I drove to Waterford today and toured the Waterford Crystal Factory. It was really really neat, but they didn't allow pictures to be taken so I'll describe it in words. It was Sunday, so there were only a few people working in the shops, but it was really neat to watch the few of them work! We got to see every step of the process except for the polishing. The crystal has a dull cloudy finish to it while they are doing all of the work on it, then when they are finished blowing and cutting it, they dip it in an acid bath for about 60 seconds and it comes out clear and sparkling. The tour started with showing us a video overview of the creation process and some footage of thier trophies being awarded at major worldwide sporting events. From there we went into a room where there were several furnaces and there were guys making chandelier arms. After that we watched a group of pepole making stemware and pitchers. From there we went into the groove cutting room where they cut the designs into the piece. There were guys working on everything from mini wine glasses to huge vases. They do all the cutting from memory. They are required to be in training for I think it was 5 to 7 years before they are given a final test where they have to cut 70 something patterns from memory. After that we went to the flat cutting room where they make the flat edges on the stems of glasses and such. Then we saw the etching area and the sculpting area. At the end there was a close-up demonstration of the cutting technique and you could ask the guy questions. After the factory tour was over I went to the huge showroom floor with all kinds of stuff, even an old west stagecoach, complete with 4 horse team and driver (it was only $26,000). I walked around town for a bit and then I headed out and found a B&B just outside of town and the guy is very nice. I'm staying in the "floral room". All of the rooms here are themed, black room, white room, floral room, rose room and such. Obviously this guy's wife had a bit to do with that part. A few minutes after I checked in, four people from Maryland arrived, a young couple and her parents, all in the country for a wedding. This was by far the worst weather day so far. It rained torrentially and the wind was blowing really hard all day.
Day 12 | Start | Day 14