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The Meriden Flint Glass Company: An Abundance of Glass
Meriden author writes about ‘little company that could’ - MyRecordJournal.com: Meriden News - Myrecordjournal.com
“The Meriden Flint Glass Company: An Abundance of Glass,” by resident Diane Tobin, chronicles the history of the short-lived but influential company that called the city home from the 1870s through the 1880s. Later, the factory building became home to the more widely known Napier jewelry company.
“They were the little company that could. They took on the giants of the time,” Tobin said Monday at her Gale Avenue home, where she has a small collection of Flint Glass products.
Though Meriden is known for its silver industry, local silver companies responding to trends in the market added glassware to their catalogs, Tobin said. Consumers would have had to purchase glass from places such as the New England Co. of Cambridge, Mass., or from Europe, Tobin said, which could be costly.
Horace C. Wilcox, former Meriden mayor and president of the Meriden Britannia Co., was on a trip to Europe in the early 1870s and toured some glass factories. He decided that glass could also be made in Meriden.
In 1876, the Britannia Co. approved $50,000 in stock to create the Meriden Flint Glass Company, Tobin said. As was common with new companies, the glass factory lured workers away from existing ones, such as New England Glass, Tobin said, which is how Cambridge Street got its name.
“They had some of the best artisans in the world working there,” she said.
The company’s artisans lived on Artizan Street.
“George E. Hatch and Joseph Bourne had been connected with the New England Glass Works and were skilled artisans who here directed an enterprise which produced some of the finest ornamental glass ... in the country. The company erected large and well appointed glass works in the northern part of the city and many skilled native and foreign workmen were employed,” reads an excerpt from the 1900 book “History of New Haven County, Volume 1,” edited by John L. Rockey.
Company officials kept a detailed journal of the trials and tribulations of the company, Tobin said. She spent a lot of time reading through the volumes at the Meriden Historical Society."................(see article to continue)