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British Industrial History

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Edward Forster

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Edward Forster (1813-1887) of Chance Brothers and Co

1861 Edward Forster, Manager, Spon Lane Glass Works, West Bromwich.[1]

1888 Obituary [2]

EDWARD FORSTER was born at Blyth, Northumberland, on 18th December 1813.

He was engaged at the Blyth Alkali Works from two to three years, and afterwards at the Jarrow Chemical Works on the Tyne till 1843, when he was appointed by Messrs. Chance to manage their chemical works which were then situated at Spon Lane, near Birmingham, in connection with their glass works.

The duty being taken off glass in 1845 necessitated the enlargement of the glass works and the removal of the chemical works to another site; and be was then engaged in the building of additional glass furnaces at the Spon Lane Glass Works, and finally in the re-construction of all the furnaces on the Siemens regenerative principle, which was accomplished in 1865 and proved a commercial success.

As Messrs. Chance were the first glass manufacturers who successfully adopted this principle in their furnaces, the work of re-construction required great skill and patience; and the success of the experiment on so large a scale reflects much credit upon the enterprise which prompted the adoption of the plan, and upon the painstaking efforts of Mr. Forster in superintending the work throughout.

In 1860 he became general manager of the glass works, and continued to occupy this important position until his death, which occurred on 12th October 1887, after a short illness, in the seventy-fourth year of his age.

A memorial window placed by Messrs. Chance in St. Paul's Church, West Smethwick, marks their sense of his character and of the high value of his services.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1861.

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