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Author Topic: History of the Auckland Bottle Works (Penrose / Australian Glass Manufacturers)  (Read 574 times)

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Offline popawheelie

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Hello, I am a post-grad museum studies student doing some work on Agee preserving jars. I have a copy of Angela's NZ Glass (2nd Edition) but wanted to go deeper with my research re the early years of the Penrose factory. It seems that much of the information that was online, has disappeared since Visy bought the company in 2020. Ive looked at the National Library etc but have still come up short. Does anyone have any other suggestions for me please?

Offline gaspy1

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I have a very small amount of information, gathered in my collecting of NZ Glass history. I've got more on Christchurch than Penrose, nothing on Agee jars, and it probably won't add to what you already know, but if I can help, let me know.  Stuart Park
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Offline popawheelie

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Thanks for engaging Stuart. In NZ Glass Angela writes that the glass at Penrose is (present tense?) made using silica sand from the far north. She tells us that from 1922 to 1927 the factory only produced amber beer bottles until they got their second furnace in 1927 and expanded. The particular jar Im looking into is an amber glass jar from the (i think) 1940s. My assumption is that the sand in the early days may have come from somewhere closer to home. I don't know much about glass making, but wonder why you'd pay for those transportation costs for silica sand from the far north, only to make amber glass. Any thoughts?

Offline gaspy1

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The answer will be in the chemistry of the sand, rather than its colour.  Do you know James' Macks account of going with his father to the night shift at Penrose, where he worked.  As a 10year old James went to the factory and was fascinated to see the workers “pluck red hot beer bottles from the production line and fashion them into things fantastical.  Their best efforts were swan ashtrays, sensitively conceived but crudely rendered."

Some of the "fantastical" ashtrays I have are beer bottle brown, but some are clear. 
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Offline Anne

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I have a very small amount of information, gathered in my collecting of NZ Glass history. I've got more on Christchurch than Penrose, nothing on Agee jars, and it probably won't add to what you already know, but if I can help, let me know.  Stuart Park

Stuart I've removed your email address from your post to prevent it being picked up by spambots that crawl the board. You have the email me function enabled in your profile, so anyone wanting to email you can click on the wee envelope below your name and send you an email that way safe from spammers.
Cheers! Anne, da tekniqual wizzerd
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Offline Anne

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Hi popawheelie and welcome to the board.  Just on the off chance that there was something, I've had a look through Angela's NZ Glass 4th Edition as well but it doesn't have anything more than the 2nd Edition does on the Auckland Bottle Works. 

There is a wee bit about the early days of Penrose on the MOTAT website here https://www.motat.nz/collections-and-stories/stories/preserving-time and another wee snippet here https://kiwiiconz.tripod.com/bottle_&_glass_works.htm, whilst the National Library of NZ has 8 items relating to the ABW in its catalogue search here https://natlib.govt.nz/records/23513705, and a blogger here has a long and interesting page with lots of photos of Agee products in an article on bottling https://longwhitekid.wordpress.com/category/australian-glass-manufacturers-co-ltd-agm/

There is also a news article here which supports what Stuart said above re the chemistry of the sand https://www.nzgeo.com/stories/looking-into-glass/ and an archived version of the previous company website is on the Way Back Machine on archive.org - see http://web.archive.org/web/20170406102036/http://recycleglass.co.nz/o-i-new-zealand/history/ which also links to this video on YouTube https://youtu.be/glYAqhR7794 about the Penrose glassworks.

You may have already found all the above, but just in case you haven't I'm adding them for interest / cross-reference. I hope some of it may be useful.
Cheers! Anne, da tekniqual wizzerd
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Offline popawheelie

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Thanks for your help. I had seen most of those items, but appreciate your efforts! I wondered if it was possible for me to email Angela?

Offline popawheelie

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Anne, do you know how I can get hold of the 3rd / 4th editions of the NZ Glass book? Thank you,
Sarah

Offline Anne

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Hi Sarah, the 4th edition is an eBook, not a printed one, and is available directly from Angela. Drop me an email directly and I'll forward it onto Angela for you.  (Click the wee envelope under my name on the left).
Cheers! Anne, da tekniqual wizzerd
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