This Place in History: Lake Dunmore Glass Factory

Vermont Historical Society

SALISBURY, Vt.

At ‘This Place in History’ we’re on Lake Dunmore in Salisbury, Vt. with Executive Director of the Vermont Historical Society Steve Perkins.

“We are going to learn about early glass-making in Vermont, right here on this site. We’ve asked Bill Powers, a local historian, to come and tell us more about what happened right here,” explained Perkins.

“Here, back in 1812, we had the establishment of the Lake Dunmore Glass Factory. They produced glass here from about late 1812 to the early part of 1817. It was a good time to establish a glass factory here because you had the War of 1812. A lot of commerce from Europe was not available. And so it lasted until about 1817. There was a fire around the 1815-1816 timeframe and then it folded after that,” began Powers.

“However, they had some investors come here. Around the 1830s the glass factory was established again. It became the new Lake Dunmore Glass Factory and that lasted until the middle of the 1840s when economic times and competition from other glass factories forced them out of business,” continued Powers.

“It was a great spot [to make glass] because of all of the wood that you had around here that you could fuel the furnaces with, to make the glass. You also had sand here for a while. The clay for the pots, in which the glass was made, came from Monkton. So it was central. Prior to that, you had to get your materials from far away sources,” added Powers.

“The glass company only made glass and it did have a fine aqua background to it. And you’ll find that in some of the very old barns around here. It was advertised for sale and sold out of Middlebury.”

“The glass factory was bankrolled by the Farmer’s Bank in Troy, NY. They issued a number of bank notes. They were issued from the period of 1812 to about 1814.”

“You had your professional glassmakers here and they made items on their own like a cologne bottle. It’s got a pontil mark on the bottom of it and that was probably blown into a mold. This was probably made at the primary glass factory here on Lake Dunmore.”

“They had a subsidiary glass factory in East Middlebury that made beakers and containers for the Middlebury College Medical School back in [1810-1819].”

“And here, you had some slag glass that you can find around Lake Dunmore today. These parts are collected by my sons back in the 1990s,” concluded Powers.

At ‘This Place in History’!

For more from our ‘This Place in History’ series, click here.

To view a map of Vermont’s roadside historic site markers, click here.

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