Title Image


Glassmakers’ strike

The glassmakers’ strike. Cover illustration showing bottle-making. “Le Journal illustré”, No. 43

• Date: Sunday 25 October 1891

• Manufacturing technique: paper

• Dimensions: H : 39,3 ; l : 29,1

• Collection: Coll. Ecomusée de l’Avesnois

• Credit: © Lucie Nicolas / Ecomusée de l’Avesnois


Several strikes broke out in the bottle-making factories in the 1890s. The glassmakers were concerned about the profound changes affecting how glassworks operated and, consequently, their trade and working conditions. Pot furnaces were replaced with tank furnaces which enabled the continuous melting of glass. The semi-automatic machine manufactured by Boucher simplified the glassmaker’s work, reducing production times and improving health and safety by, in particular, eliminating the practice of mouth-blowing. As a result, the glassmaker became a simple labourer who required less training and fewer qualifications, leading to a reduction in salaries and the size of the workforce.