THE GLASSWORKS AT BARNEGAT

Dated: 04/02/2019

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Southern New Jersey sand is known for its fine glass making quality, and the first glassworks date back to Colonial times. The only known glassworks to operate in Ocean County was operated by Benjamin Chadwick. Chadwick was instrumental in setting up lifesaving stations during the late 1800’s, but shifted occupations when he purchased 2.97 acres in Barnegat known as Picket Field. Chadwick set up a glassworks by forming fieldstone tunnels fifteen to sixteen feet long to provide the draft to melt the sand into molten glass.


For the first four years, Chadwick’s glassworks in Barnegat made small half-pint green bottles for to hold illicit libations for many of the temperance based resorts along the coast that had been founded by Quakers. In 1897, Chadwick sold the land to Thomas E. Ludlam of Sea Isle City. Ludlam had purchased fifty acres west of the railroad track with the intention of developing the land. In short time, this endeavor failed when only twelve lots sold and only three or four houses erected.


                                                                    Barnegat Glassworks, circa 1908


The following year, Ludlam sought to utilize the glassworks and brought on two partners forming the Atlantic Coast Glass Company. He also changed the mode of burning to a tank furnace whereby the fire was contained in a pit using fire bricks. The Atlantic Glass Company continued small production successfully until selling out in 1907 to the newly formed Barnegat Glass Company. In its new capacity, the glassworks made vials and small green bottles from the half pint to the five gallon size.


In 1911, the Barnegat Glassworks had difficulty finding labor, and eventually declared bankruptcy selling out to Cox and Sons Glass Company out of Bridgeton. They fared no better, and the following year a private group of glassblowers formed the Co-Operative Glass Company of Barnegat and bought the glassworks from Cox. In 1913, the Co-Operative went out of business as well, and the year after that, the assets of Cox and Sons was sold in a foreclosure.


                                                                    For Barnegat Apothecary J.W. Chew


The buildings of the original glassworks fell into disrepair and by 1920, all evidence of the only known glassworks in Ocean County had disappeared. Occasionally hand-blown bottles bearing the name of a business with Barnegat, NJ are found – a reminder of an industry long past that failed, not because of lack of demand, but failed because of lack of labor.


From your “Running Realtor” Andrew Gonzales…

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Andrew Gonzales

As a lifelong resident of Ocean County, New Jersey, Andrew Gonzales brings exceptional insight into local market trends, and full knowledge of ordinances, insurance requirements, and FEMA standards. A....

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