Mixed Batch - July 1958 page 24-36

Mixed Batch – 24 – James A. Jobling & Co. Ltd. July 1958


The season just ended must have been the best in the history of the club, yet fate decided that we should win no honours. Until the last month of the season the first team had beaten every top team from every league in the area. Also three teams which were top of their respective leagues in the Newcastle area. Ryhope C.W. and Whit-burn C.W. from the Wearside League were defeated 3-0 and 4-0. Then the club reached the first round proper of the Durham Challenge Cup an unusual performance for a club of our status. Though we went down to Stanley United it was only after a memorable 3-3 draw at the Grange. The team reached the finals of three cup competitions only to suffer the disappointment of losing all three. Unfortunately, we lost the services of three inside forwards for these games: two joined the forces and an injury to John Holey. In addition a serious congestion of matches had the team leg weary. The boys were glad to see the season end. However, these grand displays have sparked off a keen interest in the factory and we have some fine prospects for next season.

The departmental competition went off in good style with some grand games being played. The strong PYREX team were unlucky to meet the engineers on top form. Men of this match being Bob Smith, Engineers and Jack Lawler of Pyrex who played a blinder. The Research who were strongly fancied in some quarters went down to the strong bustling Staff team for whom Norman Howe played well in every match, not bad for a Rugby player.

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The Staff went on to reach the final only to lose 2-0 to the Engineers, but if Matt Gusty had not made that terrific save in the early stages the result might well have gone the other way.

In closing many thanks to everyone who helped to make the competition a success, especially the referees. L.H.

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Now that the fighting and scheming is done,
The game is over, the cup is won.
The Staff are feeling mighty blue —
Gentlemen-0 : Players-2.
Poor Matt Gusty couldn’t be keener.
In better form than dear Sabrina.
Big Lol, Parsons, Joe Grant too,
Gentlemen-0 : Players-2.
Still there’s time another year,
We’ll lose someday, don’t you fear,
So with the S.A. join the queue,
Gentlemen-0: Players-2.

Rt. Hon. M. Morrison (Foundry)


I hope this article is in time, before the magazine goes to press, as I want to record my thanks to all departments who have entered the Interdepartmental Knock-out. The entries total 26 and the number has gone beyond expectations. I have heard of some who were still considering, when the closing date was announced to these I must say I am sorry, but rules are not made to be broken, but kept.

J. Brown, Bowls Secretary

Page Twenty-four

Mixed Batch – 25 – James A. Jobling & Co. Ltd. July 1958


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The Centenary of

The Wear Glass Works


The home of Britain’s Pyrex

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Mixed Batch – 26 – James A. Jobling & Co. Ltd. July 1958
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{Glass-study.com – Pencilled note in margin of 27 indicating picture – “Frank and Eric – note the inevitable lump of “corrugate”! All blowers seem to feel naked without it!” Comment: Suggestion is that this is Frank Eisner and his son Eric but only a negative confirmation so far, making this unlikely.}

Mixed Batch – 27 – James A. Jobling & Co. Ltd. July 1958
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I hope our Chairman’s speculations about our development in the next decade will prove right. Certainly we have the opportunity and much of the wherewithal to progress. But times are increasingly competitive and our success can only be measured by the sum of our individual efforts. As a contributor points out, glass manufacture and our ability to make and sell it efficiently are dynamic. In a world that must rob itself of artificial barriers protecting the weak, we in Sunderland must accept the challenge and see to it that our renown as makers of glass grows not less. Our traditional business is not enough; we must put glass to new uses in the home and in industry.

May I at this historic stage in our corporate life, express on behalf of 2,700 of us now at Sunderland gratitude to those, however humble their task, who have brought our Company to its present estate and to assure those in London and Corning, that if ability to exert ourselves at all time can ensure success, then surely we shall succeed.

J A Cochrane Deputy Chairman and Managing Director


Mixed Batch – 28 – James A. Jobling & Co. Ltd. July 1958
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The factory of Hartley & Co c.1900. The glass business of Angus Greener — later to grow into the Joblings of to-day — was housed in the single building in the centre foreground.


Mixed Batch – 29 – James A. Jobling & Co. Ltd. July 1958

‘To see a world
in a grain of sand . . .’

This centenary celebrates a hundred years

in the life of a business and a tradition — perhaps the

most exciting hundred years in the history of glassware since

the day, 70,000 years ago, when the first natural

glass was found by man. For this centenary is a landmark in

the age of glass. A century ago in Victorian England glass

manufacture was in its infancy. Since those days

a phenomenal change has taken place, in science, in

industry, in the home. Glass is everywhere: and no small part

of it is Jobling’s glass. After a century of steady

development, Jobling’s is a great and ever-growing concern,

an integral part of the national economy, creating employment

for thousands. Its products, Pyrex chief among them, sell

throughout the world, and have found their way into

virtually every industry, every household in the country — a feat

which could not have been accomplished but for

the loyalty and endeavour of the men and women who,

throughout this century, have worked for the Company.


Mixed Batch – 30 – James A. Jobling & Co. Ltd. July 1958
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St. Peters Church, Sunderland


Mixed Batch – 31 – James A. Jobling & Co. Ltd. July 1958
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The grain of sand. . .

70,000 BC

The first known glass was discovered around this time. It was formed by sand and soda in the earth’s crust fusing together in the heat from volcanoes and creating the rough glass — obsidian. Stone Age Man fashioned knives and arrow heads from it.

3,000 BC

By this time, glass was being made by the Syrians, who used it for beads, and for decorating pottery. Egyptian glass-making technique was even more advanced with tin oxide being used to colour the glass white and copper-oxide to colour it red or green.

50 BC — AD 1

Glass was very precious until about 50 BC when the blowing iron was invented, probably in Alexandria. This may well have been the beginning of mass-production, for by AD 1 the Romans were making all kinds of glass household articles including bottles, dishes, plates, flasks, bowls and cosmetic jars.

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Mixed Batch – 32 – James A. Jobling & Co. Ltd. July 1958
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13th Century

Venice became the centre of the industry and produced the first pure, colourless glass — Cristallo, and the exquisite Venetian glass.

16th and 17th Century

Scientists took a hand in glass making and produced the first telescopic lenses and other optical glass. Perhaps even more important it was discovered, in England, that by adding lead-oxide (‘flint’) to the ‘batch’ (glass making mixture) a more brilliant, softer glass would be produced which was easier both to form and to decorate.


Historians differ about the dates when the present techniques of glass-making were developed in this country. There are two strong cases, one of which sites Worcestershire as the place where England’s glass-making industry was originated by Hugenot refugees in the 17th Century. But it is towards the other story, that gives credit to our native county, that we who now make glass in Sunderland incline . . .

— and to Sunderland

It is recorded that in 674 Abbot Benedict Biscop brought skilled Frankish workmen to Sunderland to make glass for the windows of the Monastery of St. Peter’s on the north bank of the Wear. It is probable, however, that these Frankish workmen took their glass-making secrets away with them: for 100 years later when the Abbot of Jarrow wanted windows for his monastery, he appealed to the Bishop of Mainz for a glass worker. The monks of Jarrow may have retained and passed on their knowledge of glass manufacture; at all events, glass-making slowly developed in Britain during the Middle Ages (there are very few examples of domestic glassware from this period, but many stained glass windows) and by 1698 the Sunderland Company of Glassmakers were flourishing on the banks of the Wear.


By 1851 Sunderland had nine glass manufacturers. From one of these small ‘artists in glass’ Wear Flint Glass Works descended: the company of this name being started by a

Mixed Batch – 33 – James A. Jobling & Co. Ltd. July 1958

Mr. Angus and a Mr. Henry Greener in 1858. It seemed to be a happy time to start such a business. In 1864 it was reported that ‘the manufacture of pressed glass has cheapened flint glass articles to such an extent that almost the poorest of the population may be supplied with elegant articles of domestic use, which a few years ago were far beyond their reach’. But Mr. Greener, like many others in his trade, had problems.


In the early 1860’s these comments were made by ‘a respectable flint glass manufacturer on impediments to progress by the trades unions amongst the workmen’ . . . “The glassmakers’ society orders the allowance of ‘drink money’, which is daily spent on intoxicating liquors. This induces unsteadiness in the men, and habitual inebriety. Apprentices and boys are encouraged to follow suit so that the evil is perpetuated. The master is powerless to prevent intoxication, for if the drink money is withheld the whole of the men strike work. The manufacturer is obliged to provide the men a certain quantity of molten materials to make into goods, but if they cannot, or will not work it must be ladled out as waste, and the employer must give the men more drink for ladling it . . .” Men, it seems, were a worry: money even more so. One of the most important of Mr. Greener’s products was marine lenses for Sunderland ship-builders. They sold well, but too cheaply. By 1877 Mr. Greener owed his banker over £9,000 and for this sum his Wear Works were mortgaged.


Soon, the Works were also in debt to James Augustus Jobling, a merchant of Newcastle, who had supplied their glass-making chemicals. In 1885 James Jobling took over the Wear Glass Works as a bad debt — for all its money troubles an active business, manufacturing by this time no fewer than 620 different shapes of domestic pressed-ware as well as bullseye lenses, pavement lights and marble tiles.

The stalwarts vanish — Joblings remain

But glass-making in Sunderland was at the beginning of a serious decline. One


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Mixed Batch – 34 – James A. Jobling & Co. Ltd. July 1958

famous Crown Glass Works failed in 1885. England’s largest plate glass manufacturers, whose enormous and adjacent factory rather made Mr. Jobling’s two-acre Wear Glass Works look like an outbuilding, ceased in 1896. Company after company vanished. Those that remained — including the Wear Glass Works — lived almost from hand to mouth, making a sad variety of Victorian bottles, glasses — glass pigs, furniture dumps, glass fish, door knobs and finger plates, inkwells...

He saw a world in a grain of sand

The turning point came when James Jobling persuaded his nephew Ernest Jobling Purser to join the Wear Glass Works. The salary James offered was 8s. 3d. a week — on the grounds, said James, that he could afford no more to one who knew nothing about the business! But opportunity had knocked for this young man whose reputed ambition was to make a million pounds somehow or other and then retire. He caused his uncle to replace old and out-dated equipment; he stepped up the factory’s efficiency. By 1920 only five of the fourteen or so Victorian glassworks remained in Sunderland. But the small, little-known Wear Glass Works was among them. And Ernest Jobling Purser was its Manager.

A major business begins to shape

Within a year Ernest Jobling Purser was manufacturing and selling the new heat-resisting glass, Pyrex. How did this happen? The Corning Glass Works of America had sometime previously sent a representative to Britain to sell to any one of our large glass manufacturers the patent rights for manufacturing Pyrex baking ware for the whole of the British Empire. Not a man among them was interested. In desperation the small and little-known firm owned by Jobling was approached. Ernest Jobling Purser paid a quick visit to America to assure himself that claims for the new heat-resisting glass were true; and then began to make and to sell clear Pyrex oven-table glass.

With four major products

Pyrex glassware was produced for the domestic market, first of all as a clear glass, then with colour fired on to it. Pyrex glassware was next produced for the scientific and industrial markets; then came amazingly tough Tableware — a remarkable stride in the perfecting of a more beautiful, far stronger domestic glass. And the ‘bread-and-butter’ line of Flint glass was continued.

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Mixed Batch – 35 – James A. Jobling & Co. Ltd. July 1958
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Pyrex tableware — one of the latest successes. Pretty as a picture and tough as nails. Pyrex clear — a favourite with housewives all over the world.
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Pyrex scientific apparatus — fabrication of all types, sizes and complexities of scientific apparatus is done here in Sunderland. Pyrex coloured — now made in red, yellow, blue and green and rapidly setting new sales records.
Mixed Batch – 36 – James A. Jobling & Co. Ltd. July 1958
Double-tough Opalware — in great demand from canteens and hospitals for its long life and hygienic qualities. ©2007 Glass-Study.com
Coloured Pyrex at the end of its factory journey — plates are packed ready for transit to the shops. ©2007 Glass-Study.com
Flint glass — lenses of all types for car headlamps, railway signals, H.M. ships and a host of industrial applications. ©2007 Glass-Study.com