Ireland is famous for it's stout and it's whiskey, and it promises to become so for it's bottles. An Irishman, Francis Hazlett, has invented and an Irish Company has bought out a mechanical apparatus for blowing glass bottles, which dispenses with the old-fashioned method of blowing glass by the mouth.
Hitherto it has been considered impossible to improve upon the human lungs, so the glass-blowers of the world have gone on puffing themselves away at forty-two years of age, which is the low average of life among these handcraftsmen. The new invention which was exhibited at work at Angel Court, Golden Lane, dispenses entirely of the human lungs and injects the air into the molten glass by an airpump not unlike an ordinary syringe in shape and action. This is fastened to the ordinary blow-pipe and makes little difference to the workman in handling.
Manifestly the invention is of advantage to the workman and as to the employer it will enable him to produce bottles at two and a half times greater speed. The average wage for a gross of bottles is 3s (or 8s?) 9d, and with the machine, for the same labour pay, 2 and a half gross can be turned out. The cost of the patent blower is not great, so that the capital outlay is comparatively small. The present blow-pipes can also be converted, and so reduce the cost.
The bottle industry is a very large one, the quantity produced per day in the respective countries being estimated as follows:
Great Britain & Ireland 6,206 gross
Sweden 960 gross
Norway 600 gross
Denmark 360 gross
Germany and Belgium 30,089 gross
Austria 7,000 gross
France 100 gross
Untited States 840 gross
Canada 120 gross
Australia 207 gross
Total 46,432 gross
With 300 working days this gives no less than 13,929,600 gross per year.
The Germans by means of cheaper labour and more care in producing a symmetrical bottle, absorb the great proportion of the trade at present but this bit of Irish ingenuity may change the aspect of affairs.