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Foundations associated with the Hemingray glass factory

Covington Riverfront

Site ID: 15Ke107

Kentucky Archaeological Survey
Unless specified, we cannot provide site location information.


​​​​​​​Before the City of Covington redeveloped its riverfront, archaeologists from Cultural Resource Analysts investigated the area slated for construction. They discovered intact architectural remains associated with two mid-nineteenth-century industries: a glass factory and a pottery. 

Industries began developing along Covington’s riverfront, across from the rapidly growing City of Cincinnati, in the late 1820s. The Hemingray Glass Company was established at the site in 1853, followed by the Covington Pottery in 1859. Well into the late 1800s, these industries helped supply glassware and pottery to residents and businesses throughout the Midwest. Analysis of the recovered materials provided information about these two important local industries.​

An archaeologist recovers glass bottles from the Covington Riverfront site.


​Archaeological remains were linked to both factories. They consisted of building foundations, kilns, ovens, cisterns, privies, and trash pits. 

Many of the artifacts were associated with glassware manufacturing. Analysis of glass manufacturing by-products and rejects revealed that the Hemingray Glass factory produced beer and mineral water bottles, oil lamp chimneys, fruit jars, flasks, fish globes, and tableware. 

The Company also was one of the largest U.S. manufacturers of electric and telegraph insulators. The large amounts of glass slag revealed that the factory made products in a variety of colors: clear, aqua, blue, amber, amethyst, white, black, and several shades of green.  

Photograph of the Hemingray Glass factory (courtesy of Shawun Katarsky).

Blue glass bottles recovered from the site.

What's Cool?

​Hemingray Glass Factory

The Hemingray Glass Company was one of just a few glass factories known to have operated west of the main East Coast glass manufacturing centers. Despite the fact that the company owned 17 patents - 11 of which were for advancements in glass manufacturing - it is not well-known and was not considered an important glass manufacturing company.  

Archaeological investigations conducted at the Covington Riverfront site suggest otherwise. Architectural remains revealed that the factory owners invested heavily in new technologies, such as the installation of new furnaces. Based on the presence of product wasters that were largely machine-made, it is apparent that over time, the factory became more mechanized and placed less reliance on hand-made glass elements. Archaeological investigations at the Covington Riverfront site provided a new perspective on the Hemingray Glass Company’s role in America's glass manufacturing history.  
Hemingray electric insulator.

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