Granite State Stories: First glass factory in New England 

  • Blown glass bottle produced at the New England Glassworks in Temple, circa 1780-81. The paper label reads, “This bottle was made at a glass factory in Temple, N. H. said to be the first in America. Donated by Rev. H.F. Hill, Jan. 11, 1899.” Courtesy of the New Hampshire Historical Society

Published: 9/20/2018 8:39:43 AM

In 1780, Boston entrepreneur Robert Hewes established the New England Glassworks in Temple, the first factory in America to produce crown glass, which was an early type of window glass.

At the time, the New England Glassworks was the only glass factory operating anywhere in New England, and the only one that began producing glass during the Revolutionary War to make up for British glass imports that were no longer available.

Although Hewes’s factory stopped operating in 1782 due to financial problems, it was the forerunner of the development of the glass industry in southwestern New Hampshire in the early 1800s, including prominent glassworks in Lyndeborough, Stoddard and Keene. The industry benefited from the area’s abundant forests and clear, fine sand, both of which were necessary resources for glassmaking.

New Hampshire
Historical Society

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