Rediscovering the Early 19th-Century Flint Glass Industry on Philadelphia’s Waterfront

Author(s): Mary C. Mills

Year: 2016


Today as you walk beside the Delaware River in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood, you will find no evidence of the glass furnaces that stood along its banks from the 1770s to the 1920s. However, excavations are yielding an extraordinary assemblage of flint (lead) glass tableware, lighting devices, and other objects like those made at Union Cut and Plain Flint Glass Works, a little-known factory located between the project area and the Delaware River. Between 1826 and 1842 Union successfully competed with glass companies in Pittsburgh and New England. It was one of the first factories to use the mechanical press, an American invention introduced in the 1820s, and it also created elegant cut glass similar to Anglo-Irish imports. The history of this factory and the recovered artifacts confirm that this industrial neighborhood produced and used innovative, fashionable glassware. This richly-illustrated presentation will include a variety of period forms and glassworking techniques.

Cite this Record

Rediscovering the Early 19th-Century Flint Glass Industry on Philadelphia’s Waterfront. Mary C. Mills. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434386)


Temporal Keywords
Early 19th Century

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 264