An extended weekend highlighting the heritage and lasting allure of brilliant cut glass was hosted by the Dorflinger Factory Museum in White Mills, September 13-16. Breaking from the schedule of talks and workshops, at 2 p.m. Friday, a memorial grove was dedicated and a newly donated piece of vintage glass cutting equipment was presented.
WHITE MILLS - An extended weekend highlighting the heritage and lasting allure of brilliant cut glass was hosted by the Dorflinger Factory Museum in White Mills, September 13-16. Breaking from the schedule of talks and workshops, at 2 p.m. Friday, a memorial grove was dedicated and a newly donated piece of vintage glass cutting equipment was presented.
The group went out back of the historic factory museum to inspect the new Dorflinger Memorial Grove.
As explained by James Asselstine, owner and CEO of the museum, “ As we begin to think about the factory museum and all of its components of the museum, we wanted to remember a few of our very dear friends who are no longer with us, and to remember what they have meant to us and the museum itself.”
Three Bradford Pear trees were planted, surrounding a memorial of fountain, to remember Edward M. Coggins, Ray J. La Tournas and Carol J. Reed.
Asselstine said that Ed and Pat Coggins were two of the museums’ early mentors who gave them much needed advice when the factory’s extensive collection of Dorflinger glass was being brought together. “They guided us a lot in our collecting in our understanding and appreciated for American cut glass but especially Dorflinger cut glass…,” he said.
Edward Coggins and his wife, of Honesdale, were American Brilliant Cut Glass dealers and appraisers, specializing in Dorflinger. He died May 22, 2015 at the age of 76.
Raymond J. La Tournas, of White Mills- and later Hawley, manufactured and sold cut glass. He was directly descended from one of Christian Dorflinger’s cutters. The Dorflinger Factory Museum contains a section devoted to fine cut glassware produced by La Tournas.
“Ray loved this place and he was a great source of inspiration and advice, and education and information for us all as well as we put the museum together,” Asselstine stated.
“Ray, I think like a lot of people had great dreams for what the factory could be and what it could represent in terms of remembering this part of the history of a great industry and a great part of this community,” he said. “And we hope we have lived up to those expectations.”
Raymond La Tournas was 86 when he died February 18, 2016.
A tree was planted in memory of Carol J. Reed. She was the wife of Kurt Reed, the factory museum’s curator.
“Carol was an integral part of literally everything that we did,” Asselstine reflected. “There’s not a presentation, there’s not a display, that doesn’t reflect Carol’s interest and her enthusiasm, and her excitement and her love of the ACJA and of cut glass.”
Carol, who lived in South Canaan, was 40 when she died, February 9, 2016.
Cutting frame donated
Inside the museum, Asselstine also presided over a dedication of a cutting frame and set of cutting and polishing wheels, donated to the museum by Rex and Janet Andrews of Rushville, IL.
The equipment, used in the manufacture of cut glass, came from the F.X. Parsche Company in Chicago. Parsche worked briefly for C. Dorflinger and Company in White Mills, Pa., beefier opening his own shop in Chicago in 1876. The equipment was purchased by Rev. Ellsworth Young once the Parsche firm closed in 1985. The Andrews later acquired it. The Blackhawk Chapter of the American Cut Glass Association (ACGA) contributed the transportation costs to ship the historic equipment here.
Set up in the restored boiler room of the factory, Asselestine said that the cutting frame will be available for the public to touch and inspect closely, and it even has a motor which can be used for glass cutting demonstrations. On the third floor of the factory museum there are cutting frames on display that were actually used by the Dorflinger firm, but are part of a larger historic exhibit that is roped off.
ACGA Brilliant Weekend
The weekend’s symposium was part of the ACGA Brilliant Weekend which also featured a dealer show. There were presentations by Kurt Reed, factory museum curator; Henry Loftus, curator of the Dorflinger Glass Museum which is on top the hill; Asselstine; and Hal Gelfius, ACGA Ethics & Authenticity Committee.
The Dorflinger company operated in White Mills from 1865 to 1921. The Dorflinger Glass Museum, located in the estate home of Christian Dorflinger, was opened in 1989. The Dorflinger Factory Museum, which occupies the 1894 cutting shop, was opened in 2016 as a separate entity from the Glass Museum. The Dorflinger Factory Museum is meant to complement the collection at Dorflinger Glass Museum, each which contain elements of the same story of the Dorflinger heritage.
The cutting shop was part of a large complex of factory buildings. White Mills prospered as a company town, celebrated to this day by its unique collection of workers’ cottages with concave roofs, one of which is kept as a museum.
For more information:
Dorflinger Factory Museum, call 570-253-0220 or visit https://dorflingerfactorymuseum.com.
Dorflnger Glass Museum, call 570-253-1185 or visit dorflinger.org/dorflinger-glass-museum.