...Cut Crystal for Use in America's Finest Homes.
—The White Mills Community Trail —
How Glass Is Cut
Once a glass "blank" was blown and annealed to room temperature, it went to the cutting department where skilled workers used cast iron and stone wheels to cut the desired pattern or design. Wooden and felt wheels and polishing brushes were used to smooth and polish the cuts. Each cutter stood at a cutting frame consisting of two posts attached to a large wooden tub. A stone wheel on a spindle was set between the posts. It turned by belts from driveshafts powered by a large steam engine at the rear of the factory. A funnel-shaped hopper hung over the stone and fed a mixture of water and an abrasive to the revolving stone. The wooden tub served to capture the used mixture of water and abrasive. Blanks would first be marked with guidelines for the cutters and then each piece would go through the roughing, smoothing, and polishing steps. Later the company used hydrofluoric acid to polish items after they were smoothed. Acid etching was also used to create floral designs on the glass in the "Kalana" series, introduced after 1907.
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Workers having lunch inside the T.B. Clark factory when it was located in Armory #1 on Industrial Point, Honesdale. The workers in Dorflinger's factory would look very much the same.
The smoothers section of the factory was on the upper floor
of the cutting room. Dozens of cutting frames extended in two rows the length of the floor. The skylights at the top of the room provided plenty of natural light. The main driveshaft went down the line and each frame had its own belt, which was adjusted until the tension was correct. The wood tubs in each frame contained water, which "stunk to high heaven." The water had to be taken out by hand in buckets, so some of it remained in the frames for months.
[Text inside red border at bottom right of marker reads]
In 1861, Dorflinger's Greenpoint Flint Glass Works produced a set of glasses for President Abraham and Mrs. Mary Todd Lincoln. This pattern consisted of a fine-cut design with a copper wheel engraved variation of the Presidential seal. This pattern (left photo) was used in the White House over the next thirty years until it was replaced by the pattern produced for President Benjamin Harrison in 1891. (right photo) Dorflinger's company and several others made replacements as needed.