Cape Point – Glass Works

Some years ago I was walking in the location of Elsies Optimal in Fish Hoek (south of Cape Town on the Cape Factor Peninsula- for those that do not know the area, Fish Hoek is a small town snuggled on the eastern end of the Noordhoek valley, which properly divides the Table Chain of mountains in 2. It is a town of a few thousand people and also Elsies Peak rises to the South of it).

I had not been living below long but had actually currently been to the summit so I determined to explore the South side of the hill. My journey took me down the hill towards the Spar corner store yet being a bit of an explorer I really did not take the evident course and also ended up cutting through a tiny opening between some residences. So it was by full luck that I initially came across among the much more uncommon archaeological sites of the Cape Factor Peninsula- The Cape Glass Company, or rather, what is left of it!

However the website is closed to site visitors (definitely for safety factors), however, if you are tall enough you can virtually see all there is to see from the outside of the fence.

The Cape Glass Company was registered as a British company on fourth March 1902 under the administration of Mr. Briarley. It was the intent of the company to create over 8 million dark brownish or aqua-colored containers per year. That sounds a whole lot, yet then, like now, Cape Community had a flourishing brewing industry, both red wine, and beer.

They were going to attain such high production numbers by using computerized CPUs. In this regard the creators were to be a technological leader, this being the first glass operation in the globe to make containers making use of automation only.

Ohlsson’s Cape Breweries had a large shareholding in the business and also saw the glass functions as a response to their demand for bottles for their bigger production in Johannesburg (importing the bottles was seen as really expensive).

The glass works had no rivals, a huge market, reducing side innovation, and also sufficient financial backing; so why is the Cape Glass Works not a competitor for Pilkingtons? In spite of all these benefits, the firm just lasted until 1905, when it entered into voluntary liquidation. What went wrong?

The initial issue was the location. Fairly why the site was picked is uncertain. In the early 20th century Glencairn was an unwelcoming wasteland and also transferring glasses to civilization would certainly cause a lot of breakages. Likewise, since the machinery was so reducing side the workforce came mostly from overseas. A combination of isolation and homesickness produced an unmotivated labor force. Because of this the manufacturing facility was badly run as well as inefficient, definitely impacting the bottom line. If you liked this article, feel free to visit Icy Violets for further information.

The other significant trouble is one that is familiar to close-by City railway today (and also would have been far worse back then), that of shifting sand dunes: one can picture that as many individuals were employed to keep the sand away when it comes to making containers.

In the end, the place and also the aspects won and the Cape Glass Functions was required to close its doors in 1905. The experiment was never ever repeated and the site was enabled to be swallowed by the sand. The works lay under the sand and were overgrown with vegetation until the 1980’s when substantial excavation exposed the site as it can be seen today.

Next time you go to the Glencairn Spar take a minute to stroll throughout, past the Masonic hall as well as down a break between your houses as well as there it is, a nearly neglected piece of the Cape Factor Peninsulas commercial past, and also a reminder that we never ever beat nature we just slow it down for some time.