Skills Passed Down through Generations...
...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
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.
Location. 41° 31.622′ N, 75° 12.13′ 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. When Christian Dorflinger Melded His Art with History... (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); The Canal and the Rails Spark the Growth of White Mills... (about 400 feet away); Watching Over Their Livelihood and Their Homes (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 68 times since then and 7 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on June 5, 2017, by William Fischer, Jr. of Scranton, Pennsylvania.