Stourbridge Canal, Dudley, West Midlands (8. New Dial Glassworks)
Royal Geographical Society
8. New Dial GlassworksFénykép: Society Royal Geographical, Royal Geographical Society
These conical buildings channelled air into the furnace to make the fires burn hotter. They also provided a large work space for the glassmakers. In the nineteenth century work in these cones was a task for men and boys over the age of 12. It was carried out in teams of four called ‘chairs’. Each person in the chair had a specific role and was paid differently according to skill. To make a wine glass for example, a ‘servitor’ would blow and form the glass bowl. The ‘workman’ or ‘gaffer’ was the senior glassmaker. He sat in the chair and shaped the foot and stem from glass brought to him by the ‘footmaker’ before attaching it to the bowl. The finished piece was collected by the ‘taker in’, often a young boy, who would take it to be cooled. After the glass had cooled cutters and engravers would work in separate facilities. They were paid well for their creative work. This cone was originally part of the New Dial Glassworks and was built specifically to take advantage of the canal. Look at the wall across the canal and you can see the remains of canopies. These protected coal boats which unloaded directly into the works. New Dial Glassworks is still used for glassmaking today. The company Plowden & Thompson specialise in scientific and high tech equipment, such as precision extruded rods. Tudor Crystal makes fine tableware here using many traditional methods described above. They are one of the last companies to make lead crystal by hand and can run up to five furnaces Directions Continue along the towpath for about 100 metres to Chubb’s Bridge.
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