Monthly Archives: September 2013

Made In America: Homer Laughlin China Company

My last stop in West Virginia was at the Homer Laughlin China Company. Founded in 1871, the company has been at its current location in Newell, West Virginia since 1903. They are most well known for being the maker of Fiesta dinnerware but half their business comes from dinnerware that they sell to hotels and restaurants.

The factory itself is 37 acres under roof. One of the lines where Fiesta is made starts with raw clay dropping into a mold and half a mile later its a fired piece of pottery. The factory is also a bit of a time capsule for pottery making machinery. They use a range of equipment that dates back to World War Two to fully automated and computerized pottery making lines.

File: Homer Laughlin China Company Factory

File: Homer Laughlin China Company Factory

File: Homer Laughlin China Company Factory

File: Homer Laughlin China Company Factory

File: Homer Laughlin China Company Factory

File: Homer Laughlin China Company Factory

File: Homer Laughlin China Company Factory

File: Homer Laughlin China Company Factory

File: Homer Laughlin China Company Factory

File: Homer Laughlin China Company Factory

File: Homer Laughlin China Company Factory

File: Homer Laughlin China Company Factory

Made In America: Wissmach Glass Company

My next stop in West Virginia was right down the street from Marble King in Paden City, West Virginia. I’ll admit, this visit was a complete fluke. When the owner of Marble King was showing me around the yard where they store all of the scrap glass they use in production they had piles of beautiful stained glass. I asked her where they get it from and she responded “Oh, they’re a block away. Want me to call them and see if you can take pictures there?”

And so I ended up at the The Paul Wissmach Glass Company. Founded in 1904, its been in its current facility since 1927, when the original plant burned down. It has to be one of the most interesting factories that I’ve visited so far. It’s an extremely hands on process. Teams of workers move giant ladles around on metal carts to furnaces that run at around 2500 Fahrenheit where they scoop the molten glass out and bring to a table where its fed into rollers that form the plates.

File: Wissmach Glass Company Factory

File: Wissmach Glass Company Factory

File: Wissmach Glass Company Factory

File: Wissmach Glass Company Factory

File: Wissmach Glass Company Factory

File: Wissmach Glass Company Factory

File: Wissmach Glass Company Factory

File: Wissmach Glass Company Factory

File: Wissmach Glass Company Factory

File: Wissmach Glass Company Factory

File: Wissmach Glass Company Factory

Made In America: Marble King

I recently took a trip out to West Virginia to visit a few different factories that were kind enough to let me in. My first visit was to Marble King in Paden City, West Virginia, along the Ohio River. Paden City was once a center of glass making with several factories in the town. Today only Marble King and a stained glass maker remain. Marble King was founded in 1949 and remains a family owned company.

Most of the marbles that Marble King produces start off as scrap glass from other manufacturers that range from glassware makers to their stained glass maker neighbor. It was pretty interesting to learn that the majority of the marbles they make are used in spray paint cans. When you shake one up, thats a glass marble in there.

File: Marble King Marble Factory

File: Marble King Marble Factory

File: Marble King Marble Factory

File: Marble King Marble Factory

File: Marble King Marble Factory

File: Marble King Marble Factory

File: Marble King Marble Factory

File: Marble King Marble Factory

File: Marble King Marble Factory