Friday, November 15, 2013

The First Glass Works in Canada

By : Dennis Stein

  Shortly after the settlement of Upper Canada, the United Empire Loyalists established what is known as the first glass works in Canada near the village of Mallorytown. In 1839, Andrew Mallory, who came from a large family of enterprising settlers, started a glass works which only operated for about 10 years, producing pitchers, flasks and table wares from locally available minerals. Each of these productions was free blown glass, and the chemical make-up of the locally occurring ingredients gave the glass objects a distinctive aquamarine colour.
  When Britain took over the colonies, the King of England discouraged the Governor of Quebec from establishing local industries such as glass works that would compete with British products. It is assumed that the Mallory's desired to produce window glass, as this was difficult and expensive to procure in the young country. Although it was only in operation for about a decade, the glass works at Mallorytown produced beautiful hand blown pitchers, flasks, tumblers and other household wares, which are today extremely rare and valuable. Six surviving pieces are on display at the Royal Ontario Museum, and several others can be found at Ottawa's Museum of Civilization.
  A plaque which was erected east of the village of Mallorytown by the Ontario Archaeological & Historic Board reads in part - "A short distance from this site stood the first glass-works known to have been established in Upper Canada., in operation from 1839 to 1849. It stands as another unique first in Canada, and part of our rich history...

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