The other day we saw a sign that said York County Pennsylvania is the factory tour capital of the nation. Wednesday thru Saturday is the 13th year that York Country has held it’s Made in America Tour. During this event even more businesses in York county open their doors and allow people to come see how their products are made. The factory tours in York include everything from Harley Davidson motorcycles to bath products and fine violins.
Since we are staying in York Country we figured we should take part in this fine event. We started the day at the Graphik Masters (http://www.graphikmasters.com/home.htm), a family run graphics studio. Back in 1988 sister and brother Cindi Often and Greg Snell got laid off from a graphic design firm and decided to go out on their own. Since then they have grown Graphik Masters into a business that does everything from museum displays to graphics on trash trucks. During our tour the owners and employees told how the business of doing graphics has changed over the years from hand drawn and painted products to ones that are designed on computers and cut and printed by computer driven machines. It was fascinating to see computer driven machines that cut foam board and vinyl in addition to how vehicle wraps are created and pieced together.
From there we headed to the other side of the city of York to visit the Susquehanna Glass (http://www.susquehannaglass.com/index.php) factory. The factory was started back in 1910 when Albert Roye bought a stone wheel glass cutting machine and started etching designs in glass. Since then the company has remained in the family and grown into a company that provides product and services to a number of premier retailers including Williams Sonoma, Lenox and the National Cathedral. Although they still do stone wheel cutting they also do sand blasting, silk screening, and laser cutting on glass along with laser cutting on metal and machine cutting of acrylic products. We got a full tour of the factory however watching the artisan using the stone wheels to etch glasses was amazing.
After a break for lunch we continued our tours at George’s Woodcrafts (http://www.georgeswood.com/). The business was started by George Martin in 1973 after he spent a number of years building houses and some furniture for his growing family. They now build fine furniture crafted from fine hardwoods including walnut, red oak and cherry. Each piece is completly built by a single craftsman who personally signs the completed article. The tour started with a demonstration of some of the pieces they make – a table that starts at 5 feet and opens to 16 the amazing part was that the tour guide (son in-law of George Martin) sat on the rails of the table which easily supported his weight. He also showed us the chairs they make which are so solid they can be turned over and support the weight of a man standing on the rails in addition to being very comfortable. We then got a full tour of entire process from drying the incoming wood thru cutting, assembly and finishing. We were so impressed with the quality and comfort of the chairs we bought two to replace the dining chairs in our RV.
We finished the day off with going to see Cars 2. All I will say about Cars 2 is it was wonderful – go see it as soon as you can.
Tomorrow and next week we will continue our Made in America tour.