Melting Glass and the Workers
Monday, July 25, 2005
by KATIE SABATINO
The furnaces can reach up to 2,500 degrees; the temperature
outside, climbing into the mid 90s. Together they make for an
almost unbearable heat situation at the Fenton Glass Factory in
"Our glass workers are aware of the heat, they've been through it
before. They know to drink liquids, they know to drink
continuously, to wait until their thirsty and they watch out for
each other," says Assistant Fenton Historian Jim Measell.
With no air conditioning in the factory, workers are forced to
find alternate means of relief.
Air hoses and large fans help keep things cooler, and so do taking
frequent breaks, but even then workers say the heat can win out.
"We've had probably 10 to 12 just in the last 10 minutes tell us
they were exhausted and done for the day. We'll come back tomorrow
and try it again," says work foreman Jon Anderson.
The glass production room can at times reach 115 to 120 degrees.
One of the ways they keep the workers cools is supplying them with
bandanas that are filled with gel and dipped in ice water.
But why is there no air conditioning?
Well, Fenton officials say it's simply not feasible for a factory
of this size.
"The hotter a room is, the more expensive it would be to air
condition it and we've got ceilings that are probably 40 to 50
feet high, so it just isn't practical," says Measell.
"We're pretty understanding and lenient when it comes to this. We
understand guys are putting forth 100 percent, doing the best they
can. There are just days that you can't get eight hours out of
them," says Anderson.