Mixed Batch - July 1958 page 06-11

Mixed Batch – 6 – James A. Jobling & Co. Ltd. July 1958
©2007 Glass-Study.com

W. H. Hooper, Executive Director responsible for production and factory expansion
in conference with some of his senior staff.


Executive Director
Work Study
Factory Expansion Department
Production Procedures Dept.
Work Study    
Plant & Services
Production Control  
Drawing Office
(Chief Draughtsman)
(Experimental Engineer)
Products Factory

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Mixed Batch – 7 – James A. Jobling & Co. Ltd. July 1958

Someone has an idea to make something and then provides the means to make it. Somebody wants what is made, so more is produced. This is the germ, the start of the matter.

Soon it is called ‘manufacturing’, and help is needed — another pair of hands, and another, and another; more tools, more machinery, more new ideas; until, in a hundred years, the original has become only a part — the Production Division, in fact — of a complex and vital organisation.

The Production Division of Joblings today is an example of such a growth, the result of individual endeavour by its employees from day to day throughout the years. I say result, but that suggests an outcome, an end, and so the term is not really appropriate, because the Production Division, like its colleagues, is actively progressing and will continue to do so. Joblings are still enlarging upon the germ of an idea that began in 1858. Who knows what progress lies in the forthcoming years — in the next century?

Executive Director for Production
and Factory Expansion


The Engineering Works offers its heartiest congratulations to the Wear Flint Glass Works on its Centenary.

This section probably more than any other, can be proud of its progress and its influence on the development and expansion of the company. This expansion has been mainly in the last 38 years which is well within the memory of some of our older members, one of whom can recall the days of 1907 when the engineering section consisted of some five machines, and a staff of five men, a foreman and about half dozen boys, whose main function was to polish moulding equipment. The foreman, Mr. Greener, submitted designs made in plaster of paris for articles and when these were approved, designed and had the moulding equipment made to produce the glass.

With the advent of PYREX Boro-Silicate glass in the early twenties it soon became evident that with an expanding business new techniques must be introduced and experiments in automatic pressing were commenced. As production increased so did the mould requirements grow proportionally. The introduction of multi-station presses and the advent of interchangeability required a higher standard of mould making. We were introducing a new industry to this area and hence the type of skilled labour required was not available; such were the circumstances that an Apprentice Training section for mould making was formed. The type of work used in the training of apprentices included moulds for the automatic manufacture in Flint glass of decorative candlesticks, rabbit style jelly moulds, handled sugars and creams, etc. The experience gained from this type of production proved invaluable during the subsequent development of the PYREX Oven-ware range.

The development of the Engineering Works continued up to and during the 1939-45 War during which period a large proportion of its capacity was devoted to the manufacture of equipment for the war effort, in addition to having to maintain the needs of both Flint and PYREX glass works.

Post war demands for PYREX Ovenware were such that they could not be met by the existing manufacturing capacity, and it was evident that a further expansion was essential if we were to take advantage of the market. Pressware factory was then built which was indicative of the farsightedness and bold policy of the management.

With revolutionary changes in glass production methods, a more technical approach had to be adopted for the manufacture of the glass forming equipment, and to achieve this each individual part had to be redesigned, drawn in detail and standards of limits and tolerances introduced. A large amount of capital had to be invested in modern high speed machine tools, measuring equipment, etc. Long term planning had to be encouraged, all of which must keep pace with the phenomenal growth of sales which now included the new product ‘OPAL’.

We look forward to a continued policy of expansion and progress which is reflected in the forthcoming extension to the Engineering Works.

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Mixed Batch – 8 – James A. Jobling & Co. Ltd. July 1958


One hundred — NOT OUT.

According to the records, we have been pressing glass for a hundred years, at times efficiently and sometimes otherwise.

This activity only became significant when the manufacture of PYREX Ovenware commenced about 1922. Since then, the development of pressware has continued at an ever-increasing rate, culminating in the birth of the Pressware Factory in 1948.

First known as “Leopold Street”, it was simply an offshoot of “Main Works”, until it gained full status and recognition as the “Pressware Factory” in 1955.

What of the past?

Who recalls those momentous years, the early twenties, what characters come to mind? Old Mr. Davis, the Timekeeper, a veritable St. Peter, clocking you in. Old Campbell carving details of content and destinations on cask-ends. The language master — Tom Donaldson — what a linguist!

Passing these outposts, one came upon a hive of industry, glassware of every colour being fashioned by craftsmen — Geordie Worthy Snr., Hughie Duckworth, Hughie Hughes and Jim Casey, to the lilt of popular tunes, sung with gusto by all and sundry. This was surely the forerunner of “Music while you work”, and probably more beneficial.

What drinkers they all were, both on and off the job. Many of our present Pressers being engaged as boys, “carrying-in” (beer) and “carrying-off” (glass) — a full time job.

And the lehrs, no complex air circulation to worry about and anything up to twelve shops in one lehr, the annealing being controlled by such old stalwarts as Bompa Ferguson, Tatcher Emmerson and Bill Ferry. The furnaces were not the only things to be teased by Bob Ellison, Bill Donkin and Charlie Johnson. Tom Scales and Jim Melvin looking after both pot filling and emptying, under the guidance of that master of all trades — Gentleman Jim Andrews, who supervised the building of the first glass tank and many others to follow, ably assisted by Tom Houston, Robin Forster, Fred Sedgwick and Rocky Davis.

Yes, it was hard work, but they had their fun. Jimmie Ritchie, that pioneer of welfare activity, organised outings and other diversions. Sunder-land had a football team in those days — yet another memory.

Hand presses soon gave way to new semiautomatic presses, soon to be replaced by an automatic press and feeder. It was Bert Branthington who operated the first feeder, assisted by George Streets, a present day senior Press Operator. How many million articles has George made?

So much for the past.

What of the present ?

Expansion has been the keyword of recent years. Who would have thought that the introduction of Opalware some three years ago, would be so significant? The installation of extra modern process plant has necessitated moving the walls outwards, wherever possible.

Today, our collection of lehrs must be unique — Chud, Schreider, K.T.G., Cobel‑Comex and Dobbing — a veritable “Entente-cordiale”.

Tank rebuilding has now been reduced to six weeks, further proof of progress. At the time of going to print, we are bringing up No. 5 Tank with Opal glass of Corning composition, yet another milestone along the road of progress.

Apart from the many advantages which accrue, it will enable Roy Brown to put into practice some of the “tricks of the trade” that he learnt when over at Charleroi.

Where are the characters of today? They still exist but are partially overshadowed by team work without which we could not have progressed.

What of the future ?

Apart from revealing the characters and personalities of today it will present a challenge to each and every employee.

We must accept this challenge and go forward to more significant years than any that have gone before.

We extend a welcome to all newcomers and request their undivided co-operation in making this factory the most efficient production unit in the company. P.G.T.


The history of glass working is very ancient, probably dating back 4,000 years, but the history of bench or lampworking of glass is much more recent. During the 16th and 17th centuries the main centre of glassworking was in Venice, with smaller centres in France and Germany, and the working of the glass at the furnace was developed to a high level, particularly in artistic and decorative glassware. The glass apparatus used by


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Mixed Batch – 9 – James A. Jobling & Co. Ltd. July 1958

the chemists of this period was produced by chairmen at the furnace, and while a high degree of skill was shown it was not ‘lampworking’ as we know it today.

While the chemists of this period were using glass apparatus with long necks approximating to a tubular form, glass tubing does not appear to have been drawn much before the middle of the 17th century, and at that time available blowlamps were very primitive, and most of the subsequent working and shaping of the tubing was done by softening in some sort of furnace usually heated by charcoal.

The thermometer appears to be one of the earliest glass instruments produced by lamp-working and consisted of a bulb about 1” diameter with a stem 12” long open at the end. This instrument was devised about the same time as tubing was first drawn, and operated by barometric pressure. It was not until the end of the 17th century that skill in lampworking had advanced enough to make a completely sealed thermometer which was independant of barometric pressure.

Whilst the early development of tube drawing and subsequent working took place in Italy it appears it was also being made in Thuringia in Germany in 1643, and France in 1665. From these dates it can be said that lampworking of glass tubing has a history of 300 years.

During the 18th century great advances were made in the sciences of chemistry and physics, but the sources of supply of the lampblown apparatus necessary for this work were very few, and this position lead to many scientists making their own glass apparatus.

As a result of the progress in chemistry and physics during this period the early part of the 19th century saw some rapid developments in lampworking in Europe and to some extent in America, as a certain amount of chemical glassware including thermometers and hydrometers was being manufactured in Philadelphia as early as 1785.

One of the earliest Apparatus dealers in England was J. J. Griffin & Sons who were established in 1826, and in an early edition of their catalogue listed the following as glassblowing equipment

Cat. No. 233.
Dangers improved glassblowers lamp of tinplate, with arrangement for altering the size and height of the wick and hood to prevent smoke, increase the heat, and keep the flame from the operator’s eyes. Complete with tray to catch overflowing oil.        Price 4/6d. each.

In 1864 Amory Houghton in America purchased an interest in the South Ferry Glass Works, Brooklyn, New York, and operated this plant until 1868 when he moved the equipment to the town of Corning in New York State and established the Corning Flint Glass Works.

In 1915 Corning started to produce Ovenware made from a borosilicate glass, which was given the trade name of PYREX. The properties of this glass were soon found to be suitable for chemical apparatus, so production of beakers and flasks was started at Corning in 1916. Soon after this date, PYREX tubing was produced for lampworking, and quickly proved far superior in its heat and chemical resistance properties than any other glass.

The art of lampworking in England is comparatively recent and started with the regular production of clinical thermometers. This thermometer was invented by an Englishman named Aitken and was made by L. Casella in London soon after 1870. Other types of thermometers followed, but the manufacture was only on a small scale compared with the U.S.A. and Thuringia. The tubing for these thermometers was imported from Germany until the Tomey Bros, and Messrs. Powells of Whitefriars commenced manufacture in England.

Apart from thermometers, very little scientific glass was made in England before 1914.

The cessation of imports in 1914 altered the picture entirely and placed this country in a very difficult position for supplies of chemical and scientific glassware and during the early part of the 1914-18 war assistance was obtained from Belgium and French suppliers, until glass manufacturers in England could develop sufficiently to meet demands.

Among the first to commence manufacturing beakers, flasks and tubing in England were Wood Bros, of Barnsley, John Moncrieff of Perth and Duroglass in London. They were soon followed by James A. Jobling who started production of PYREX glass in 1922.

Lampworking and the production of PYREX apparatus did not start in quantity until the early part of the 1930’s when James A. Jobling decided to start a department for producing glass apparatus by lampworking from tubing.

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Mixed Batch – 10 – James A. Jobling & Co. Ltd. July 1958
©2007 Glass-Study.com ©2007 Glass-Study.com ©2007 Glass-Study.com
MR. WILLIAM MOYLE, in the new Refractories Factory. 12 years service. Favourite hobby: fishing, particularly in the winter. Other hobby — typically a fisherman’s — a pint. AUDREY HARRISON, 14 years in the Apparatus Factory. Single but not prepared to remain that way. Expensive tastes: likes Drambuie. PETER McCLUSKY. Hand presser with 40 years service. Two children and two grandchildren. Watches football and used to play football for the Company, and likes a pint.

From that date when only four persons were employed it has developed into the present Apparatus Factory, which is about the largest outside America.

James A. Jobling, during the later part of the 100 years it has been in existence, have supplied glass apparatus or material for initial experiments on practically every major development in the last 25 years. For instance the original experiments on tubes and cameras for television was done on material supplied by James A. Jobling, and the radar system used during the second world war was generally equipped with bulbs produced in the Apparatus factory, at the rate of several thousand weekly.

The heat resisting property of PYREX tubing also made it possible to produce larger pieces of glass apparatus than was possible before, and difficulties experienced in handling large pieces of tubing for lampworking led to the development of lathes or similar machines for this purpose. The production of glass pipe line in England was developed by James A. Jobling’s apparatus factory, and the demand became so great that a separate division had to be created and a new producing unit equipped. It was the installation in 1942 of the Woods updraw tubing machine, which had been developed by Corning that made it possible to produce glass pipe line (which had previously relied on mould blown cylinders) in large quantities in England, and one of the first large installations was a bank of acid coolers which used approximately 12 miles of 2” bore pipe line, and was required for the production of Magnesium for incendiary bombs.

Some of the major projects for which either lampworked or lathe worked PYREX tubing have been used in the initial experiments and also for the production, are atomic energy, Zeta, television, radar, and jet propulsion. Also in the medical field Penicillin, mepocreve, anti-polio and anti-diphtheria vaccines.

It is interesting, therefore, to note the advances made in the production of glass apparatus, particularly in Europe by James A. Jobling who have the Turret chain blowing machine, Updraw and horizontal tube machines, large and small glass-blowing lathes and high frequency sealing. Many methods have been changed since the production by lampworking of the first thermometer, but all have assisted in the rapid advancement of medical and technical knowledge of today.

A. G. Thacker

With acknowledgement to S. J. Davies, Esq.
of A. Gallenkamp & Co. Limited, London.


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Mixed Batch – 11 – James A. Jobling & Co. Ltd. July 1958


Being Centenary year of the firm, it is worth noting that this factory was the original “Glasshouse” one hundred years ago. We are proud of the fact that from such a humble start, we should produce a growing concern as this firm is certainly today.

Looking back over the years, when Jackie Fairburn and Jimmy Casey were making opalique and tortoiseshell ware, I wonder what they would have said then, if anyone had forecast what these works would be — I don’t suppose they would have believed it. Talking of old times, what a difference in the technique nowadays — machinery has taken over considerably: the “melters” have disappeared now, also “sticker ups”, leaving now only “gatherers”, “pressers” and’ ‘turner outs”.

You know, Flint Factory has certainly had its share of long service, indeed, still has, such as G. Worthy, Jim Barnes, J. B. Smales and Jim Smith, and among the girls Alice Brown, E. Foster and May Wright, who are still with us and likely to be for some time yet.

An interesting note here regarding old times: clocking in, as such, was non-existent, but a big bell used to summon people to work and if they weren’t in when the bell went, then they weren’t allowed to start. However, times have changed and we have streamlined clocks and are allowed two to three minutes grace, but of one thing I am certain, timekeeping has not improved by any means! Give me the good old days.

However, the past is behind, what of the future? As regards this factory, there are talked-of improvements, but how, what and when, we do not know. But come what may, they will be very welcome, as conditions could be much better, especially when there are so many developments taking place all around us, we do feel like the orphans we are.

A few words regarding production, to complete this letter, although domestic ware and tumblers are now out, we are kept busy with other lines; Headlamp glasses, Signal glasses and Industrial ware. The semi-auto boys, J. Leonard, S. Black, J. D. Smales and W. Hood, being kept especially busy with Lucas lenses — as is often said here, “Where do all these lenses go to”, we know there are more cars than ever on the road, but at the rate we produce them, every working man should have one, (if he could afford it!)



Since the last issue of “Mixed Batch”, we have had S. Hunter, D. Lee and R. Hart back from the forces. The best of luck lads.

Congratulations to C. Easton on his appointment as Specification Officer. Cyril, who has just returned from his National Service, made quite a name for himself in the forces as a sportsman. He played tennis at Wimbledon for an R.A.F. team, and also won a number of trophies in other of his sporting activities.

During his National Service, Ray Hart took up athletics and very soon was a “crack” runner, so famous that the local paper devoted a full length column to Ray and his achievements.

After a lot of persuasion, we managed to get Ray to give us his impressions of National Service and we hope to print these in a later issue.

The Apparatus Factory Male Voice Choir was in good voice during the visit of the Sunderland Football team. Unfortunately the rendering of “Down and down we go” was not appreciated by the players.

Miss Ivy Foster of the Inspection Department and Mr. Alan Dale of the Apparatus Factory have announced their engagement. We offer them both our sincere wishes for their future happiness and have had a poem specially written for the occasion:

Bring out your bunting and lets be gay,
    For Ivy and Alan have named the day.
The bug of love has bitten them both
    And lo and behold, they’ve plighted their troth.

Their love is a beacon that shines from afar,
    Like a lighthouse at sea, or a falling star.
It burns in their hearts and kindles a flame
    And very soon Ivy will change her name.

Their stolen moments at lunch by the lehr
    And their whispered “sweet nothings” of words so dear

Have led to that moment of sweet happiness,
    The day when she stands in her flowing wedding dress.

So Alan and Ivy, best wishes from us all!
    And may all your troubles be very small.

The A.F. Football team were defeated in the first round of the departmental competition. This defeat, however, has only made the lads more eager to excel on other sporting fields. Consequently, we have twelve teams in the Bowls Tournament. We feel that this year, one of our teams can win this competition and we say this without bias (sorry) jack or wood.

Mrs. D. Bell and Mr. T. Blackburn have been off work for a number of weeks owing to ill health. We hope that they will both soon enjoy good health.

It was pleasing to note that the A.F. poet and the A.F. cartoonist were mentioned in the Editor’s notes in the last issue. Does this mean immortal fame?

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