Hamilton Glass Works, N. Y.

The Hamilton Glass Works in New York was a short-lived Brooklyn based business operated by a partnership called D. O. Ketcham & Co. Their factory was generally located adjacent to the Gowanus Canal, on the east side of  Smith Street, near or at the intersection of Hamilton Avenue. The company  was only operational from 1851 to 1854.

The business had its beginnings with a man named Daniel O. Ketchum who, in the late 1840’s, served as an agent for the Albany Glass Works. This advertisement bearing his name and title appeared in the April 11, 1849 edition of the “Buffalo Courier Express.”

On or about May, 1, 1851, with the Albany Glass Works no longer in business, Ketchum formed a partnership with Charles H. Cole and John M. Scott to manufacture glass.  According to Ketchum’s testimony in in the case of George Catlin against Charles H. Cole, John B. Thursby, Robert G Thursby, James S. Thursby and Samuel J. Thursby; N.Y. Court of Appeals; 1861:

About two years previous to that time, I had been connected with the Albany  Glass Works, as agent for that company in Albany. Their business was the manufacture of glass. Mr. Cole had no experience in the glass business. He was a ship-chandler….  Scott was a practical glass-maker… It was arranged that I should manage the business principally.

The name was suggested by its location on Hamilton Avenue….

Ketchum’s testimony went on to say that sometime in the latter part of May, or early part of June, 1851, they commenced building their Brooklyn factory.

We built a large factory with the necessary outbuildings, for the purpose of manufacturing glass. The tools, etc., purchased from the Albany Glass Works, were removed  to this factory, and afterwards used there. Mr. Cole resided in Albany, and continued to carry on his ship-chandlery business. I left Albany, with my family, about the 1st of July, 1851, and came down here immediately… I think we commenced manufacturing about the 1st of September, 1851.

It was also sometime in 1851 that the company opened an office across the East River in Manhattan. After a short stay at 59 Pearl Street, in 1852 the office moved to 59 Cortlandt Street, also in Manhattan. This item announcing the move appeared in the May 5, 1852 edition of the “New York Herald.”

The following advertisement, exhibiting their new office address, listed a wide range of glassware being produced at the glass works. It included demijohns, druggists’ glass vials and carboys as well as wine, porter, mineral water and patent medicine bottles. The ad appeared in the September 15, 1852 edition of “The Springfield (Mass.) Daily Republican.”

Ketchum’s testimony went on to point out that the company actually manufactured glassware for less than two years.

The partnership between myself, Scott and Cole was dissolved July 1, 1853. Scott at that date, went out and Cole and myself continued on – not in the manufacturing business, but in the purchase and sale of glass, and selling glass on commission.

Less than a year later the business was insolvent and, on April 14, 1854, an agreement to dissolve the firm was executed.

Ketcham subsequently transitioned into the “oil” business and for the next ten years continued to list the glass factory location, Smith c. Hamilton, as the address for that business. Then sometime in the mid-1860’s members of the Hagerty family apparently took possession of the factory.  According to “Glass Firms of the Hagerty  Brothers,” by Bill Lockhart, Bill Lindsey, Carol Sera and Beau Schriever, the Hagerty’s had been in the glass business as a jobbers since 1849 and planned to use the factory to supply  glass to their sales outlet.

As early as 1865/1866 the firm of Haggerty, Gardiner & Burrows was listed in the N. Y. C. directory on Smith Street with the occupation “glass manufacturer.”  At this point the factory was named  the Brooklyn Green Glass Works, as evidenced by this classified ad published in the August 27, 1867 edition of the “Brooklyn Daily Eagle.”

Over the next 25 plus years, the business operated under several different Haggerty controlled companies including B. B. Hagerty & Co. (circa 1870 to 1876); Hagerty Bros. & Co. (1878 to 1890); and A. J. Hagerty & Co. (1890’s). That being said, by the early 1870’s the business was generally referred to as simply the Hagerty Glass Works. Their advertisement appeared in the 1875/1876 Brooklyn city directory…

…and a rendering of their facility appeared in the business section of the same directory

Ultimately, a story in the January 7, 1894 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle indicated that the plant shut down in June, 1893 due to poor economic conditions..

The glass making industry fell on evil times during 1893. The green glass works of A. J Hagerty & Co., Smith Street, in fair seasons usually gave employment to two hundred and fifty hands. These works have been shut down since June. James F. Haggerty says he does not know when they would open up again. The depression was general throughout the country…

Whether the glass works reopened again is unclear but either way the end was certainly in sight and by March/April of 1900 Brooklyn Daily Eagle classified ads announced that the Hamilton Avenue facility was up for sale.

The subject bottle is small, maybe six to eight ounces and emerald green. Blown in a mold, it exhibits an improved pontil scar. The embossing is faint but readable with “Hamilton Glass Works” appearing in an arch over “N.Y.” The lettering of the “N. Y.” is slightly larger than that of “Hamilton Glass Works.” The bottle certainly dates between Sept, 1851 and  June, 1853 when glass was manufactured there under that name.