Salem County College Glass Education Program
Salem County (New Jersey) College Glass Education Center and the Batsto Citizens Committee, Inc.
The manufacturing of glass is an important part of Batsto’s history.
When it was clear the production of Bog Iron would no longer be sustainable, the Richards family turned to glass as a way to keep their family business alive.
The blowing of glass, using the cylinder method to produce window glass and “ Batsto Lights” (small panes used in the construction of gas street lights used in several large east coast cities) began in the late 1840’s. It did keep Batsto going for several years but ultimately could not save the Richards family empire from falling into receivership.
An interesting piece of history related to the Glass Works at Batsto involves Joseph Fralinger. Amongst Fralinger’s accomplishments later in life was the creation of Fralingers Salt Water Taffy. The gooey, sweet treat enjoyed by visitors to the south Jersey shore…even to this day.
Joseph Fralinger was born at Batsto and as a young boy was employed as a laborer at the Glass Works.
Many years later, descendants of Joseph donated funds to the Batsto Citizens Committee in his honor as a way of recognizing his time at Batsto and the importance of glass at the site.
In 2007, the Committee endowed an annual scholarship to a student at the Salem County (New Jersey) College Samuel & Jean Jones Glass Education Center as a way to honor Fralinger’s time at Batsto.
Tucked away in the lower South East corner of the state, the Salem County College Glass Education program is world renowned for the work it does educating students in the art and science of producing glass products.
An award ceremony is held annually to recognize the recipient of this award; the Stella Grote Scholarship award, along with students involved in other programs at the college.
There was no ceremony in 2020 due to the pandemic.
In lieu of the ceremony, the Batsto Citizens Committee arranged to meet ..via Zoom… the 2020 recipient Robin DeGroof of Arizona. We wanted an opportunity to congratulate Robin and learn a little about him.
At the end of February 2021, two members the Batsto Citizen Committee met with Robin and Kristin Deady; the glass program administrator at the college.
We have included a link to this interview along with links to the Colleges Glass program website and a virtual tour of the glass program facility.
The Batsto Citizens Committee couldn’t be prouder to partner with Salem County College in this important work.
Ps…as technology goes, there are some times glitches. The video interview with Robin does some strange things near the beginning, but corrects itself after a short period. This is raw / unedited video and you see it as it was recorded. Robin is in the lower right box on the screen and Kristen appears in the upper right box.
Virtual tour of the Salem County College Glass Center