Heritage Glass

Posted - Jan. 31, 2003 at 8:31 a.m.



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This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, speaking on business.

In 1978, Robert Thornley's glass business, Heritage Glass, was in its infancy. With a small kiln, Robert produced various shades of glass for stained glass windows. One day, an order came in from Australia for 40,000 pounds of green glass. Robert and his son Ken were curious as to why someone would want such a large green window, so they contacted the customer, who then explained that he intended to crush the glass, combine it with epoxy and use it as flooring.

Both Robert and Ken knew this idea had potential, and soon production of stained glass gave way to production of crushed glass to be used for a flooring style called "terrazzo." This technique originally came from an ancient Roman method using leftover marble chips combined with cement to create beautiful floors -- many of which are still intact today. Although the color range of marble can be limiting, glass on the other hand, can be made virtually any color with metal oxides.

Located in Smithfield, Utah, Heritage receives scrap glass from residential glass production. After the glass is grinded and the metal oxides are added, the mixture is put into a kiln and heated to 2300 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 hours. The liquid glass is poured out into bins, where it is rapidly cooled with a cold-water bath. This tempers the glass so that it breaks into cube-like pieces rather than razor-sharp shards. So when I joked about glass slivers being one of the job hazards, Ken reached into a bin and pulled out small, aqua chunks of glass and dropped them into my hand ... well, I survived without a sliver! Heritage Glass definitely practices safe methods.

The glass that Heritage produces is shipped around the world for flooring. In fact, Heritage provided the red glass used in the terrazzo floor murals at Schottenstein Arena for Ohio State University, which mural received a National Terrazzo and Mosaic Association Honor Award for Job of the Century.

For Zions Bank, I'm Fred Ball. I'm speaking on business.

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