2017 NIA Hall of Fame Inductee

 William Brookfield 

William Brookfield: (1844-1903)

William Brookfield succeded James Brookfield as proprietor of the Bushwick Glass Works. In his lifetime he accomplished many significant things:

  • First to install and use gas-fueled furnaces -- heralded as a revolution in the glass making industry.   
  • Invented a better way of making telegraph insulators with patent #113,393 April 4, 1871.
  • He built the glass business to the point in 1884 The Pottery and Glass Reporter from Pittsburgh said “Nearly all insulators that have been used in the last 15 years by the various telegraph companies were made by Bushwick Works…”
  • In 1884 William installed the first and only continuous feed furnace which the NYT saw as a big enough change/event to write a large article of how Brookfield had once again totally revolutionized the glass industry.
  • He was president of the Eastern division of the Green Glass Manufacturer’s Association.
  • Iin 1886 the NYT said three-fourths of all insulators used in this country were Brookfield made.
  • He pioneered the Krib’s press which was a standard glass press even in to the 1920s.
  • Brookfield was producing large amounts of bottles, carboys, battery jars, and insulators including makers of products that were household words such as Radway’s Ready Relief. 
  • He iIncorporated a company with Whitall Tatum in July 1900 to make automatic bottle machines following the Grote design from Germany - this is three years before the well-known Owen’s Automatic Bottle machine was patented and at least two years before the Owen’s was known to be used.
  • In addition to his factory work, he was active in NY politics and served on numerous committees and as Commissioner of Public Works, director of insurance companies & banks.
  • William taught his sons Henry Morgan & Frank Brookfield what he knew about glassmaking.

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