From the time that a small band of colonists arrived in Jamestown in the spring of 1607, many thousands of Europeans came to the colony. Coins circulated in Virginia but only in small quantities while tobacco was the established standard of exchange.
During June of 1630 the General Court at Jamestown passed an order that the manufacture of salt from sea water should be begun again. The sun was used for evaporation instead of the former method of artificial heat.
It was common to make linen cloth for napkins to be used at the dinner table but this practice did not really get going until after the Act of 1693 when a statute offered a reward for the encouragement of linen production. The inventories of estates listed linen napkins. Source: Hening's Statutes, vol. III, p. 135.
The Virginia Company planned a manufacture of linen in Jamestown, of any quality. Between 1612 and 1646 they had attempted to promote the cultivation of flax to the Governors of Virginia. So in 1646 the General Assembly decided to erect two houses at Jamestown for this purpose. They were to be built of substantial timber and were to be forty feet in length, twenty feet width, and eight in pitch. The roofs were to be covered with boards properly sawed and in the centre of each house, brick chimneys were to be placed. Each house was to be divided into rooms by convenient partitions. The different counties were required to furnish two children, male or female, of the age of eight or seven years, whose parents were too poor to educate them, and to be instructed in the art of carding, knitting and spinning. It is unknown whether this law was observed. Source: Hening's Statutes, vol. I, p. 336.
The Virginia Company decided to advance one-fourth of the amount required in the glass-making enterprise of Capt. Norton. Fifty acres were to be allowed for every person sent over by the private adventurers. A roll was drawn at which the proposition was broached, and received signatures of the proposed investors. Having this means in securing the fund needed for the equipment of himself and his followers for the glass enterprise and to meet the charges of the ocean passave, Capt. Norton, his family and all the workingmen set sail for Virginia. He erected a glass furnace. Unfortunately, Capt. Norton died and the Treasurer, Sir Sandys, who was appointed to take his place, came in charge of the works but soon met with disappointment when he was unable to obtain the proper variety of sand. On one occasion, Sands sent a shallop to the Falls for a supply, but none was found. Later, he found the correct quality of sand at Cape Henry. The difficulty was not only in the proper sand but also with the Italian crew. Sandys angrily said "that a more damned crew hell never vomited". The Italians were anxious to return to Europe and in order to effect their release, not only proceeded so slowly in their work as to accomplish little, but cracked the furnace by striking it with a crowbar. The 1624-1625 census listed only two of the four Italians sent in 1621 residing on Treasurer's lands, Bernardo Vicenso.
Source: Muster of the Inhabitants of Virginia 1624-1625.
The first glass-making in the colony was at the behest of Capt. John Smith, during the fall of 1608 when a number of Dutch and Poles, onboard in the second Supply ship of Capt. Newport, were sent to give their try at glass-making. A glass-house was erected about a mile from Jamestown. Some specimans of glass was produced under the supervision of Capt. John Smith and when he returned to England, he carried specimans with him in his cargo. After Capt. Smith left the colony, nothing more was heard of glass manufacture in Virginia until 1621, when an effort was made to re-establish it on a permanent footing. In 1621, the Virginia Company entered into a contract with Capt. William Norton, who had decided to emigrate to the colony with his family and who agreed to carry over with him four Italians skilled in glass-making and also two servants, the expense of transporting 6 persons to be borne by him, while the Company was to furnish their general equipment. Within three months of his arrival, Capt. Norton was required to erect a house for the manufacture of every variety of glass. Source: Works of Capt. John Smith, p. 441.