Singing along at Dyottville Glass Works

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1857 Bird’s Eye View of Philadelphia. Depicts view of city looking from west of Schuylkill toward the Delaware. John Bachman Lithographer), Printer: P.S. Duval & Son – Historical Society of Pennsylvania

Singing along at Dyottville Glass Works

08 May 2013

For a number of reasons I have been searching through old Philadelphia directories searching for information. I couldn’t help but to get side tracked on Dyottville Glass Works again and in particular on a series of ‘rosy’ comments that paint a clean and joyful experience for the young men and primarily ‘boys’ working in these glass factories and furnaces (see 1834 clipping below). You will also see a series of retail listings at the bottom of this post for T. W. Dyott and Dyottville Glass Works.

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Three Colorful Washington/Taylor Quarts made at Dyottville Glass Works . Photo submitted by club member Eric Schmetterling – New Jersey Antique Bottle Club

Singing along at Dyottville Glass Works

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“Almost all learn to sing, and you may hear the various companies of laborers-singing most delightedly, while busy at their work, sometimes twenty of thirty times a day.”

Glass works of T.W. Dyott Historical Society of Pennsylvania 1832

View of the Glass Works of T.W. Dyott – Historical Society of Pennsylvania – 1832

“Of the 300 laborers, 225 are boys, some of whom are not more than eight years of age.”

This 15 year at the Lehr Glass Works - October 1908

This 15 year at the Lehr Glass Works – October 1908

“They are industrious, orderly and apparently happy.”

“They are taught every evening the branches of a plain, practical education. They have also a library.”

To me, this is incredible. It looks like some executives, church going, God fearing wife wrote this to feel better about making these children work such long horrendous hours under such harsh conditions. I really like the glossing over the children working long shifts and night shifts by saying they are taught every evening and are singing throughout their shift!

Glass bottle production. Historical artwork of children working alongside adults in a glass bottle factory. The glass is heated by the furnace (right) until it is molten, then the hot glowing glass is blown and moulded (centre right) into a bottle. Image taken from Grands Hommes et Grands Faits de l'Industrie (Great Men and Great Facts of Industry), France, circa 1880.

Glass bottle production. Historical artwork of children working alongside adults in a glass bottle factory.

Read More: Glass Works and Glass Factories – Hell on Earth?

Read More: Boys in Glass Houses – Taking on the Mannerisms of Men

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1834 Dyottville overview from The Mechanic, Journal of the Useful Arts and Sciences

“Employees were urged to spend at the company stores in the Dyottville community rather than redeem the Labor Bank Note.”

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Example of a 1836 Dyottville $10 promissory note issued by Dr Dyott’s Manual Labor Bank. Employees were urged to spend at the company stores in the Dyottville community rather than redeem the Labor Bank Note. – submitted by Paul Joseph Goodwin

T. W. Dyott and Dyottville Glass Works Directory Listings

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1836 portrait of Thomas W. Dyott used on the above bank note. He was 56 at the time. – submitted by Eric Richter

Important Read: A brief history of the Philadelphia Glass Works (Later Called Kensington Glass Works) by Kevin A. Sives

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1814 Listing for T. W. Dyott, MD in Kite’s Philadelphia Directory

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T. W. Dyott Wholesale and Retail Druggist – 1820 Philadelphia Directory Advertisement

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1821 exterior image of Dr. T. W. Dyott’s office in Fishtown/Kensington neighborhood. Advertisement reads: “Approved Family Medicines, which are celebrated for the cure of most diseases which the human body is liable: prepared only by the sole proprietor, T. W. Dyott, M. D. Grandson of the late celebrated Dr. Robertson of Edinburgh – Historical Society of Pennsylvania

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Dyottville Factories. 1833 advertisement – DeSilver’s Philadelphia Directory and Stranger’s Guide

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Benners, Smith & Campbell, Dyottville Glass Works Advertisement. Date unknown.

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Dyottville Glass Works advertisement from 1862 Philadelphia City Directory

About Ferdinand Meyer V

Ferdinand Meyer V is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and has a BFA in Fine Art and Graphic Design from the Kansas City Art Institute and School of Design. Ferdinand is the founding Principal of FMG Design, a nationally recognized design consultation firm. Ferdinand is a passionate collector of American historical glass specializing in bitters bottles, color runs and related classic figural bottles. He is married to Elizabeth Jane Meyer and lives in Houston, Texas with their daughter and three wonderful grandchildren. The Meyers are also very involved in Quarter Horses, antiques and early United States postage stamps. Ferdinand is the past 6-year President of the Federation of Historical Bottle Collectors and is one of the founding members of the FOHBC Virtual Museum.
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1 Response to Singing along at Dyottville Glass Works

  1. Warren Friedrich says:

    A portion of an article from my book EARLY GLASSWORKS OF CALIFORNIA also mentions the lively amusement often heard from the workers at the glass factory. This excerpt comes from an 1867 article on the workings of the Pacific Glass Works.

    “A remarkable feature in the workshop is the cheerfulness that obtains among the men and boys. The employment is seemingly more an amusement than labor. Singing and lively conversation were genearal, and even occasionally a number joined in some popular ditty, a key note having been struck by one acquainted with the musical taste of the light hearted blowers.”

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