A. N Shepherd, ed., (2001). The Scottish Glass Industry 1610-1750. Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

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The Scottish Glass Industry 1610-1750
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'To serve the whole nation with glass'
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Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Monograph Series
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18_2001_TURNBULL_Scottish_Glass.pdf (53 MB) : Download
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Monograph Chapter (in Series)
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Glassmaking was one of the earliest manufacturing industries to be set up in Scotland, but one about which little information has been published - until now.  
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Jill Turnbull
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Alexandra N Shepherd
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Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
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10 Nov 2017
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1 - 313
Glassmaking was one of the earliest manufacturing industries to be set up in Scotland, but one about which little information has been published. This monograph documents the early days of Scottish glass production from the granting of the first patent in 1610 up to the mid-18th century. Initial chapters describe the techniques of glassmaking and levels of Scottish glass consumption; the volume then charts the individual histories of all the main glasshouses and their products - from wine glasses and bottles to mirrors and window glass. Economic issues facing those attempting to establish new industries in 17th-century Scotland are examined as are contemporary business practices and the impact of the Union of 1707.
1 - 6
The aim of this monograph is to set down, in as much detail as possible, the history of the various glassworks operating in Scotland from the date of the first patent in 1610 to the mid-18th century, by which glass production, particularly bottle making was a well-established industry.
7 - 24
This chapter considers the raw materials (kelp, ash and barilla, the use of oxides), the process of fusing the ingredients into glass, furnace design, crucibles and the products (bottles, window glass, plate-glass). Despite the changes to furnace design and the ingredients used in the batch which are described, the glass blower of 1750 would have used the same tools, employed the same techniques, and worked the same hours, as his predecessor in 1610. And his successors would continue to do so, until the introduction of pressed glass in the 1830s.
25 - 42
This chapter considers aspects such as measures to encourage manufactories, the importation of foreign expertise, size of the workforce and production levels, the effects of the low level of demand, wages and competition, costs and sources of capital, English capital, investment by the Scottish aristocracy, merchants and craftsmen, patterns of investment, business practices, joint stock companies, credit, bills of exchange, arbitration and developments in Glasgow.
43 - 57
It is difficult to make a realistic assessment of the quantity of glass in the home, since documentary material is limited and what survives provides only fragmentary evidence, predominantly of the purchases of the wealthy. Inventories and household receipts can only offer the occasional snapshot, showing the possessions or purchases of individual households at a particular moment in time, although it is possible to draw some more general conclusions, particularly from the study of testaments. The objects considered include drinking-glasses, containers such as bottles, vials and flasks, medicinal and perfume containers, bottles, hour-glasses, mirrors, windows and beads.
58 - 92
The establishment of a glass industry in Scotland owes much to the turbulent politics of the English industry during the period in which Sir Robert Mansell (d 1652) was trying to consolidate his monopoly. This, in turn, was directly related to the change from wood-burning to coal-burning furnaces. The history of this period is well documented so following a very brief summary, only those aspects which affect Scotland are considered.
93 - 113
This chapter considers the availability of raw materials in the area, the possible site of James Ord's glassworks, Sir Robert Mansell's opposition to the second earl's activities, Sir Philbert Vernatti's glassworks, Italian glassmakers in Scotland, glassmakers' families, Vernati's background, Sir James Hope of Craighall and a glassworks at 'The Pannes, blueprint for a glasshouse, Cornelius Vistella's plans for a glasshouse, John Jossie's glassworks at Westpans and the Vistellas at Westpans
114 - 143
Of all the glasshouses, Leith has the best known and longest association with the glass industry, The first glasshouse was built there in 1663 and the last glass cone was demolished in 1912, although production had stopped some 40 years earlier. During more than two centuries of production, the site of the glasshouses changed; the first one was built in the Citadel, the next in North Leith, near the river bank. In the late 1740s, a new cone was erected on the sands of South Leith and that site remained the centre of production, expanding at one point to encompass seven cones. Numerous different partnerships were involved over time, making a range of products, including, by the end of the 18th century, very fine crystal, but throughout the whole period the mainstay of the industry was bottle production.
144 - 174
After the false starts described in chapter 7, firstly by Robert Pape at the Citadel, and then at North Leith under the management of Sir James Stansfield, glassmaking at Leith entered a more successful phase, despite the disruption which must have been caused by Stansfield's murder. No information about events at the glassworks immediately after his death has been found, although lengthy correspondence concerning his surviving son and the settlement of his estate remains in the National Library of Scotland. Whether the two skilled English glassmakers - who had arrived so fortuitously from Dublin and been greeted so enthusiastically by Stansfield - remained for even a short time is not known but seems unlikely. Clearly someone else had to take over management of the concern - and the man who shouldered that responsibility was Stansfield's reliable and trusted aide, Alexander Ainslie.
175 - 186
The commercial foundation on which the future expansion of manufacturing and trade was built was firmly laid during the 17th century. It was that period which saw the start of a formal banking system and the evolution of business methods suited to industrial growth. The economic background to the commercial activities of Scottish entrepreneurs at the turn of the century was far from smooth, however, culminating in the loss of up to a quarter of the country's liquid capital in the Darien scheme, which finally collapsed in 1700. Seven years later came the union of the Scottish and English parliaments with all the upheaval and uncertainty which that entailed, The issues surrounding the Union are too complex to rehearse fully here; instead this chapter is limited to examining briefly some aspects of the economic background, with particular reference to the glass and other 'introduced' industries, especially soap and sugar production.
187 - 227
The final period of glassmaking at Morison's Haven is quite well documented from 1698 until the 1720s, under the ownership of William Morison of Prestongrange (1663-1739). The coal seams at Prestongrange were worked until 1963. The area became well known for its chemical works and potteries in the 18th and 19th centuries, one of which was built on the site of the glassworks.
228 - 237
Despite the fact that the glasshouse at Wemyss is mentioned in much of the literature on British glass, often as the only early Scottish glassworks, very little is actually known about it. The glass cave seems likely to have been the site of the glassworks built at Wemyss by 1621, but no other information has been found. Fortunately, however, some tangible evidence of the later period of its history has come to light which, although slight, does prove that the cave was indeed home to glassmaking in the early 18th century.
238 - 265
Information about the Port Seton glassworks comes mostly from material concerning two large English institutions, both of whom were involved in dubious financial dealings in Scotland: the York Buildings Company and the Charitable Corporation for the Relief of the Industrious Poor.
266 - 279
The Glasgow bottleworks was one of the more stable and successful of the Scottish glasshouses, although very little has been written about it. James Montgomery and his partners, having campaigned hard for their petition built their glassworks before 1702, probably in 1700 and the same glassworks was still operating on the same site 40 years later.
281 - 294
The period covered by this monograph - some 10 years - encompassed immense political and economic changes in Scotland, from the early days of the Union of Crowns, to the aftermath of the Union of Parliaments. I also saw considerable progress in commercial practices and the persistence of the glass industry as part of the country's manufacturing base. This chapter examines further some of the issues which affected the glass industry as a whole and concludes by looking briefly beyond 1750, to the expansion of glassmaking during the rest of the century.
295 - 299
300 - 307
309 - 313