The Estellville Glassworks are located in the Atlantic County Park at Estell Manor, on the east side of Route 50, 3.5 miles south of Mays Landing. These sites are an early 19th century glass factory that was in operation from 1825-1877. The factory was built between 1825-26 by John H. Scott for the Estell family. Glass production began in 1826. The glassworks flourished during the mid-1800's. It was possibly the first glassworks that had the capability of producing both hollow ware (bottles) and window glass. The Estell family owned and operated the factory until 1858. The factory had many owners following and finally closed completely in 1877. The following is a descriptive list of the structures associated with the production of glass at Estellville:
The Melting Furnace Site
The melting furnace was a rectangular structure with three sections or rooms. The main furnace was located in the center room with the swing pits and the stoking area on either side. The swing pits were where the glassblower, having drawn a gather (a clump of glass on his pipe and expanded it), would swing the pipe back and forth to elongate the glass into a cylinder shape. The section to the east was used for pre- drying the wood (used as fuel for the furnace) and for the sand ( a material used to make the glass). The section to the west was used for the storage of new pots, so they could be kept hot. The pot ash was also kept in this location. This was an oven where the pots about to be used in the main furnace were preheated. This building measured approximately 45 feet by 70 feet and stood 15 feet high. It was constructed of sandstone and aggregated stone and cemented with limestone mortar. All four walls of this structure were once pierced with large arched openings set in brick. Pictures reveal it was once topped with a sloping wooden roof. The melting furnace is the best preserved of the three above ground sites.
The Pot House Site
Deer at Estell WorksThe pot house, a rectangular structure, was used for making and storing the pots in which the raw materials (sand, limestone, soda, salt) were melted to make glass. This structure stood directly north of the Melting Furnace site. It was built of the same sandstone material as the melting house, repeating the same brick arched openings. The roof was most likely wood, although no evidence of this remains. The only standing wall surface is the southwest corner that contains two window openings with the original pegged mortise and tenon lintel.
Flattening House Site
The flattening house was a long narrow building with a flattening oven at the north end and an annealing section at the south end. It was utilized only in window pane production. It was here that glass cylinders, each 8-10 inches in diameter, that came from the melting furnace, were processed. The cylinders were rocked back and forth with a wooden rod until they were flat. They were then transferred the to annealing section where the glass was relieved of stress by heating and gradually cooling. The material used to build this structure is the same as that of the Melting Furnace and the Pot House. Presently, there are no existing walls. The remains clearly show the outline of a rectangular structure measuring approximately 25 feet by 60 feet. A dry laid brick well exists in the structure. The exact use of this well is uncertain, although it may have had a role in the annealing process.
Cutting House and Lime Kiln Sites
These two sites, which remain completely below the surface, were uncovered in 1975 during the completion of the Environmental Resource and Historical Inventory of Estell Manor Park. The cutting house was typically a long and narrow structure where the large sheets of glass were cut from the sheets formed at the flattening house. The glass panels were also packed and readied for shipment in this building. The lime kiln or shed was most likely a simple square or oblong structure used to store lime and other raw materials that were used to make glass.
Workers Houses Sites
These were simple buildings and where some of the glassblowers and other factory workers dwelled. There are portions of eight individual foundations above ground, although it is believed that 10 to 12 houses were built at this site.
In 1995-1996, the ruins of the Estellville Glassworks underwent a stabilization. General erosion, vandalism, and acid rain were the main factors leading to the decision to help save what is left. Sidewalks and interpretive signs were placed at the sites, so this site is now more visitor friendly.