In reply to “enamelling wrecking the eyes”, I believe the
reference was to the practice of staring into an open kiln at a
work-in-progress to monitor stages of melt during the enamelling
process, without using suitable eye protection, ie. welders’
goggles with at least a #5 lens.
Manufacturing processes such as casting, flame welding &
cutting, most fabrication, and enamelling, involve exposure of
the artisan to intense and prolonged sources of infra red
radiation, or heat. The materials that are used to construct a
kiln, and related handling/production equipment, are mostly heat
resistant. This promotes both the longevity and the production
consistency of the equipment, which means low
operating/maintenance costs for the manufacturer.
The materials that the artisan is composed of are not so heat
resistant, thus we wear aprons, heavy boots & gloves, etc.
While it may be relatively easy to recover from burns on hands,
feet, and such, recovery from optical damage is often difficult.
The use of dark-filter goggles by the artisan in close proximity
to any intense IR source, is strongly recommended, if not
required by industry. Adequate eye protection is the one area
in which purchase of only top-of-line equipment is mandatory;
inferior items (camera film, etc.) are not worth the risk.
I wish to offer the following to illustrate my point:
In a small town a few miles downstream from me, lives a
glassblower & family. They have a glass art factory, and he
does most of the work, in front of one of three kilns (set around
3000 F, 24 hrs./day). He loves his work, spending long hours at
perfecting his melt, building his reputation for fine work. But
ten steps away from the hearth, and he has trouble counting the
fingers on his hand. His desklamp might as well be a
searchlight. What is a sunny day to us, is a dim & hazy image
to him. Etc. All because he works in front of the kiln all
day, working without any eye protection; an approximate area of
40 X 60 degrees, right in the middle of his eyesight, is lowered
by 90%, which is to say the exact shape of the kilnmouth, 5 feet
away…and all he has left is peripheral vision. And to think
it only took ten years.
So, what price to fame?
Daniel P. Buchanan