Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,159 pages of information and 233,681 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Nazeing Glass Works

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of Broxbourne, Herts. Telephone: Hoddesdon 2446. London Office: Bath House, Holborn Viaduct, EC1. Telephone: Central 2921

1612 The roots of this company can be traced back to 1612, when the first factory was opened in Vauxhall, Surrey, by Sir Edward Zouche. It was later known as Dawson Bowles and Co.

c.1870 A Charles Kempton opened a factory in Wickham Street, Vauxhall, London.

1874 A second works was opened in Vauxhall Walk, for producing gas globes and fittings. The flint and coloured glass were the main products at this time.

The Wickham Street works closed some time later.

Charles Kempton’s sons William, Charles and Richard continued the business at Vauxhall.

1917 William joined Edison Swan at their electric lightbulb factory at Ponders End in Middlesex.

1920 The rapidly expanding electric light bulb industry was becoming the major industrial glass user at this time, so Richard moved the glass works to Southwark.

1924 William Kempton died.

1928 The works moved again, to Nazeing, Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, taking the name Nazeing for the glassworks. These works were very basic and comprised a shed in a marshy field with a coke fired skittle-type furnace holding about 200 kilos of molten metal. The annealing oven was a hand-operated conveyor, and there was no mains water supply. Most of the early production was hand-blown, decorative, coloured glassware.

1930s Financial difficulties almost caused the company to fold but another electric lamp manufacturer took a share for glass rod production. These rods were drawn by a boy running across a field with the hot glass.

1939 a Belgian glassblower was employed and stemmed glasses were then made in the continental style.

WWII. War production was directed to ships’ signal lights and semaphore lenses for the Admiralty, and lamp caps for the Ministry of Aircraft Production. The shed was upgraded to Nissen huts and army surplus tents and, by the end of the war, the factory was producing glass for many government departments.

Post-WWII. A serious flood almost ruined the factory, but production was restarted after a few months of repair work. Expansion brought the development of single pot brick furnaces to replace the original and these gave the factory a much greater flexibility in production. A major retail outlet was Elwell of Harlow, Essex. Examples of Nazeing are often found with an Elwell label.

1947 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Manufacturers of Hand Made Original and Artistic Glassware, Coloured and Crystal Tableware, Rods, Lighting Glass, Plated Fancy Articles and Metal Mountings for Glassware. (Olympia, Ground Floor, Stand No. A.1135) [1]

2008 Nazeing Glass Works Limited now operates from purpose built buildings on the same site. Typical products include bulkheads, wellglasses, marine and ship lighting, aircraft and airport runway lenses, exterior light fittings, laboratory glass, nosing glasses, reproduction bottles and glasses, traffic light lenses and other precision coloured glass through hand-blown glasses and glassware, cut lead crystal, to lighting and custom ashtrays.

  • Note:
    • The company has its own website: [1].

See Also

  • [2] Nazeing Glassworks Limited by Frank Andrews

Sources of Information