Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/458

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440
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ing out for the most part simply bottles and the rougher sorts of domestic wares. They finally stopped operations in 1670, "for lack of capital."

In New York, Jan Smeedes was making hollow ware in glass somewhat before the year 1664, and his enterprise gave the name of the "Glass-Makers' Street" to the lane in which he worked. He does not seem to have had any successor, however, for after his death the industry disappears from the records until the following century.

Well-meaning efforts were also made to establish the industry in Pennsylvania in the closing years of the century, but they do not seem to have been successful. In a letter, written in 1683, Penn alludes to a glass-house then existing in Philadelphia, and speaks hopefully of its prospects; but these were never realized. Yet there seems to have been a good market for window glass at least, if we are to credit the following doggerel, written by Holme in 1689:

"The window glass is often here

 Exceeding scarce and very dear,
 So that some in this way do take

 Isinglass windows for to make."

These are the only known records of glass-making during the seventeenth century. None of the attempts became permanent industries. The advantages of cheap and abundant fuel and of easily obtainable alkali were more than offset by the corresponding disadvantages found in all new communities. In some of the colonies there was no accessible market. But the greatest obstacle was the pressure of more remunerative occupations upon the attention of the glass-workers. Land was everywhere abundant and could be had almost for the asking. The temptation to pass from the artisan class to the ranks of the gentry was a strong one in the minds of European workers. It was an unusual opportunity, and in both this and the following century the privations of early agriculture were willingly endured for a time by those who had originally come to the colonies for the purpose of service or the trades, in order that they might ultimately enjoy the satisfaction of being landholders. This "desertion," as it was called by the wage-paying classes, led to the abandonment of many promising manufacturing enterprises. America stood then, perhaps more than now, for personal liberty and individualism. Men seem to have been less willing to sell themselves into industrial slavery, and more anxious to remain their own masters.

The eighteenth century witnessed an extensive revival of the glass industry, and gave birth to some of the most important establishments of the present day. This activity was, however, crowded into the latter part of the century.