When Christian Dorﬂinger Melded His Art with History...
...Glassblowing Became the Heart and Soul of White Mills
—The White Mills Community Trail —
At the heart of a glass factory is its furnace, where sand, potash, and lead oxide are melted at more than 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit to produce glass. Skilled glassblowers and gaffers manipulate the hot glass to create forms both beautiful and practical. On this spot, Dorflinger built his first five-pot furnace. He also constructed seven houses for the first group of workers who came to make glass. As the factory grew, so did the community. Skilled craftsmen were brought to White Mills from France, Germany, Ireland, England, Sweden, Bohemia, and other European countries. They brought with them the skills they had acquired through long apprenticeship — skills developed through thousands of years of practical experience passed down from one generation to the next. In the late nineteenth century, Dorflinger and his fellow glassworkers represented the height of the art of glassmaking. With the dawn of the twentieth century, the emphasis shifted from the art of glassmaking to the science of glassmaking.
[Photo captions, from left to right, read]
Cutting Shop and Factory Office, Elizabeth Street
Cutting Shop The upper floor of the cutting shop contained the Cutting and Smoothing Department; the lower floor contained the Roughing Department. The tall chimney is said to be in the area of the power plant (the
The Factory Office Built of native, dressed bluestone with a slate roof, the office interior trim was made of native oak, chestnut, and cherry. At one point it may have been one of the largest buildings built exclusively of bluestone. The building served as the company office, housing the bookkeepers, records, and safes. The upper level was used as a showroom with two long tables on which Dorflinger's glass was displayed for buyers.
Overlooking the Factory
Taken from the area near the former Mittan's store on Charles Street and looking west, this image shows buildings in the foreground that no longer exist. They were likely used for packing, inspection, and storage. One of them may have been the old showroom. You can see the lower factory in the background, center left. The large rectangular building with the skylight windows is the factory's cutting shop. The Factory Office Building would be behind the Cutting Shop on Elizabeth Street.
Christian Dorflinger was born in 1828 in the village of Rosteig in the Alsace-Lorraine region of France. At the age of ten he apprenticed to an uncle to learn the art of glassmaking at the Cristalleries de Saint Louis. At eighteen, he finished his apprenticeship and came to the United States, first working in a glass factory in Camden, New Jersey. He opened a glass factory in Brooklyn, New York, in 1852, making kerosene lamp chimneys. In the same year, he married Elizabeth Hagen with whom he had ten children. Within ten years he had opened two more glass factories, including the Greenpoint Flint Glass Works. According to the family history, the strain of operating these factories was too much. He bought a farmhouse in the small village of White Mills in 1862. By the mid-1860s Dorflinger built a glass factory here where he concentrated on making the finest lead crystal for glass cutting. The company operated until it closed in 1921. Christian Dorflinger died in 1915.
Erected by Dorflinger-Suydam Wildlife Sanctuary, Lackawanna Heritage Valley, DCNR, Lackawanna Wonderful, and National Park Service.
Location. 41° 31.621′ N, 75° 12.129′ W. Marker is in White Mills, Pennsylvania, in Wayne County. Touch for map. Marker is on the grounds of the Dorflinger Factory Museum. Marker is at or near this postal address: 8 Elizabeth Street, White Mills PA 18473, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Skills Passed Down through Generations... (here, next to this marker); There Was More to White Mills than Glass (a few steps from this marker); As the Company Prospered, So Did the Community. (within shouting distance of this marker); Dorflinger: America's Finest Glass... (within shouting distance of this marker); From Alsace, France to White Mills... (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Dorflinger Glass Works (about 400 feet away); Watching Over Their Livelihood and Their Homes (about 400 feet away); The Canal and the Rails Spark the Growth of White Mills... (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in White Mills.
Also see . . .
1. Dorflinger Factory Museum. (Submitted on June 5, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
2. Dorflinger Glass Museum. (Submitted on June 5, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
3. White Mills Community Trail may open in fall (2008 Wayne Independent article). (Submitted on June 5, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.)
Categories. • Industry & Commerce • Man-Made Features • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 5, 2017. This page originally submitted on June 5, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 115 times since then and 49 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on June 5, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.