looking back

Transforming sleepy White Mills

Dorflinger and his glass factory

By Ann O’hara
Posted 5/5/21

Christian Dorflinger was still a young man of 32 in 1860 when he began to plan his next and most significant project: his huge glass factory in White Mills, PA. 

Dorflinger was born in …

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looking back

Transforming sleepy White Mills

Dorflinger and his glass factory

Posted

Christian Dorflinger was still a young man of 32 in 1860 when he began to plan his next and most significant project: his huge glass factory in White Mills, PA. 

Dorflinger was born in Alsace, one of the contested areas that bounced between France and Germany. At the age of 10, he was apprenticed to an uncle to learn the fundamentals of glassmaking, and after eight years of study, Dorflinger moved to America. By 1852, he was in Brooklyn, NY, where he built the Long Island Flint Glass Works. He was so successful that, by 1860, he was able to build the Greenpoint Glass Works at the mouth of Newtown Creek. In 1862, he purchased a 300-acre farm in Wayne County, PA, shortly beginning construction on a new factory, eventually leaving the Greenpoint factory in the hands of trusted employees and bringing others to White Mills to train local workers. He created a thriving industry and transformed sleepy White Mills into a bustling industrial town. Christian Dorflinger died in 1915, and his company in 1921. 

Photo courtesy of the Wayne County Historical Society’s Joseph C. Hook Photo Archives. The WCHS main museum will reopen Saturday, May 22. For more information, call 570/253-3240.

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