Publication: Southwest Contractor and Manufacturer
Los Angeles, CA, United States
FIRST UNIT OF THE CALIFORNIA GLASS INSULATOR CO. GLASS PLANT, LONG BEACH INNER HARBOR.
Glass-making A New Southern California Industry.
The Long Beach harbor district can lay claim to possession of an industry that is not alone the only one of its kind west of Indiana, but one of the three of its class on the American continent. This is the factory of the California Glass Insulator Company, which has been in operation three weeks and is now filling orders for a variety of kinds of glass insulators for new electric construction enterprises throughout the Pacific Coast territory. This important new industry was made possible by the discovery of the deposit of high-grade silica sand at Horseshoe Bend, in Orange county, described in these columns a few months ago, and which is being mined by the American Glass Sand Company.
Having successfully established the operation of its first unit, the company is now completing its plans for the second unit for manufacturing bottles, the equipment being on its way from the East. The bottle unit will require the construction of another building similar to the main structure shown in the accompanying photograph. The first bottle machine has arrived; it has a capacity of 500 dozen bottles per eight-hour day.
The manufacture of glassware is an industry commonly supposed to be one best adapted to conditions existing in the more mature industrial centers of the East. Yet with the finding of the essential raw materials in Southern California and with the more favorable climatic conditions to be found here, the third essential feature, that of experienced workmen, has proved to be a problem easy of solution. The Long Beach plant is now employing a force of nearly fifty men, most of whom knew nothing about glass making. Yet the workmen are daily gaining skill and will soon be producing the full capacity of the plant — about 15,000 insulators a day.
The Pacific Coast demand for insulators is estimated at 18,000,000 a year, representing about 7200 tons of glass, used in the extension work of the telephone and telegraph companies, power transmission, electrical transportation, etc. This annual consumption west of the Rockies has been shipper heretofore from two eastern factories, one in Indiana and the other in New Jersey. The average freight rate from these two factories has been estimated at $8.05 per thousand insulators. This advantage in freight rates was alone a sufficient incentive to the men who started the Long Beach plant, aside from the excellent prospects for fine export trade promised by the opening of the Panama Canal and the resulting stimulus to the development of trade with the Orient
The establishment of the Long Beach plant came about through the successful culmination of a long search conducted by its founder, Robert P. Frist, for a good glass sand in Southern California. On Mr. Frist’s second visit here he learned of the discovery of the Horseshoe Bend deposit, which proved to be just what was needed. A contract was then secured guaranteeing the the proposed glass company a supply of at least five carloads of sand a day. The machinery, the patents of which Mr. Frist controls, was immediately ordered and work started on the plant.
The company’s site consists of ten acres, located in the northern part of the Long Beach harbor district and served by the Southern Pacific Electric Roads. Power is secured from the new plant of the Southern California Edison company, although an auxillary generating plant of its own will be installed by the company in case of emergency. The equipment of the plant includes a complete foundry and machine shops, in which will be made all machines needed in the manufacture of glassware. Oil is used in generating heat for melting the raw materials, a 100-horsepower compressor plant operated by motor, being required chiefly to furnish pressure for the fuel oil.
The main building houses the “tank,” which the layman would call a furnace, in which the raw materials — sand, soda and hydrated lime — are melted under a heat of 2400 to 3000 degrees. Ranged around the rear of the tank are the “shops,” or insulator pressing machines, of which now five are in operation with provision for four more. Each “shop” requires a crew of five men, one who draws the molten glass from the tank, one to cut off the exact quantity of glass required to make an insulator, another to remove the screw core, one to take the insulators from the molds and the fifth to carry the insulators to the tempering furnace, or liear [sic] lehr. The chief skill required is in the handling of the molten glass by the “gatherer” who takes it from the tank, and in knowing the amount of glass required to press one insulator. An ounce more or less produces an imperfect insulator which must be thrown away, yet it is by the instinct of experience alone that the “presser” knows just how much he must cut off into each mould with his shears, for the molten glass is thus severed like taffy.
From the presses the red hot insulators are hurried to the tempering “liears,” [sic] lehrs," specially constructed brick ovens fifty-six feet long, through which the various batches travel slowly from a temperature of 1100 degrees graduated to the temperature of the air; twelve hours is required for tempering properly. If the insulators, after coming from the presses, were allowed to remain in the open air for ten minutes they would fly into pieces.
The California Glass Insulator Co. is incorporated with $300,000 capital stock. The officers are Arthur G. Munn, president: John G. Orth, vice president; Robt. P. Frist, general manager; Stanley S. Stonaker, secretary; John Morris, treasurer.
|Keywords:||California Glass Insulator Company|
|Researcher notes:||Robert Frist held these glass patents: US862,466, and US862,728|
|Date completed:||May 14, 2019 by: Bob Stahr;|