In 2017, the Borough of Glassboro commissioned a bronze statue of our namesake, the Glassblower, to be made for the Town Square. Glassblowing is a glass forming technique that involves inflating molten glass into a bubble (or parison), with the aid of a blowpipe (or blow tube). A person who blows glass is called a glassblower, glassmith, or gaffer.
Glassboro's early history was built on the manufacturing of glass. The town was first established in 1779 by Solomon Stanger as "Glass Works in the Woods.” The sand in the area proved perfect to create glass, and the oak trees in the area were able to fuel the production. Glassboro's proximity to Philadelphia also made it an ideal location to be the heart of the Glass Industry in South Jersey and to allow the Glass Works to become a leader in the production of glass.
The invention of the automatic bottle machine in 1903 eventually put the glass blowers out of work for ever. Though the glass industry of Southern New Jersey is no longer prominent, it is a part of our rich history and shows our contribution to this country in the beginning of the twentieth century. South Jersey glass can be seen on display in many prominent American art museums and Early American glass collectors often seek glass that was produced in South Jersey. Many of these artifacts can be seen in our Glass Museum.
“The glassblower knows: while in the heat of beginning, any shape is possible. Once hardened, the only way to change is to break.” -Mark Nepo