Interesting Collectables of New Zealand
Souvenir China, Mineral Water Bottles & history, Antique Telephones.



Bottle & Glass Works

May have to split this later but in the meantime some snippetts:

Glass Manufacturing in New Zealand
Lumb & Co
Melbourne Glass Works

Glass Manufacturing in New Zealand
The earliest reference to a glass works in NZ is in the 1870 minutes of the Auckland Provincial Council where a Mr William Swanson moved that 200 be advanced at 6% to a Mr W Withew for the purpose of setting up a glass works in Freemans Bay and on August 31st 1870 Mr Withew advertised in the "Auckland Herald' that he could now supply glass products. In October of the same year the Daily Southern Cross reported that Ms Withew & Co of Freemans Bay were extending their premises. On July 22nd 1871 Withew & Co were visted by the Governor, Sir George Bowen. On April 24th 1872 Mr Withew was granted a further loan by the Provincial Council to extend his factory, situated on the north side of Union St, where 2 men & 2 boys were employed. In the Daily Southern Cross of December 11 1875 George Gledhill, aerated water manufacturer of Wellesly St, stated he had actively encouraged the local manufacture of bottles by Mr Withew but, after the attempts failed, was forced to import his bottles from Melbourne. It is presumed that this company ceased to exist before 1880.

In 1870 the owners of the Nelson Brewery complained that the want of a colonial manufactory of ale & porter bottles was a serious handicap to their business (A to J HR F 1 p25). In 1874 a parliamentary committee recommended a bonus of up to 600 for the manufacture of black glass bottles in NZ. On the 23rd August 1881 E Richardson, the member for Christchurch City asked of the house "whether the government would offer a bonus for the establishment in the colony of a manufactory of glassware from the natural products of the country." On investigation, the Colonial Secretary declined because the advice he received stated a glass industry already existed in Auckland. 

In Dunedin the NZ Glass & Pottery Co was floated with 20,000 1 shares on May 11th 1881. Around the same time a Mr Wilson set up a glass works at Chaneys Corner and was making pickle bottles and tumblers.

Kirkpatrick & Co who established factories in Bridge St, Nelson in 1881 and Blenheim in 1894 were using approximately 100 gross (14,400) glass jars a month and all were manufactured in a Wellington glass works.

The large scale importation of glassware and bottles provided an abundant supply of broken glass which was collected for resmelting as early as the 1850's and used for the making of lamp glasses and lamp chimneys. In Auckland, Michael Cook essayed the production of glass from local raw materials in a small factory in Freemans Bay. Mr Cook appeared before the Tariff Commission in 1895 to ask for a 25% tariff on imported glassware. He established his business on November 28th 1881 as the Freemans Bay Glass Works producing lampware, jam and fruit jars, water bottles and jugs, cruet ware and tumblers. The Auckland Herald of December 5th 1881 describes the start of the new works in Patterson St. "The main building fronts Beach Rd and is 100 foot wide and 148 feet deep with the factory at the rear 50 feet by 30 feet with an 80 foot brick chimney. The factory contains 4 small furnaces and one large 2 pot furnace each holding 4 cwt of glass. He only employed his own family and his total production was only 750 per year.

The Herald reported on March 26th 1900 that L L Mount of the "Glass Works Co" expected to have the plant in working order again about 6-7 months after his projected visit to America. The "Wellington Evening Post" in January 1905 reported that a company which was formed in Auckland a "year or two ago" to make bottles by machinery lost money in its enterprise, and more recently an attempt to produce bottles by the blowing process met with a similar fate owing to foreign competition. The second could be the Southern Cross Glass Works.

Through all of this early history nothing specific has yet been found to identify an Auckland bottle manufacturer. Yet, it is believed there is a very early Auckland Grey & Menzies bottle manufactured in Auckland. Time will tell.

It was not until 1922 that large scale manufacture began in this country when the Australian Glass Manufacturers Co (later renamed New Zealand Glass Manufacturers) established in Penrose, Auckland. The first production unit was a furnace to make amber bottles and was equiped with semi-automatic machinery. In 1927 a second furnace and fully automatic machinery was installed to manufacture white glass. However, 2 of the first bottles of the production lines were an embossed amber 26oz for hancock & Co, and a 10 oz clear internal thread lemonade for A G Scott & Co. It is said that production of green glass did not commence till 1966.

Melbourne Glass Works
If you find a bottle with "M" on the base (and its early) chances are it was made at the Melbourne Glass Bottle Works. This company amalgamated with the Waterloo (Sydney) Glass Works in December 1915 when it became the Australian Glass Manufacturers Company Ltd. Any bottle bearing the logo AGM is post 1915. The company opened a factory in Penrose, Auckland in 1922 after joining forces with Zetland (Sydney) Glass Bottle Works. The company made machine made bottles from 1914.


John Lumb & Co
John Lumb & Co, Castleford, Yorks, England is a bottle maker whose name is often found embossed on bottles dating around the turn of the century.

Lumb & Simpson                1842 -1870's
John Lumb & Co                 1870's - 1905
John Lumb & Co Ltd           1905 - 1937
United Glass, UGB              1937 onwards.

John Lumb & Thomas Simpson were brothers in law having married two sisters. Their original factory extended to three furnaces, and eventually they purchased more land across the road for expansion. In 1902 Lumb purchased the old Sykes & McVeay glass works which dated from the 1860's. By 1903 there were no Lumbs left but with the end of the Boer War Colonel William Simpson set about a modernisation program.      


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