Skills Passed Down through Generations...

Skills Passed Down through Generations... (HM1YQW)

Location: Honesdale, PA 18431 Wayne County
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Country: United States of America
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N 41° 31.622', W 75° 12.13'

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...Together with Sand and Heat Produce Objects of Great Beauty

—The White Mills Community Trail —

The factory opened in 1865 as one building with a five-pot furnace. The large clay pots were made and cured in another structure nearby. The enterprise quickly grew, expanding down the hill toward the old plank road between Honesdale and Hawley. The first cutting shop opened in 1867-68 under the supervision of John S. O'Connor. Success brought about rapid expansion and the construction of the large, (150-by-40-foot) bluestone structure for glass cutting, which opened in 1883. A blowing shop and annealing oven were added to the end of the cutting shop in 1885. Despite a disastrous 1892 fire that destroyed most of the complex, the factory was completely rebuilt. An additional blowing shop next to the one constructed in 1885 was added in 1901.
Most of the glass made in White Mills was lead crystal — glass made using high quality sand, lead oxide, and potash. Lead oxide was added instead of soda-lime to make the glass soft enough to cut on stone wheels without breaking. It also gives the glass its characteristic sparkle. The factory produced colorless glass as well as such colors as green, blue, ruby, cranberry, yellow, white, turquoise, amber, and poppy. Metallic oxides were added to the glass batch to produce the desired color. The ingredients were melted at 2,300 degrees Fahrenheit in large clay pots in the furnace
over a period of several days.
When the glass was ready to work, a "shop" of three to four men and boys would gather hot glass at the end of a hollow metal pipe. The blower would then blow this glass within a two-piece wooden mold to give the "bubble" of glass a specific shape. Then the glass was given to a gaffer.
[Photo captions, from left to right, read]
The gaffer worked at a wood bench that had long arms extended horizontally in front. The gaffer, assisted by the servitor, would take the piece off the blowpipe by attaching it to a solid pontil rod. He then shaped the opening and added handles, stems, and feet as desired. As the glass cooled and hardened, it was returned to the glory hole, an opening in the side of the furnace, where it was reheated so that it was still malleable.
The furnace in the lower factory was originally fueled with wood, then later gas produced from bituminous coal. This unknown gaffer is about to give his apprentice, who appears to be about twelve years old, a completed piece. Christian Dorflinger had a motto: "If you are big enough, you are old enough," which lasted until 1897 when child labor laws came into being in Pennsylvania.
This photo of Dorflinger workers was taken before the 1890s. Many men in the back row hold the tools with which they worked. At its peak, the company employed about 600 people.
Placed ByDorflinger-Suydam Wildlife Sanctuary, Lackawanna Heritage Valley, DCNR, Lackawanna Wonderful, and National Park Service
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, June 5th, 2017 at 9:02pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18T E 483133 N 4597285
Decimal Degrees41.52703333, -75.20216667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 41° 31.622', W 75° 12.13'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds41° 31' 37.3200" N, 75° 12' 7.8000" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)570
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 8 Elizabeth St, Honesdale PA 18431, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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