History of Fredrick Stuart- Stuart and sons and successor companies
Red House Glasswork 1827
Frederick Stuart was known to be employed at the Red House Glassworks in 1827 in the capacity of an office boy for Richard Bradley Ensell. Later he worked many years as a traveler for John Parish & Co. Richard Mills loaned Stuart the £500 investment at 5% interest per year, so he could become a partner in Mills, Webb & Stuart.
Albert Glassworks – Mills, Webb & Stuart and Stuart & Mills 1853-1882
In 1853, Richard Mills, Edward Webb, Frederick Stuart and Thomas Webb formed the firm of Mills, Webb & Stuart. Mills and Edward Webb each invested £1,000 with Frederick Stuart and Thomas Webb each investing £500. Richard Mills additionally purchased the Wordsley Iron Foundry, which was behind the Red House Glassworks for £1,000 and changed the name to Albert Glassworks, Wordsley. Mills had a new cone built for the new glassworks.
Richard Mills married Elizabeth Webb in 1834. Edward Webb was a cousin to Thomas Webb. Richard was a successful businessman but recognized his limitations. He loaned Stuart the £500 at 5% interest per year so he could become a partner in the new firm. Thomas Webb was busy with his own company and was only available for consultation. Mills realized that he knew nothing about the glass business and needed to assure Frederick Stuart’s involvement in the business for it to be successful. It was as good move on Mills’ part since Thomas Webb’s overall involvement in Mills,Webb & Stuart appeared to have been less than a year. Thomas Webb continued his work at Platts House Glassworks and was not at all involved in the day-to-day activities of Albert Glassworks.
The venture of Mills, Webb & Stuart was Edward Webb’s as well as Mills first involvement in the glass business. Edward Webb was a cousin to Joseph Webb, who ran Holloway End Glasshouse and later Coalburnhill Glassworks. Joseph was also a cousin of Thomas Webb.
Frederick Stuart was the son of Samuel Stuart of Codsall but was orphaned at age 11. He worked for Richard Bradley Ensell at Red House Glassworks and later worked for John Parish & Co.
As stated earlier, Thomas Webb left the partnership in 1854. There was a need to raise additional capital; so in 1855, Mills and Stuart obtained a mortgage. The new partnership was drawn up again on December 24, 1856 for another 14 years as Mills, Webb & Stuart. Even though the new partnership was not signed until 1856, for all intentions and purposes, the new firm and partnership dated back to 1854 when Thomas Webb left the original firm.
In 1860, Richard Mills died and his son George Mills became a partner in Mills, Webb & Stuart. Edward Webb died later that same year. Edward had never married so his interests went to his father Joseph Webb. Joseph Webb’s interest in the firm was transferred under trust or mortgage to his brother-in-law Henry Smith.
In 1868 at the end of the 14 year term of partnership, the old partnership was dissolved. The business was valued at £10,996 thus Elizabeth Mills was due £3,548 11s; with Henry Smith of California USA, who was the brother-in-law of Edward Webb, was due £3,792 9s 7d; and Frederick Stuart was due £3,652 14s 8d. Fredrick Stuart and George Mills wanted to continue the business. George Mills needed to provide 50% of the money necessary to buy Stuart’s part of the business. Stock was sold to raise the money required. Elizabeth Mills and Isaac Nash agreed to sell their remaining interest to George Mills. Henry Smith agreed to sell his interest equally between Mills and Stuart. When this new partnership formed on September 19, 1868, it was the beginning of the firm of Stuart & Mills. The new partnership assumed the debits and mortgage of the previous one.
Due to a need for additional capital, Mills and Stuart took out a mortgage secured on the Albert Glassworks for £3,792 9s 7d at 7.5% interest. Then on December 3, 1869, Frederick Stuart repaid the originally £500 loan for his partnership stake to the executor of Richard Mills estate.
In 1876, the trade directory listed a large range of glass products offered by Stuart & Mills (late Mills, Webb & Stuart). The list included cut glass chandeliers, lustres, wall lights, hall light, engraved, etched & ornamental glassware. This same year, Stuart and Mills supplied a large order of glass for the famous steamship, the Great Eastern. However, in the previous year a major disagreement between the partners occurred over the style of glass to produce. Mills preferred to make chandeliers and lighting ware, while Stuart and his sons were fascinated by Philip Pargeter’s virtuoso glassmaking next door at the Red House Glassworks. Frederick Stuart’s son, William Henry illustrated his preference by registering a Patent in 1880 for a method of applying decorative glass threads to glass objects. His method consisted of rolling the semi-molten glass objects in pulverized glass or enamel before the glass threads were applied. Then the piece was reheated causing the glass or enamel to melt and run while the glass threads remained intact and in place.
George Mills, a younger man, resented Frederick Stuart’s dominance of the firm and the presence of Stuart’s two sons in the business. Their relationship became so strained that they quit talking to each other. Attorneys were brought in on both sides and as you would expect to no avail. The business continued but profits declined. At the near end of a 14-year partnership, Frederick Stuart (even though 65) made plans for a new business with his seven sons. On April 2, 1880, Stuart and Mills split the profits. On April 29, 1881, Frederick Stuart took over the lease on Red House Glassworks and announced his intentions to quit the partnership when it expired on August 25, 1882. George Mills immediately sought a new partner. On May 11, 1882, Mills agreed (in conjunction with Philip Walker) to buy the assets and good will of William Walker & Sons at Heath Glassworks. This resulted in a new partnership being formed with his nephew James Harry Walker as Mills, Walker Co. Finally on October 1882, Frederick Stuart and George Mills parted company.
Red House Glassworks – Stuart and Sons, 1883 - 1936
As previously indicated on April 29, 1881, Frederick Stuart leased the Red House Glassworks. In 1883, he formed a partnership with William Henry Stuart, Frederick Stuart Jr., Robert Stuart, Arthur Stuart and George Stuart. He also made allowances for his son Walter Mansfield Stuart.
In December of 1885, William George Webb and Edward Webb renewed the lease of Red House Glassworks with Stuart & Sons.
In 1897, Frederick Stuart, then 82, retired. He was paid 10% interest per year of the balance due his buyout. The new partners were William Henry Stuart, Frederick Stuart, Jr., Robert Stuart, Walter Mansfield Stuart and Samuel Mansfield Stuart and allowances were made for William Henry Stuart’s son Charles. Arthur and George Stuart (brothers) had died.
Robert Stuart neither drank nor smoked; he was also a strict disciplinarian. After joining the firm in1883, he quickly became a driving force. His father Frederick Stuart, Sr. died in 1900.
In 1901, the furnace was rebuilt at Red House Glassworks. By 1903, the fifty-year long battle with the trade union was basically over. In 1911, Stuart & Sons was incorporated as a limited company. The outbreak of the First World War stopped any additional advancement in glassmaking. During the war, Stuart & Sons built a new furnace for making electric light bulbs, and by 1923 they were producing 40,000 lamps per week. After the war, things slowly returned to normal. Ludwig Kay was appointed as Chief Designer in 1918. He died in 1937 still as the Chief Designer for Stuart & Sons.
In the late 1920s, Geoffrey Stuart, a grandson of Frederic Stuart, joined the firm. He immediately started to promote a modern image for the company’s products. On September 3, 1920, Stuart & Sons purchased Red House Glassworks from the heirs of William Webb and Edward Webb. In 1921, Stuart & Sons introduced a new design registered as Stratford. This design was the foundation for a range of enameled work developed by Ludwig Kay and used from 1928 on.
In 1927, William Henry Stuart died at age 71. At that time, Robert Stuart became Chairman of Stuart & Sons.
In 1936, the furnace was allowed to go cold ending glass production for the final time at Red House Glassworks. Stuart & Sons transferred all work to a new factory built at the old White House Glassworks. For many years, the old cone was used for storage but by 1966, it was in a dangerous condition. Stuart & Sons decided to restore the structure. The site is now a museum.
White House Glassworks - Stuart & Son Ltd. 1916, 1936 – 2001
During the First World War, Stuart & Sons needed additional manufacturing capacity to satisfy the demand for electric lamps; so in 1916, they purchased the White House Glassworks. Their first task was to renovate the 130 year old cone, which was in dangerous condition. The repair to the cone was complete by 1917. The works was expanded in 1921. A new 10 pot furnace was built between the old cone and the canal. From 1927 on, the trade name of Stuart Crystal began to be used. A new, larger glassworks was built in 1934. The new glassworks had modern recuperative furnaces built by Teisen and Birlee. In 1936, all other operations of Stuart & Sons were moved from Red House to White House.
In 1937, Ludwig
Kny, Stuart & Son Ltd. Chief Designer died. He was replaced by H.
Reginald Pierce. Pierce held this position until the
In 1943, the youngest of the Stuart brothers died, Samuel Mansfield Stuart. He was followed in death by his brother Robert, Chairman of Stuart & Sons in 1946. During WWII, the firm produced aircraft landing lights, CRTs, electronic vacuum tubes for radar and other specialized glass for electronic and chemical equipment. After the war, the firm was managed by Frederick H. Stuart, son of Frederick Stuart, Jr. He was assisted by his cousins, William Arthur Stuart and Eric M. Stuart.
In 1966, Stuart & Sons Ltd. opened a new factory at Aberbargoed in South Wales. In 1969, they capped the old cone at White House; then in 1979, they demolished it totally. In 1980, they took over the management of Strathearn Glass at Crieff in Scotland and formed a new company Stuart Strathearn.
In 1995, Stuart Strathearn became the target of a takeover by Waterford Wedgwood. Waterford succeeded in their takeover bid. Due to the foreign competition and the high value of the pound, all glass production ceased in 2001 with over a hundred employees losing their jobs. The following year the cutting and polishing shops closed.
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