Hamilton Glass Company


Hamilton Glass Works Jars

This was the site of the city’s first glassworks. It was set up by John Winer, Lyman Moore and George Rutherford, partners in a local druggists’ firm. They needed a source of cheap bottles for their expanding wholesale patent medicine business.

The partners recruited Nathan B. Gatchell, an experienced New York glassmaker, to oversee the practical side of the business. The factory had grown to cover the entire block by the mid-1880s, supplying glass jars and bottles to many regional companies. Inside, lime, soda, ash and sand were “intimately mixed together” before being fired and blown into bottles of a wide array of shapes, sizes and colours. Telegraph insulators had also become an important product line by this time. Many of this plant’s 150 workers lived in the surrounding neighbourhood.

The company was renamed the Hamilton Glass Works in 1888. It had bought the Burlington Glass Company a couple of years earlier. This expanded operation was purchased by the Diamond Flint Glass Company of Montreal in 1891. Glass production continued on this site until 1912, when the plant burned down. Later called Dominion Glass, the company opened a new plant on Chapple Street in Hamilton’s East End a couple of years later. That factory operated until 1997.

This plant originally employed mainly German glassworkers. Though their presence in the city was never large, Germans were one of the few non-Anglo-Celtic groups to settle in Hamilton during the 19th century.