TribLIVE

| Neighborhoods

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Former Lenox Crystal employee speaks at Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum

Submitted - Glassware from the collection of Leslie Kurtz, a retired Lenox Crystal employee, who conducted a presentation at the Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Submitted</em></div>Glassware from the collection of Leslie Kurtz, a retired Lenox Crystal employee, who conducted a presentation  at the Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum.
Cami DiBattista | For The Mt. Pleasant Journal - Leslie Kurtz, a retired Lenox Crystal employee, demonstrated how a blow pipe was used during the process of hand-blowing glass during a presentation held at the Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Cami DiBattista | For The Mt. Pleasant Journal</em></div>Leslie Kurtz, a retired Lenox Crystal employee, demonstrated how a blow pipe was used during the process of hand-blowing glass during  a presentation held at the Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum.
Cami DiBattista | For The Mt. Pleasant Journal - Leslie Kurtz of Connellsville gave a presentation titled 'Lenox Glassware: How We Made It' at the Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum. Kurtz was employed at Lenox Crystal for more than 30 years.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Cami DiBattista | For The Mt. Pleasant Journal</em></div>Leslie Kurtz of Connellsville gave a presentation titled 'Lenox Glassware: How We Made It' at the Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum. Kurtz was employed at Lenox Crystal for more than 30 years.
Cami DiBattista | For The Mt. Pleasant Journal - Leslie Kurtz of Connellsville gave a presentation titled 'Lenox Glassware: How We Made It' at the Mt Pleasant Glass Museum. He displayed glassware from his personal collection of pieces made while he was employed at Lenox Crystal for three decades.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Cami DiBattista | For The Mt. Pleasant Journal</em></div>Leslie Kurtz of Connellsville gave a presentation titled 'Lenox Glassware: How We Made It' at the Mt Pleasant Glass Museum.  He displayed glassware from his personal collection of pieces made while he was employed at Lenox Crystal for three decades.

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Cami Dibattista
Wednesday, April 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

Connellsville's Leslie Kurtz on Saturday conducted a presentation titled “Lenox Glassware: How We Made It” at the Mt. Pleasant Glass Museum.

Kurtz discussed the processes by which glassware was created during his more than 30 years of employment at Lenox Crystal.

“Producing all the glassware was truly a team effort,” Kurtz said. “It took every individual performing their own part in order for it to be a successful process.”

In the company's early years, a pot furnace was used to heat the glass, Kurtz said. Workers used a blow pipe to gather the glass and each piece was individually crafted. Works took pride in this process, Kurtz said, though they often had blistered fingers as a result.

When the electric melter was introduced to Lenox, the glassmaking process began to change. A continuous feed meant many more pieces were produced. Kurtz said three shifts of workers now had to be employed to keep up with production.

In the late 1980s, an automatic press and blow machine were utilized, which eliminated many of the workers' positions as much of the work was subsequently performed robotically.

The machine allowed for more flexibility of product and different items such as bells and barware were now able to be produced.

“Glassware went from being 100 percent hand blown to about 75 percent machine blown,” Kurtz said.

Kurtz brought glassware from his personal collection to use in his demonstration. A variety of patterns and unique stemware was represented.

Kurtz worked at Lenox from January 1972 to January 2002 and performed a variety of positions, including skilled glassworker, supervisor of the hot metal department, manager and technical supervisor.

Under his leadership, hundreds of pieces of crystal were created.

Kurtz fondly recalled the camaraderie between the workers.

“We were working together 12-hour days, at times seven days a week,” Kurtz said. “They were good, dedicated employees.”

Kurtz said the workers adopted “Simply The Best” by Tina Turner as their unofficial theme song, and it would periodically get played throughout the building.

Several other former Lenox employees attended Kurtz's presentation and the men reminisced about “the good old days” and recalled producing particular pieces.

Many of them fondly recalled hand blowing glass as the best way to achieve a quality piece.

“Every piece, every cut was a little bit different,” Kurtz said.

Attendee Don Sechrist of Scottdale agreed.

“Hand blowing glass is an art form,” he said, “It goes back to ancient times.”

Kurtz's demonstration will be converted into a slide show presentation to archive it for the museum.

Cassandra Vivian, president of the glass museum's board of directors, was very pleased with Kurtz's demonstration and discussion and with the success of the museum so far, she said.

“Les was our third speaker and all three of the events we've had have been very successful,” Vivian said.

Cami DiBattista is a freelance writer.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Mt. Pleasant

  1. Mt. Pleasant grads bound for service academies
  2. Stahlstown resident shares a love of history for Chestnut Ridge
  3. Michael Vomish Memorial Golf Outing is Aug. 16 near Mt. Pleasant
  4. Mt. Pleasant Borough fire department’s support system dampened
  5. Mt. Pleasant Cemetery Association seeks aid to finance future upkeep
  6. Mt. Pleasant church to welcome newly installed bishop
  7. Physical therapist marks 10 years of service in Donegal area
  8. Mt. Pleasant Township road work is compromised by wet weather