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Traces of 18th-Century Glass Factory Revealed in Scotland

Monday, March 16, 2020

Edinburgh Glass WorksEDINBURGH, SCOTLAND—Construction work near the mouth of the Water of Leith revealed traces of the Edinburgh and Leith Glassworks, which was founded in the mid-eighteenth century and demolished in 1912, according to a report in the Edinburgh Evening News. The excavation unearthed remnants of one of the factory’s six huge furnace cones. Each one once stood between 80 and 100 feet tall with a 40-foot diameter base. Traces of buildings such as a workshop and a warehouse were also found. Edinburgh Council archaeologist John Lawson said the glassworks made bottles for French wine, Spanish sherry, and Portuguese port imported in wooden casks and barrels. Locally produced whisky and medicines also created a demand for glass bottles, he explained, until the late nineteenth century, when the glassworks was dissolved, the equipment sold off, and the site was converted to use as a lumber yard. To read about a nineteenth-century glass factory in the northeast United States, go to "Letter from Philadelphia: Empire of Glass."

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