With a workforce of just seven employees, the company was making decorative ware, vases, bowls and paperweights in soft pastel colours, that are rare collectors items today (many examples can be seen in the Nazeing Glass museum). The equipment available to the Kemptons at that time was far from perfect and further investment was needed. Help came in the form of John Ismay, a north country solicitor with interests in electric lamp manufacture. Ismay wanted a glass works to supply the glass for his light bulb business. In 1932 Richard Kempton, then aged 64, sold his shares in the company to Ismay who appointed his own Company Secretary, Malcolm Pollock-Hill, to run the glass works alongside Richard's sons Reginald and Cederic.
By the start of the second world war glass bulbs were by being mass produced in automatic plants and the future was looking bleak. Malcolm Pollock-Hill was soon called up for military service, until it was realised that Nazeing was capable of producing special Vitrite glass, then considered a vital war resource. Malcolm was immdiately sent back to Nazeing to direct production. Throughout the war the factory was also required to supply the Admiralty with ships' signal lights and semaphore lenses.
|The immediate post war years were not
so good. 1947 began bitterly cold and it snowed from January until March with snow drifts
3 foot deep. Then a sudden warm spell broke the freeze and it all melted in a week,
placing enormous pressure on the River Lea and surrounding former gravel pits. The bank of
the Lea burst and on 14th March 1947 the whole site was flooded to a depth of eighteen
inches, putting out the furnaces. All production stopped while the workforce rescued the
stock that was floating away!
As the land was "liable to flooding" there was no insurance compensation. Malcolm Pollock-Hill was staring ruin in the face. Barclays Bank advised closure, but Malcolm talked to four merchant banks and was guided towards a possible saviour. Robert Mayer had recently inherited from his father and decided to buy a half share for £50,000, becoming joint shareholder and Managing Director. The last of the Kemptons, Cederic, at this point departed.
|Business began to pick up
after the re-opening of the factory, and many of the company's war time contracts resulted
in new business during peace time. The Admiralty, who Nazeing supplied during the
War, placed an order for crystal glasses reputedly copied from an original design used
aboard HMS Victory at the battle of Trafalgar. Fortunately some Belgian glass blowers had
fled to England with experience of stem wine glasses, and the success of that
contract led to Nazeing supplying further NATO stemware.
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