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Glass & Bottlemaking: Occupations

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  • Glass & Bottlemaking: Occupations

    A brief description of occupations found in glass bottlemaking, generally carried out by men.

    • Ballmaker: Would dip a hollow rod into the molten glass and make it into a ball to pass to the blower.
    • Bottle blower: Takes the rod and blows air in to inflate the gather.
    • Bottlemaker: Forms the rim on the bottle.
    • Finisher Off: Blows the glass till it cools in a mould. The blower or finisher off would not turn it in the mould, just keep it straight.
    • Flag or Shade Lad: Held a metal gauze (or a shovel) over the gatherers face to shield him from the heat
    • Gatherer: Places a steel rod about six feet long and five-eighth thick, into the molten glass or ‘metal’, dipping it in until he has the right amount of molten glass.
    • Knocker Off: Drips cold water on the neck of the bottle - tapping the iron then makes the bottle fall from the iron.
    • Mould Boy: Person who opens and shuts a hinged mould (if used) for the glass to be blown into shape.
    • Skimmer: Person who rakes the blisted glass, scoopng it out with a ladle.
    • Taker-in: Takes the bottle from the bottlemaker and takes it to the annealing furnace or tunnel (lear/lehr)
    • Teaser / Fireman: Person who looks after the pots – or later, tanks – heated by the furnace. The teaser would put the batch in the pot then heat it up until it melted.

    Women were usually employed with checking, washing and labelling the bottles, which were then packed with straw into barrels. Children were also employed to do these tasks.


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