December 31 2012

Press Release: LaTournous Glass Available at Museum Shop

Wayne County Historical Society's 810 Main Street, Honesdale Museum Shop now carries cut glass by Kathy LaTournous. Now that Kathy's father Ray lives in Harrisburg, Kathy is the only glass cutter left in Wayne County. The Latournous family history includes a rich legacy of glass artistry that dates back tot he 1700s. According to family records, there were LaTounous family members working in glass at the Crystalerie du Saint Louis in the Alsace-Lorraine region of France during the reign of Marie Antoinette.

Johanna LaTouornous, born in 1740 was the first family glass worker. His son Nicolas followed him into the profession, working at the Saint Louis factory. Nicolas had seven children, four daughters and three sons. All the sons continued working in glass.

In 1866, his son Joseph, Kathy's great-great-grandfather, brought his family to White Mills, Wayne County where Joseph worked as as master gaffer (glass blower) in the world renowned glass factory of C. Dorflinger and Sons. Joseph died shortly after, but left five sons, Otto, Alexander, Joseph, Victor, and Charles, all of whom worked in the glass factory. Victor, Kathy's great-grandfather, had two boys Charles and Alec. Though only young children, Charles (Kathy's grandfather) and his brother Alec were employed at the Dorflinger factory until it closed in 1919. After the closing, the brothers worked as etchers, a decorative process by which acid is used. For a period of time they were employed by Carl Proch, at the Honesdale Decorating Company. The brothers later operated an etching shop of their own, but it was not until 1957 that Kathy's grandfather established a shop near his White Mills roots.

At that time Kathy's grandfather suggested her father Ray learn the craft of glass cutting to add to the variety of glass decor to the new showroom. To Ray's good fortune, many of the older cutters were still living in the area and were able to pass on valuable skills. Ray continues to work in the family business until 1968 when he struck out on his own. In 1973, Kathy joined her father full time after an apprenticeship with him. Their shop was in Hawley.

Kathy's designs are original and each piece has been hand signed and dated. She offers her cut glass with pride and hopes it is enjoyed and treasured for years to come. So, if you are looking for a very special gift, visit the Wayne County Historical Society's 810 Main Street, Honesdale museum shop which is open Wednesday through Saturday, 10 AM to 4 PM and Sunday, noon to 4 PM through Columbus Day. A DVD documentary of the family's history, in which Kathy was filmed working on a piece from start to finished, is also on sale in the musuem shop.