , this excludes friggers made from window glass itself I assume.  In Keith Vincents book on page 9 he says " Window glass was the main concern at Nailsea , but the heavy excise duty on flint glass could have stimulated the production of domestic ware from both crown and bottle glass as a sideline . " He talks about using up the pot remains at the end of a shift and lists of products made by Chance Brothers at Smethwick in 1868. I guess this would have been the case at Nailsea too.
I just wanted to confirm that friggers and domestic wares from Nailsea could be made from either bottle or window glass that's all . Just so that I'm not barking up the wrong tree.

Ta, Mike.
Mike


Offline David E

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To the best of my knowledge, all the friggers created by Nailsea would have used 'end-of-day' glass. With the Excise duty in place until 1845, any product was liable to this tax. As Keith Vincent points out, window glass was taxed at a much lower rate. But it must be remembered that all(?) friggers (called 'foreigners' by Chance workers) were made by the workers and were almost certainly not liable for tax. This was quite a common practice at Chance Brothers right up until 1976, and commonly known at Nailsea. Most other glassworks would have seen similar items being made - pretty much a universal practice, I imagine.

The various effects the workers created (pulled, feathered, spattered, etc.) must have meant they used the coloured glass from other pots (Nailsea made coloured sheet glass too), but equally they could have simply used the plain glass - often with a faint green-tinge - to create all manner of wares to, ahem, sell off down the pub.

Once I have put all my books back on the shelves I'll be able to check his book properly for myself.
David
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Offline Baked_Beans

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Cheers David, Good luck with your book !
 
I hope to be able to take some photos of the cullet which is owned by a very nice lady from Nailsea (as I said before) . She said it was passed on to her by a neighbour who's family had worked at the glassworks as plumbers (I think ).  There was another lady in the shop at the time who had a collection of lumps of glass dug from the garden of her house which was close to the glassworks. They both said that during the 1960's it was quite common to find Nailsea friggers such as knitting needles etc. in and around the Bristol area but now they are few and far between. I did show them this green glass hat but they didn't recognise the colour !

So, for what it's worth , at least the cullet will be something of a reference point for one Nailsea colourway (it's got white flecks too , so she said !).  Ta, Mike.
Mike


Offline BohaGlass

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Hi everyone,

I have been gathering information on the old Nailsea Glassworks, which is just 4 miles from here.
I even managed to find a few pictures of the original Glassworks. You can see the article here:
http://www.bohaglass.co.uk/nailsea-glass/

Regards
Barnaby
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Offline Baked_Beans

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I went to the museum in Bristol today to take some photos of their Nailsea glass display. Most of the examples here are described in the museum as probably Nailsea and can be seen in Keith Vincent's book (in black & white). The general colour of the window glass is a blueish light green and it exactly matches the colour of the knitting needle frigger in my other thread.

The hat in green (with white flecks) , described as probably Nailsea , is dated c1830 , it has a snapped off pontil scar which has been heat 'polished' . I'm not sure if the colour of the green matches my hat , very difficult to gauge. 

Anyway I hope you like the photos and that they can be of some help.

Thanks for the photos Barnaby , I'm still reading the link about the Tesco's site. 
Mike


Offline Baked_Beans

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The cullet was found on the glassworks site.

Mike

 

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