Glass museum rekindles a Sandwich tradition

The Sandwich Glass Museum restarted a tradition after 115 years on Tuesday when members of the Sandwich Historical Society re-lit the fires of glassmaking on the Upper Cape.

The society owns the museum, and its members gathered in the museum's new wing, this time to spark education, not glass production.Richard Spurr Lovis, who was elected president of the Sandwich Glass Museum on Tuesday, fired up the "glory hole," the furnace that will enable future glassmaking demonstrations by glass artisan John Akeley.Lovis stepped up to the glass oven and into the role that had been carried by his predecessor as president, Jack Jillson.

It was Lovis's great grandfather, Henry Francis Spurr, who extinguished the fires in 1888. As the last general manager and superintendent of the Boston & Sandwich Glass Co., Spurr sat in a shareholders' meeting in Boston and listened as a vote was taken to close production. "Eastern glassmakers simply could not compete with glass factories in the Midwest. They couldn't compete with the labor costs," Lovis said. Spurr returned to Sandwich with a heavy heart and told workers not to order any more coal for the glass furnace.

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