Estellville Glass Factory
— Estell Manor Park —
After the cylinder was removed from the blowpipe in the Melting Furnace, it was placed on a wooden rack, and a molten glass strip was wrapped around each end. When the domed top and end were touched with a piece of wet metal, they snapped off cleanly.
Next, a heated rod was run down the length of the cylinder until it made a groove; when the cylinder was touched with a piece of wet metal it split along the groove. At this point the split cylinders were stored on wooden racks until they were needed in the Flattening House.
When the split cylinder was moved to the Flattening House, it was placed on a smooth rotating "stone" made of fired clay. Here it was reheated, causing it to unfold, and smothered with a block of wood until it was a flat rectangle.
It was then lifted off the stone with a long-pronged fork and placed on a car at the mouth of the annealing oven, or lehr, also located in the Flattening House. The annealing oven was a long, low rectangular chamber, intensely hot at the end near the oven, and cooler at the far end. The flattened glass slowly passed through the oven, in a controlled cooling that left the glass free of built-in stress.
The final step was carried out in the Cutting House, where the 32" by 40" glass sheets were cut into window panes. This was the domain of the cutters, who were socially and financially at the top of the heap of glasshouse workers. They were the only employees who wore collars and ties while working and they were paid more than even the glassblowers. This reflects the importance placed on their work; a poor glass cutter could waste a lot of glass in this last stage of manufacture. One cutter could keep pace with the output of several glassblowers.
Very little was wasted in the glass manufacturing process. Broken glass, called "cutlet," was remelted as part of the batch; ash from the furnace was recycled as one of the raw materials of the glass; and even the caps removed from the ends of the cylinders were retrieved and used as glass bells under which wax fruit was displayed.
(Inscription under the image in the top center) Blowing hole in cylinder.
(Inscription under the image in the top center down) Cracking off end of cylinder.
(Inscription under the image in the lower right) The cutters