When people think of glass blowing, they think of unique vases and colorful works of art made in places like Dollywood or Asheville. Not many people know that Oak Ridge has its very own scientific glass blowers working for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
ORNL has its own glass shop on site. Scientific Glassblower and Shop Manager Jason Craig has been blowing glass for almost 25 years.
According to Craig, ORNL has always had a glass shop. The glass shop now has been in its current building since 1955. There used to be 10 glass blowers at ORNL, and two or three at the Y-12 National Security Complex. Now Craig and Carlos Rodriguez-Flores are the two full-time glassblowers, with a retired glass blower who comes in part-time.
Craig started out as an artistic glass blower before transitioning to scientific glass blowing.
“Working in a (glass shop) at a research facility is much different than blowing glass in a production shop or for artistic glass blowing,” Craig said during an interview in the ORNL glass shop last week. “So, I guess my greatest challenge is just trying to…keep track of the customers and the jobs and ordering materials, inventory, and gas cylinders, and all that stuff…We’re basically running our own business here inside the laboratory.”[Read more…]