Hand-blown Domestic Glassware 10

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Hand-blown Domestic Glassware 105 1947

Appendix C

Excerpts from the Report on the Visit to the United States of a Delegation from the Working Party

The Delegation consisted of Dr. W. Maskill and Messrs. J. J. Breslin, G. Dunn, C. D. Stanier and a co-opted member, Mr. G. W. Stuart, of Messrs. Stuart and Sons, Ltd., Stourbridge, a member of the Design Sub-Committee of the Working Party.

Dr. Maskill and Mr. Breslin left ahead of the rest of the Delegation to attend the autumn meeting of the American Ceramic Society at Columbus, Ohio, on the 13th and 14th September, 1946. There they were very much helped in making arrangements for works visits by Professor W. E. S. Turner, F.R.S., who was delivering an address to the Society at the meeting. From Columbus, Dr. Maskill and Mr. Breslin went to Toledo and to Cleveland and then to Pittsburg, where on the 22nd September, 1946, they were joined by the rest of the Delegation. Works visits were made at all these centres.

The Delegation returned to New York, whence visits were made to factories at Millville, New Jersey, and Hartford, Connecticut.

In New York, too, visits were made to museums and retail stores, and contact was made with importers, buyers and wholesalers of glassware.

The Delegation left New York for England on the 14th October, 1946.

The following factories were visited during the trip:—

1. Hand-blown and Hand-pressed only
  Duncan & Millar Glass Co., Washington, Pa.
Fostoria Glass Co., Moundsville, W. Vir.
Corning Glass Works (interview only).
2. Mainly Automatic Factories at which there was some Hand-blowing or Pressing
  Libbey Glass Division, of Owens-Illinois Glass Co., Toledo, Ohio.
McKee Glass Co., Jeannette, Pa.
T. C. Wheaton Co., Millville, N.J.
3. Fully Automatic Factories
  Federal Glass Co., Columbus, Ohio.
Jeannette Glass Co., Jeannette, Pa.
4. Non-domestic Ware Factories
  American Window Glass Co., Arnold, Pa.
General Electric Co., Cleveland, Ohio.
Seaboard Glass Bottle Co., Pittsburgh, Pa.
The Machinery and Equipment Firms seen were —
  The Glapat Corporation, Zanesville, Ohio.
Amsler-Morton Division of Union Industries, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Frazier-Simplex Inc., Washington, Pa.
The Washington Mould, Machine & Foundry Co., Washington, Pa.
Drakenfeld & Co., Inc., Washington, Pa.
Hand-blown Domestic Glassware 106 1947
  The T. H. Sloan Co., Washington, Pa.
R. H. Dreshman & Sons, Homestead, Pa.
The Carborundum Co., Niagara, N.Y.
Sokol Glass Machinery Inc., Elmira, N.Y.
The Hartford-Empire Corporation, Hartford, Con.
Universities and Research Institutions visited were :—
  Pittsburg University, Pittsburgh, Pa.
The Mellon Institute, Pittsburg, Pa.
The Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus, Ohio.
Museums Having Glass Collections visited were :—
  Toledo Museum (Libbey Collection), Toledo, Ohio.
Metropolitan Museum, New York.
Museum of Modern Art, New York.


The value of the total output of domestic glassware in the United States in 1939 was about 40 million dollars; the average number employed in the industry during that year was 27,330. No separate figures are available showing the numbers employed in the hand-blown and pressed sections; the factories in these sections are comparatively small, rarely employing more than 750 workers.

The hand-blown and hand-pressed sections of the American industry have, as might be expected, a smaller output in quantity and in value than the auto­matic machine-made section. The following are the statistics for 1939 and 1945 respectively:—

  Kind No. of establishments Quantity 000’s Value $
1. Machine-made Tableware        
  Tumblers, goblets and barware 18   540,513 14,108,368
  Plates, dishes, cups and saucers 9   299,640 9,563,970
  Other tableware 15   215,114 4,693,760
2. Hand-pressed Ware        
  Tumblers, goblets and barware 14   15,663 2,400,011
  Plates, dishes, cups and saucers 8   15,447 1,583,646
  Other tableware 12   27,680 2,653,287
3. Hand-blown Ware        
  Tumblers, goblets and barware 20   34,586 3,863,000
  Other tablewareTO A C 13   6,309 1,155,458
1. Machine-made Tableware        
  Tumblers, goblets and other stemware 20   805,572 20,011,000
2. Hand-pressed Ware        
  Tumblers 16 { 4,284 498,000
  Goblets and other stemware { 4,044 763,000
  Plates, cups and saucers { 3,696 1,303,000
  Other tableware { 2,273,000
3. Hand-blown Ware        
  Tumblers 32 { 15,348 2,406,000
  Goblets and other stemware { 38,184 7,002,000
  Other tableware { 1,752 344,000

The data for 1945 are not strictly comparable with that for 1939; the figures for “other tableware” are not available for machine-made and hand-pressed ware. It is clear that production of machine-made tumblers and of blown tumblers

Hand-blown Domestic Glassware 107 1947

and stemware had increased substantially in 1945, whilst hand-pressed ware had diminished. From what we saw during our visit, we should expect the 1946 returns to show an increase over 1945, hand-pressed ware showing a larger proportionate increase than the other sections, with the return to normal production.

In the period 1935-38, U.S. consumption of hand-made domestic ware averaged about 16 million dollars, of which about 12 million represented home production, the remainder being imports.

The hand-blown section of the industry is largely concentrated in Ohio and West Virginia, which account for 15 of the 20 establishments making tumblers, etc. Its production is principally stemware made with a pressed stem and foot, or a pressed stem with hand-made foot.


A visitor to the United States, who expected to see everywhere modern factory buildings and layout and the most up-to-date processes and machines, would be very disappointed. All shades of difference such as we have at home, from the modern and well arranged to the old and unplanned or rambling, have counterparts in America. On the hand-blown side, one of the hand-blown works was an instance of an old factory which had been recon­structed to give a good layout. The glasshouse in this works was the finest pot-equipped shop seen. It was exceptionally airy and cool, due to the provision of a high Robertson-type ventilator roof and to the supply of air for cooling the workers and the ware from an annular duct surrounding and over each furnace. In this factory all the interior surfaces were kept well painted, extensive use being made of aluminium paint. Cleanliness extended to the rest of the factory, the good condition of the mould shop being particularly noted.

Most of the factories seen had plenty of space around them in which to develop, but less advantage seems to have been taken of this in the hand-made tableware section than might have been expected. This is probably due to the comparatively poor financial results it obtained before the war, owing mainly to foreign competition. When prosperity returned during the war, shortage of labour and materials led to reconstruction of old rather than the building of new shops. Building materials are still short, although extensive new building schemes recently completed or in progress were evident in several works.


(a) Composition

Sand. Extensive deposits of glass sand are found widely dispersed in the United States, much of it of high quality with low iron content. Local sand of less than 0.03 per cent. iron content was being used.

Soda Ash. Most of the domestic ware is of soda-lime glass, lead being used in general only in the manufacture of half-crystal stemware. Acute difficulty was being experienced all over the United States and Canada in getting adequate supplies of soda ash. There seems a definite prospect that the glass industry will continue to find itself in difficulties over the supply of this essential raw material. We had many enquiries about the possibility of obtaining supplies from the United Kingdom.

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Glass Compositions. (a) Lime Glass :
  15-16% Na2O, 9-10% CaO, 73-74% SiO2, with a small percentage of Al2O3, K2O and BaO.
  (b) Lead Glass :
  18-20 PbO, 12-13% Na2O/K2O, 66-68% SiO2

Decolourisers. For hand-blown tableware, manganese and manganese with nickel were used to decolourise the lime glass and the 18 per cent. lead half-crystal glass respectively. Neodymium was used also with manganese for this purpose.

(b) Storage

Silos were universally employed, the materials being delivered by rail in trucks from which they were raised into the silos by suction or by mechanical bucket elevators.

(c) Handling

Common practice was to release the various batch materials from the silos into a wheeled bin, incorporating an automatic weighing machine having a large dial on which the amount to be taken of each ingredient was marked. In one instance a belt conveyor took the material to the mixer.

(d) Mixing

Lancaster mixers were generally employed, with dust extractors, up to 2 cu. yards of material being mixed simultaneously. In one hand factory the materials passed from the mixer over a roller-type magnetic separator.

(e) Feeding

In the hand factories the mixed batch was transported on wheeled bins and fed by hand to the pots. In one automatic plant the handling from the silos to the mixer and from the mixer to the tanks was in metal tubs which were transported on power-driven trollies, which had hoists for raising the charge to the dog-house position.


(a) Fuels

Natural gas is used extensively for heating furnaces and glory holes. The gas supply had much to do with the location of glass works in Ohio and Pennsylvania. In Toledo free gas was at one time offered as an inducement to firms to go there. Local gas wells are, however, largely exhausted and the gas is now piped up from Texas, some 1,500 miles south. It provides a cheap extremely clean sulphur-free fuel of high calorific value, and is ideal for glass works’ use. The cost of natural gas was 1œd. per therm as against 2d. per therm for producer gas. Two of the factories visited, including one hand plant, used producer gas; it was considered to give a more reliable supply, natural gas supply falling off at times during the winter. Only one factory used oil fuel.

(b) Furnaces

(i) Pot. These were used in the hand factories for melting both half-crystal, 18 or 20 per cent. lead, glass and soda-lime glass.

One factory had a 16 and a 14-pot furnace natural gas fired, 20-minute cycle regenerative. Another had four 16 and one 12-pot furnace, producer

Hand-blown Domestic Glassware 109 1947

gas fired and regenerative. In the first instance each pot held 1,400 lbs. of usable glass, and melting took place thrice weekly. Ten pots were set aside for 18 per cent. lead glass, the remaining pots being used for soda-lime glass. The other factory used closed pots said to be of one-ton capacity, but looking much bigger. The pots averaged 2.7 firings per week with 13-14 weeks’ life. This factory is experimenting with open pots for melting 18 per cent. lead glass, and with Molochite pots cast in two parts. It is suffering very badly from cord and stones; before the war it used pots made from Grossalmerode clay from Germany, which is not now obtainable.

None of the firms visited made their own pots. These were obtained from specialist pot makers, of which there are only two left now in the country as against nine before the war, illustrating the decline in the use of pot furnaces.

(ii) Tanks. Small day tanks were installed in two of the factories visited. One factory was using two such day tanks, giving 4,000 lbs. of glass per day; another had two day tanks with “surface combustion” firing.

A variety of continuous tanks of from 2,200 tons total content down­wards were seen in operation. Very efficient use of the tanks was noted. In one instance a pull of 150-200 tons per day was being made on a tank of 500-600 tons capacity; Corhart was used in the side walls and the melting end in this tank.

We made extensive enquiries about the use of tanks for melting lead glass, but were unable to find any factories in which this had been done for high-grade domestic ware. One firm admitted that they were proposing to melt in tanks and are considering electric heating. Amongst other similar developments, the introduction by the Carborundum Company of the new refractory Monofrax MH made by fusing pure aluminium oxide has brought melting of lead glass in tanks much nearer to being a practicable proposition.

(iii) Lehrs. Various types were seen in operation, Amco, Frazier-Simplex, and Dixon Slat belt type. In one instance surface combustion lehrs were being used with good results.


(a) Hand-blown

Offhand work is being carried out, we were informed, by only one firm. We were told that the firm use a very high-grade glass of optical glass purity, the sand being purified by chemical means. Fabrication is by the usual methods. The extensive range of pieces in their showrooms in New York indicated that both the glass itself and the workmanship were of superb quality. The firm specialise in making very massive articles.

In only one factory was mould blown completely hand-made stemware seen being made on the Stourbridge lines. The pulled stem process was employed, the blower puffing up and pulling the stem before blowing the bowl in the mould with the aid of a mechanical boy. The soda-lime tank was surrounded by a platform on which stands the gatherer who gathers, marvers, and passes to the blower below, who blows in a paste mould with a mechanical boy, after first partly blowing out the bowl and drawing down the stem. The blower

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then hangs the iron on a rack from which it is removed by a transferrer, who passes it to the footmaker. The article is knocked off and passed to a burning-off machine, from which it passes to the lehr. Sixty-four men were employed round the furnace in 18 chairs, the bowl and stem chairs being known as the high and low chairs respectively. At another factory, tumblers and other process blown articles with figured lower ends were spun in a part still, part rotating, mould.

(b) Hand Machines

(i) Blown Ware. A 10-man chair is employed. The glass is gathered by the bowl gatherer (1), marvered, and blown in the paste mould by the blower (2) to give the bowl. The iron is then attached by the blower to a rotatable frame, which has four iron-supporting arms and which takes it to the pressing position, where the bowl is located above the press mould. The stem material is gathered by a stem gatherer (3), inserted in the mould and pressed up on to the bowl by the stem-presser (4). The iron is taken out by a transferrer (5) and handed to a warmer-in (6), who disposes of the waste metal at the bottom of the stem which he now reheats to receive the foot. This is made by the footmaker (7), supplied with metal by a footgatherer (8). The article passes to a foot setter (9), who sets the foot, and finally a taker-in (10), who deposits it in the lehr.

In a modification of this method, the bowl is detached from the iron, fitted upside down in the press, the stem being pressed on from above. An additional operator, a cracker-off, at the blowing-out station is included in the chair, which numbers 11. A high speed of production is maintained, the hand operator being, it appeared, speeded up by the urge to keep pace with the machine. The blower was timed producing five to six champagne bowls per minute. We were told the output was 350 per hour, the figure for the four-hour move being only 370 according to the agreement with the Union.

The stemware produced by this method was of high quality. Due to fire-polishing, it is only on very close inspection that the pressed origin of the stem is revealed, and where the pressed stem is of a type that is produced here by hand, the evidence of pressing is confined to traces of the mould joint at the top and bottom. The slight mould marks can be eliminated by suitable cutting of the stem and foot. The methods seem well worth considering for introduction into this country as a supple­ment to, not as a substitute for, present methods, possibly in a new unit in the Stourbridge area or elsewhere. It may be found possible to replace the hand blowing by employing one of the semi-automatic machines available in the United States, producing an article superior to that made in the fully automatic Libbey process, but not quite as good as the hand-made article. Such goods should find a ready market amongst the better class caterers, railways, steamship companies, etc.

(ii) Pressed Ware. The manufacture of hand-pressed domestic ware of a quality much superior to that produced here is practised extensively in the United States. Hand finishing of the ware after pressing is very common, giving much improved results. Manipulation of pressed articles to enable a variety of shapes to be produced from one article is also

Hand-blown Domestic Glassware 111 1947

widely employed. Thus, a vase was seen being manipulated to give a dish, and a deep and a shallow bowl respectively.

All presses were hand-operated by a side lever, with hot moulds oil-swabbed. For ordinary pressed ware a 4-man chair was used — gatherer, presser, taker-out, taker-in. Where hand finishing was used, the chair consisted of six persons — gatherer, presser, transferrer, warmer-in, finisher or manipulator and taker-in. Footed ware was being pressed with a cupped foot which was then opened out. For a pressed goblet a 7-man chair was employed — gatherer, presser, firepolisher for foot, foot finisher, firepolisher for bowl, bowl finisher, taker-in. Careful attention is paid to the design of the mould for the pressed article which is subsequently to be altered by manipulation. A cast iron “post” or pontil is used for holding the article in the glory hole whilst reheating after pressing, and during the subsequent manipulation. A very important feature of the production of pressed ware was the highly finished surface obtained, with elimination of mould, etc., marks, by the hand and fire finishing employed. The shaping is carried out by the manipulator or finisher on the same principle as for hand-made ware, except that a broader tool is used.

This is a type of production which could well be introduced into our lead crystal ware factories, and would enable a much wider range of articles to be offered. Glass plates are used very widely in America and are produced as hand-finished and manipulated pressed goods. Pressers should be trainable in a much shorter time than blowers, and only in the case of the manipulators need it be necessary to call on the services of any of the skilled workers in the hand section.

The hand-operated presses seen in use had, so far as could be seen, no new features.

(c) Automatic Machines

(i) Semi-automatic Machines in which the Glass is Blown on the Iron in a Paste Mould. Apart from the Dreshman and possibly the Swissvale machine, there seems little hope of getting early delivery of any of these machines for testing out here. It would seem worth while acquiring a sample Dreshman machine here for trying out. Possibly one of our manufacturers may be prepared to purchase one and let the others have the results of the experiment, or the manufacturers may be willing to put up the money between them and have the machine tested out in one of the Stourbridge or other works.

Two uses appear possible for the small semi-automatic machines, provided, of course, that ware of sufficiently high quality can be produced in them. One would be to take over the production of tumblers and release skilled men for making stemware and other higher-class goods. The other would be to use them in combination with a press for stem and foot, for making semi-automatic stemware.

(ii) Fully Automatic Machines

(a) Libbey Stemware Process. Since 1938 stemware has been made automatically by Libbey Glass Division of Owens-Illinois at Toledo, Ohio. In the first year of full-scale working, results were

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unsatisfactory, but difficulties were overcome and the process is now in operation, producing articles of excellent quality. Soda-lime glass is employed.

(b) The 24-head Westlake Machine. Amsler-Morton are now building what they state to be a modernised version of the well-known Westlake machine, and the first delivery was expected to be made in about three months’ time.

(c) The Hartford 28-Machine. This machine was seen in use making tumblers, and machines were seen in course of construction at Hartford. It is a continuously rotating 12-head machine with an output of 50-60 half-pint tumblers per minute. A four-head version may be produced.

(d) The Hartford I.S. Machine. Capable of making containers in a wide range of sizes, this machine is used extensively in the United States. It is produced in 1, 2, 4, 5, 8 and 10-section sizes. No rotating mechanism is provided nor is its introduction pro­jected although it is covered by patents. The machine has therefore no interest to us except in so far as it can be used as a press. Two single units were seen at one factory in use as stopper-presses, being fed by hand gathering from two pots. The units used automatic shearing, transfer and take-out.

The Hartford I.S. machine in single unit form, hand fed, used as a press, would be worth considering, if it be decided to expand production to cover pressed goods. Other types of automatic presses with hand gathering or automatic feeding were seen in operation in various works.

(e) The Knox W.D. container machine was seen under construction at the works of the Washington Mould, Machine and Foundry Co., and installed, though not operating at the time of our visit, at one factory. It is a 10-head machine making up to 55 containers of 30 oz. capacity per minute.

(f) The Ribbon Machine. Corning use this machine for blowing tumblers and samples seen indicated that excellent quality can be obtained. The output is, however, so great — up to 1,000 per minute — as to rule it out of consideration so far as this enquiry is concerned.

Of the automatic paste mould machines, only the four-head Hartford 28 would seem to be of any interest to us.


(a) Fire Finishing

Very extensive use of this process is employed and excellent results are obtained. The much better finish noted, particularly in the case of pressed ware, is largely due to the fire finishing. In a typical installation in one hand factory, the machines were made by A. B. Knight, of Fairmont, W. Va., and were some­what similar in construction to an edge melting machine. Shaping was in some instances simultaneously effected, the article being softened sufficiently to allow it to settle down to the shape of the former, in which it was being carried.

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Glapat Corporation produce a single-head machine — oil or gas fired— having a capacity of 15 articles of up to 8 in. diameter per minute. Maximum capacity is 30 per minute. Oil consumption is not over 10 gallons per hour. A flanging or shaping attachment with cast iron or carbon heads can be fitted.

The introduction of fire finishing for the purpose of removing surface defects and imparting a highly glazed surface to the ware merits attention; the small units such as are produced by Glapat are entirely suitable for use in small factories.

(b) Burning Off

The large manufacturers employ burning off for all their automatic production, but in the hand factories this process is not used. Unless the process can be modified to give a straight in place of a beaded edge it is of little interest here. Many enquiries were made as to the possibility of eliminating the bead.

One machinery manufacturer, Eldred, was confident that the bead could be avoided with the process slowed down and the tit run off, the moil being twisted. He was making a single-head burning-off machine on which the article was treated inverted. Capacity was up to 12 per minute. The fuel used was natural gas and oxygen.

Glapat are producing a single-head machine having a capacity of 8 per minute in which the article is treated right side up. The tit is said to be disposed of in the flame and no bead produced. Natural gas and oxygen are used for heating.

Amsler-Morton also make a single-head machine in which the article is held by a chuck in the inverted position. The bead is reduced, but not elimin­ated, by drawing the article up from the burner.

The T. H. Sloan Co/have produced a burning-off machine and are working on a design to combine it with a press for stems and feet. Mr. Sloan pointed out that the bead is caused by surface tension. He thought the use of two rollers to roll it off was the solution, but was not sure if it would work.

(c) Cracking-off, Grinding and Melting

Nothing of exceptional interest was noted in the cracking-off operations seen. One hand factory was employing horizontal scoring on an ordinary table with a “Carbaloy” tool. It had also rotary hand-fed machines which automatically scratched and cracked off.

For edge grinding 3-head horizontal Kutcher-type machines were in use.

Time of contact with the wheel was as low as four seconds. The grinding shops were noticeably quiet. One factory used a grinding machine of its own design having 24 heads with horizontal carborundum wheels, the ware being held in 3-jawed spring loaded chucks.

Edge-bevelling was done by hand on the inside and outside by one hand firm.

Edge melting was carried out in very large machines mechanically driven without control for individual articles. One hand firm was using A. B. Knight equipment with a melting flame, and a soft flame for annealing, each in four 5 feet sections. Twelve to twenty articles could be treated per minute. Natural gas was employed for heating, but a butane supply was laid on in case of failure.

Marks left by the iron post on pressed ware were in one instance removed on rotating 150-mesh carborundum stones up to 2œ feet in diameter. The stones were trued by traversing a single or multiple diamond over the surface. The material of the stones was of very open structure with a very soft bond. The

Hand-blown Domestic Glassware 114 1947

articles were next finished off on cork wheels built up of annular strips and fed by hand with pumice in water.

(d) Decorating

(i) Cutting. In the United States, decoration by cutting has not the appeal it has here. Only a comparatively small proportion of production is decorated in this way, and the quality of the workmanship seen in the works visited was poor judged by our standards. The amount of cutting applied to each article was small. One firm aimed to limit the cutting to five minutes per article and another concentrated mostly on intaglio. The cutting was done on manufactured stones of up to 10 in. diameter used in two 1Πin. plain bearing unit lathes with 10 step pulleys and flat belt drive. Most of the cutters seen in one factory were girls.

There are quite a number of independent cutting shops in the United States, using hand or automatically manufactured blanks, and some of these produce cutting of more intricate design and higher quality.

(ii) Sand Blasting. This was seen being carried out in graduated relief at one hand factory. Masking tape is employed, segments of tape being removed in specified order so as to give gradation in depth.

(iii) Etching. This method of decoration was extensively employed, especially for stemware, in the hand factories. It is usually carried out by applying ink transfers made on an engraved plate, and filling in with wax. In one instance, the etching shop was a large one and was kept very clean. The ware was transported in metal trays on roller conveyors. After etching the wax coating was removed by a shower of boiling water which carried away the molten wax which was recovered. Washed ware was dried and polished in sawdust baths.

(iv) Enamelling. A high proportion of the mass-produced domestic ware, especially tumblers, is decorated by enamelling — often in two or more colours — by the silk screen process. One automatic firm, for example, endeavour to sell as much as they can of their tumbler production decorated, since it brings in more money. Only hand-operated enamelling machines were seen. Amsler-Morton have developed a stainless steel and bronze screen. Detergent-resistant enamels have been developed which, it is claimed, will last as long as the glass. Underfiring was noted; one factory used a lehr temperature of under 560º C.

Some application of enamels by spraying was seen. In one instance, the ware was treated, in open booths with good extraction, with sprays from two air guns rising and falling; the ware was carried through on rotating tables.

Metal banding was also seen, one excellent example being on ribbon machine-made tumblers.


Thorough testing was in evidence at the automatic plants. In the case of one automatic factory tests were made every hour for thermal shock; tests were also made for annealing and of glass composition and density from the feeder. One of the hand plants employed two glass technologists who were engaged on physical and chemical testing of raw materials, refractories, glass and finished ware.

Hand-blown Domestic Glassware 115 1947


(a) Layout, including Handling

Extensive warehousing space was provided, especially in the case of the automatic factories. In one of the most modern works seen the main ware­house floor was raised so that packages could be wheeled direct on to lorries and railway trucks.

The general practice is to pack undecorated and enamelled ware direct from the lehrs into cartons. For movement of the cartons to the warehouse and for dispatch, power-driven trucks with hoists were employed in the larger works.

(b) Selection of Orders

In one hand factory, the finished ware arrived in the warehouse in boxes numbered according to the article they contained. The boxes were stacked on an extensive series of racks, the ware being selected from the boxes when orders were being made up.

(c) Packing

The mass-production firms invariably used cartons even where sets of articles were being packed. In one instance, an 18-piece set was being packed on the belt system, using a line of 35 girls each of whom contributed an item or items to the make up.

Of the hand firms, one used both cartons and wooden barrels, but another employed only a standardised octagonal cardboard carton, with hay or wood wool as packing material.

One factory made its own cartons, but the others purchased them from carton makers. Supplies were difficult due to shortage of board.

(d) Dispatch

Most goods are removed by rail, the packages being transferred from the warehouse direct into railway wagons on adjacent sidings.


The first of the hand firms seen had at the factory a reasonably good show­room which was due for rebuilding. Their chief sales aid was a twenty-page booklet entitled “How to Buy Glassware.” This booklet was written by a woman with many magazine connections, which were of course quoted in the introduction, America being possibly more addicted to home magazines than any other country.

The booklet is devoted entirely to ensembles for every meal and social occasion. The ensemble is a common feature of American life. A great deal of thought was put into the arrangement of the tables illustrated. The photo­graphy was good and gave the impression that the glass was for use and not on exhibition.

The firm’s salesmen worked on similar lines to our travellers, displaying at stockrooms, at hotels and calling upon retailers only. National advertising was used, linking up with the booklets (1937). No attempt was made to fix retail prices, but a 100 per cent. margin on cost was generally adopted by retailers. The firm was developing “bent glass,” shallow plates, dishes, bowls,

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oblong and square, etc., with rounded corners. These pieces are usually sand­blasted with large-leaf patterns.

Another hand firm appeared to have gone about the selling of their glassware in a very thorough and efficient manner. A vice-president of the company is in charge of the Sales Department, and this overlaps with the Design Committee. The impression one got of this department was one of orderliness and good planning. The appointment of the office were modern and not over-lavish, and had been thought out as a related whole; they were not just a collection of makeshift furniture. Plans for different advertising campaigns were pinned to one wall, which was cork faced.

Trade and National Press advertising are employed, the emphasis being on magazines, as many as nine were being covered for the fall (autumn); in three cases full pages had been taken. Photography is of a high standard and is carried out by a leading New York photographer.

Salesmen (commercial travellers) were recruited, wherever possible, from men with retail experience. One factory with an excellent showroom, the finest seen at any of the works visited, owed this to much experiment with the aid of trained designers.

A lot of attention is given to the retailer, not only with regard to sales aids, but also as regards the education of his sales people. A 24-page Training Manual for selling more of the firm’s glassware is available. This is far from being dull and is indeed one of the firm’s most powerful sales promoters. It includes a “Study Programme,” which takes the form of a series of questions problems for the sales people.

For the small retailer there is also a stock list system which can be simply operated and is designed to prevent him running out of stock.

Another method of sales promotion is through the school teachers. A well-prepared and presented booklet has been distributed to 40,000 teachers, reaching some million and a quarter pupils; wall charts and loose leaves are issued as supplements to this from time to time. Colour and sound films have been made and exhibited in 16,000 schools. The Vice-President was particularly keen on this visual training, which he considered was a natural follow-on from visual training used during the war.

This firm employ a “hostess,” who answers correspondence from brides-to-be, newly-weds, etc., who write to her about the choice of the right glass, how to care for glass, polish it, and so on.

The firm deal only with retailers. They have a 50 per cent. mark up, i.e., a fixed selling price, and retailers disregarding it are refused further supplies. We were told that retailers welcomed branded goods, and that if his establishment warrants it a retailer can have a shop stocked with the firm’s products within his store, but it will be designed by the Design Department of the firm.

The general impression gained was that the magazines played a great part in the sale of glassware, and that there was a considerable demand for ensembles. Solid crystal fruits and animal forms and lamp work figures were to be seen in many shops. New York at least would appear glass-minded, and gives the impression that this will increase as long as something fresh is forthcoming. Practically everywhere the tumblers and stemware in use in hotels and restaurants were machine produced, with beaded edges. There seems to be a market for glassware of a grade somewhat below the usual type from Stourbridge, but definitely above the purely “utility” standard. Goods sold to the public boxed were only of the cheapest quality and would not be of interest to buyers of Stourbridge ware.