Having left the visitor’s centre you will enter the hustle and bustle of our factory floor. Our factory staff arrive every morning around 6.45am. After being briefed on the days production schedule, the team set up the work stations for the day. A copy of the schedule will be put up on a notice board at the entrance to the Factory Tour for you to see. Opposite is a typical day in the life of a Dartington Glass Blower, use this to schedule your visit so you don’t miss out on seeing our blowers at work.
The stations for glass blowing and hand casts can be found to your left on the ground floor. One of our team members will be on hand to guide you through the process. For more information, please visit our Get Creative page.
Once you’ve had a good look around head up the stairs to our viewing gallery. Here you will see our glass blowers at work with a birds eye view. Above your head you will see a 10 part process taking you from the raw materials all the way through to final inspection and packaging the finished products.
Take your time to watch our craftsmen, see some of the techniques you learnt about earlier in the auditorium video being put to use and read all of the informative boards and plaques to truly understand what is going on in front of you.
At the end of the walkway you will be directed through towards the Finishing Room. Along the corridor here, we have profiled 15 of our staff members in a section we call ‘Meet the Makers’. See where our staff members live, how long they have worked for us and learn some interesting facts about our master glass blower, the blowing room supervisor and our furnace-man among others.
You will now be entering the Finishing Room, learn about the ‘cracking off’ machine, find out what ‘top melting’ is and see the products being ground and polished using a series of diamond and cork disks. Each item then goes through its own set of strict quality control measures as it is inspected by eye to decide whether it can be sold as a first quality product, sold as slightly imperfect in our factory outlet, or if it does not meet the specifications it will be rejected, melted down and start the cycle again.
The last stop on your tour sees you going through our factory packing bay. All the items are packaged by hand into our Dartington Crystal branded boxes. Walking further down the corridor towards our Factory Shop, you will have the chance to see stages one to four of the making process in more detail. Have a closer look at some of the tools and moulds used to create our products and learn more about how to create a wine glass. On the walls there will also be a selection of ‘Did you know…’ facts relating to all aspects of Dartington Crystal which you may have missed during your tour.
For more information on our Factory Shop and all of the other shops around the Dartington site, view our Shopping page here.