Category Archives: Made In America

Gold, Gold and More Gold: Inside The West Point Mint

Yesterday I had the opportunity to photograph inside the West Point branch of United States Mint. The West Point Mint is main facility for the production of all gold, silver and platinum bullion and proof coins for the U.S. government. Its a pretty surreal experience to see the huge amount of precious metal coins that they were making that day.

But the most out of this world part of the day was when I was taken into vault where they keep the gold bars that will be turned into coins. I’ve never seen anything like it in real life. Each bar contains approximately $500,000.00 worth of gold at recent prices.

I also have to say that the people who work at West Point are some of the friendliest folks I’ve dealt with, and I can’t thank them enough for giving me a few hours in the place.

NY: Gold and Silver Coin Production at the West Point Mint

NY: Gold and Silver Coin Production at the West Point Mint

NY: Gold and Silver Coin Production at the West Point Mint

NY: Gold and Silver Coin Production at the West Point Mint

NY: Gold and Silver Coin Production at the West Point Mint

NY: Gold and Silver Coin Production at the West Point Mint

NY: Gold and Silver Coin Production at the West Point Mint

NY: Gold and Silver Coin Production at the West Point Mint

NY: Gold and Silver Coin Production at the West Point Mint

Made In America: Money

Last week I was given the opportunity to photograph inside the Philadelphia branch of the United States Mint. I have to say, it was a pretty neat tour. It started with the sculptors who design and make the large plaster models that serve as the template for the stamping dies and continued down to the production floor.

The Philadelphia mint is responsible for producing 50% of the coins in circulation. During my visit the facility was producing an average of 35 millions coins per day.

Unfortunately I couldn’t convince my tour guide to give me a 1 ton bag of pennies as a souvenir.

PA: Coin Production At The Philadelphia Mint

PA: Coin Production At The Philadelphia Mint

PA: Coin Production At The Philadelphia Mint

PA: Coin Production At The Philadelphia Mint

PA: Coin Production At The Philadelphia Mint

PA: Coin Production At The Philadelphia Mint

PA: Coin Production At The Philadelphia Mint

PA: Coin Production At The Philadelphia Mint

PA: Coin Production At The Philadelphia Mint

PA: Coin Production At The Philadelphia Mint

PA: Coin Production At The Philadelphia Mint

Made In America: The Electric Time Company

A few weeks the kind folks at The Electric Time Company factory in Medfield, Massachusetts allowed me to stop by for a visit. The company specializes in manufacturing and restoring tower and other large public clocks and has been around since 1928.

The company makes its clocks from start to finish. From custom fabricating the housings and clocks to hand assembling the gearing and the final assembly.

MA: Electric Time Clock Factory

MA: Electric Time Clock Factory

MA: Electric Time Clock Factory

MA: Electric Time Clock Factory

MA: Electric Time Clock Factory

MA: Electric Time Clock Factory

MA: Electric Time Clock FactoryMA: Electric Time Clock Factory

MA: Electric Time Clock Factory

 

 

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

Made In America: Bollman Hat Company

The Bollman Hat Company has been in Adamstown, Pennsylvania since 1868. Its now one of two hat companies left in the area and one of only a handful in the United States to keep every step of production under one roof, starting with raw cotton. They make just about every type of hat that you can imagine. They have also supplied hats for the U.S. Olympic team and own brands such as Kangol.

FILE: The Bollman Hat Company Factory

FILE: The Bollman Hat Company Factory

FILE: The Bollman Hat Company Factory

FILE: The Bollman Hat Company Factory

FILE: The Bollman Hat Company Factory

FILE: The Bollman Hat Company Factory

FILE: The Bollman Hat Company Factory

FILE: The Bollman Hat Company Factory

FILE: The Bollman Hat Company Factory

FILE: The Bollman Hat Company Factory

FILE: The Bollman Hat Company Factory

FILE: The Bollman Hat Company Factory