Today’s first for the “one new thing a day for 100 days” new years resolution was to take a free tour at the Annie Glass factory in Watsonville, CA. Our tour guide ended up being the production manager since the usual guide was home sick, we lucked out.. learned a ton!
Yet again, I was in a situation where once ‘inside’ the factory no photography was allowed so sadly cannot provide ideal footage, but I should be able to describe with words and found substitute photos on the web..
“Annie glass has been on its 30-year streak of designing award-winning glassware to its worldwide clientele. With its trademark look, it has made its mark in the luxury market and even had two sculptural pieces (Tiburon and Coquina) selected to be a part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in 2006. What separates Annieglass apart is the unique look of its pieces that are brought about by a unique process developed in-house. It is a glass bending technique that takes a sheet of flat glass and melts it over a ceramic mold. These sheets are fired at 1350F – such a high temperature that precious metals like 24-karat gold or genuine platinum permanently fuse to the glass. This technique deviates away from traditional hand blowing as it gives the glass a one-of-a-kind translucent texture finish but it also makes the pieces very durable.”
*Annie Glass claims to be chip resistant – it was neat to see Carlos (who has been working in the factory for 14 years!) do this with the wet grinder. He called it fire polish and what this does to the edge of the glass piece is increase the surface area, giving it a bull nose finish with is less prone to chipping.
*When it comes to intricate pieces the factory cannot fuse the parts together b/c they fire at different temps, so they use ultra violet glue. I had never seen this process in action, pretty neat!
Annieglass’ original tour de force was a piece called Roman Antique—a plate of thick glass with a widely painted rim of 24-karat gold. Annie took it to a trade show in 1983 and astounded the country’s leading retailers with this entirely new look in dinnerware that was surprisingly also dishwasher safe. Today, Roman Antique is an oft-imitated industry icon that is sold at luxury retailers such as Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdales; as well as at boutique retailers across the United States. Annieglass is used at leading hotels and restaurants such as the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, the Four Seasons, the Ritz Carlton, and the Waldorf Astoria.