Crindau Glassworks, Newport Monmouthshire 1890

Crindau Glassworks 1890
South Wales (Siemens Patent) Glass Manufacturing Co. Ltd.

Source: Company Invoice, 1891

The works were situated to the left of the entrance to the Brynglas Tunnels (when heading west). The row of cottages and the elevated detached house (Arnsbrae House) are still there.

Below are three contemporary newspaper reports relating to the works.






Cardiff Times - Saturday 09 January 1886

The new glassworks at Crindau were formally inaugurated by the Mayor of Newport (Mr E. J. Grice), the chairman of the company, and the directors. After a tour of the premises had been made, Mrs Grice was handed a piece of molten metal, and blew the first bottle, The successful achievement was hailed with a hearty cheer. Workmen at once appeared, and began work at the four openings to the furnace, and bottles of various sizes, including the well-known carboy of commerce, were turned out with astonishing celerity. - Mr A. J. Stevens, the chairman of the company, made a few remarks as to the establishment of the works, which, as our readers may guess, is an entirely new industry to Newport. He said that the high rates for railway carriage were causing the diversion of all large industries towards the seacoast. The welfare of Newport depended upon its fine river, and he hoped the authorities would not by any act of theirs obstruct the development of similar commercial undertakings. The works had been erected within the last 12 months, and it was believed that by the aid of the machinery intended to be laid down, 115,000 bottles per week could be produced.
The works consist of block of buildings nearly 200 feet long by 80 wide, consisting of spacious offices, workmen's mess room, packing room, straw stores, smiths' shop, and fitting shop. The latter contains three powerful lathes, planing machine, drilling, boring, and other machines. Here the moulds required for variously shaped bottles will be made. Adjoining the engine and boiler house from which the power is derived to work the machinery employed. Further on are the batch houses in which the materials for making the “glass batch” are stored after being prepared in the apartment at the back, the mixing house (over 100 feet long) containing a mason's stone crusher for breaking up limestone, a powerful grinding mill, designed and manufactured by the Uskside Engineering Co., mixing machine, elevators, screens, and a large kiln for drying sand and other materials. Round the mixing house are stores for the salt cake, limestone, and various other materials, including two stores for sand, capable of holding 1,000 tons. All round the building are tramroads communicating with the jetty, where on the river side a steam crane has been erected. At the other end is a lift. Here the whole of the materials, coal, etc., required are raised to the working floor, 16ft. above the general level of the works. On ascending the lift, and turning, along an elevated tramroad, we look down on the gas reducers, where the fuel is converted into gas, which is conveyed through a large arched passage into the valve pit. From thence it is passed up through the heated regenerators into the furnaces, where it mixes with heated air from another set of regenerators, the mixture entering the furnaces and burning at a temperature of from 3,500 to 4,000 degrees. After passing across the bath of melted glass in the furnace, the mixed gas and air passes down through another set of regenerators, giving up to them nearly the whole of the unused heat, and passing to the chimney at a temperature of 400 or 500 degrees. After an interval of about half an hour, when the first set of regenerators have given up most of their heat, the gas is reversed, and the waste heat given up to the inflowing gas, the whole of the process being reversed. Leaving the producers, we are taken to the furnace floor. Here the massive furnaces, which will hold over 90 tons of glass each, are at a white heat, the batch being put continually in at one end and bottles blown at the other. Round the furnace are the annealing arches in which the bottles are tempered down before being placed in the trams for conveyance down the lift to the sorting and packing room below. In the various departments between 200 and 300 hands will be employed. The representative of Messrs Siemens', the patentees, tells us that these are decidedly the very best furnaces yet built, and most conveniently arranged plant that has been erected for working their “Patent Continuous Furnaces.” The warehouses, cottages, &c., were built from the designs of Messrs Jacobs and Pickwell, of Cardiff, the engineers for the company, the furnaces and gas producers from Messrs Siemens' drawings, and the whole of the work carried out under the supervision of the manager, Mr F. T. Woodcock. The directors of the company are Messrs A. J. Stevens, J.P., Newport, Mon. (chairman); Mr C. M. Jacobs, Cardiff; Mr A. C. Jones, Newport, Mon.; Mr J. D. Lewis, Cardiff; Mr G. K. Stothert, M.Inst. C.E., Bristol; and Mr S. Baker, Cardiff.



South Wales Echo - Wednesday 19 May 1886

At the invitation of the directors of the South Wales (Siemens' patent) glass Manufacturing Company, nearly a hundred members of the Cardiff Naturalists' Society paid a visit to the recently established works at Newport on Tuesday afternoon. The weather, which was dull in the earlier part of the day, cleared up during the afternoon, and the ladies and gentlemen who took advantage of the occasion passed a few most enjoyable and instructive hours. Mr Henry Heywood, F.C.S., president of the society, and Mr J. Gavey, hon. sec., looked after the comfort of the company, and among the gentlemen present were Dr. Vachell, Mr Woolcott, Mr Thompson, Principal J. Viriamu Jones, Professor Parker, Rev W. E. Winks, Councillor Trounce, and Mr Nance. The naturalists were met at the station by Mr A. J. Stevens, chairman of the board of directors, who acted as a most efficient and courteous guide. The works were thoroughly inspected, and the interesting process of glass-making was witnessed from the mixing of the sand, limestone, and alkali to the final issue of a highly-finished bottle. As the entire establishment has been recently described in detail in these columns, it is sufficient now to say that the directors have already reason to predict a great future for the industry. The Crindau Works are the only bottle-making works in the South-West of England, and the Siemens patent furnaces here erected have the reputation of being the most perfect in the kingdom. The sand used in the process is imported; white sand for clear glass from Antwerp, and the darker material for black glass from Dunkerque. The Great Western Railway are now laying a special siding into the docks, and a spacious river frontage gives unrivalled facilities for import and export trade. The capacities of the two furnaces now erected may be estimated from the fact that one of these huge ovens will hold 80 tons of glass. When the entire modus operandi had been thoroughly investigated, and several amateurs had “blown” bottles of varying capacity, the company adjourned en masse to the King's Head Hotel, and had an excellent tea at the kind invitation of the president. After complimentary votes of thanks to the directors and president had been passed, the party returned to Cardiff by the 3.50 p.m. train.



Monmouthshire Beacon - Friday 30 June 1899

A serious fire occurred at Newport Glass Works, Crindau, on Monday evening, when a furnace, containing upwards of 140 tons of molten glass, sprang a leak. The bottom of the furnace rests on brickwork archways, having the appearance of large subterranean caverns. It is believed that a small hole, about two or three inches in diameter, first appeared the bottom the furnace, the aperture being enlarged by the flowing metal. Probably a few bricks became displaced, for immediately afterwards the molten glass flowed like lava from a volcano, resembling glowing golden syrup. The scene was picturesque and striking. The escape was first discovered Mr. Sweet, the night fireman, the customary night shift of workmen having obtained a holiday for the purpose of visiting the Barnum show. The office was closed, so that telephonic communication was cut off. Mr. Sweet, however, mounted his bicycle, and with considerable difficulty rode along Shaftesbury Street, which was then thronged with people. On the way he was twice thrown from his machine, but, fortunately not injured. Information was given to the police, who communicated with the central Fire Station. The hose carriage and fire escape, with 18 firemen, started within a few minutes of the call, and with the assistance of the large gong, in front of the carriage - which was continually sounded - they threaded their ways through the crowded thoroughfares without accident. The appearance of the fire engine created great commotion and hundreds of people followed it down Shaftesbury Street. The brigade, under Captain Lyne and Lieut. Boucher, remained at the work several hours and prevented the fire igniting the buildings.
A similar accident happened more than twelve months ago at the same tank, but on that occasion considerably more damage was done, a wooden lift and gangway taking fire. Profiting by that experience, the workmen prevented the flow of the molten metal to the woodwork. The metal is of a heat-retaining substance so much so that it cannot well be handled for at least week, even after water has been poured upon it. The accident will result in number of men being temporarily thrown out of employment. It is difficult to estimate the damage, but it must amount to several hundreds of pounds. The premises were insured for ordinary works purposes.
A number of policemen, under the Head Constable and Inspector Evans, were on duty at the fire. The workmen, upon learning of the conflagration, returned and did what they could to lessen the damage.


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