Danforth to be profiled on ‘How It’s Made’ TV show
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury-based Danforth Pewter will get some international exposure on Oct. 3, when the fabrication of one of its oil lamps will be revealed in a segment of Discovery’s “How It’s Made” television show.
“How It’s Made”is a documentary television series produced by the Discovery Channel in Canada, and it airs occasionally on the Discovery Channel but most frequently on the ScienceChannel in the United States. It also airs on networks in several other countries, including the United Kingdom and France. The program is produced in Quebec.
It was around a year ago that a Danforth customer suggested to company officials that their products would make for a good segment on “How It’s Made,” which shows the manufacturing process for a lot of common, everyday items — including bubblegum, engines and musical instruments.
Intrigued, the company reached out to Discovery, offering to open its doors to a camera crew, recalled Danforth CEO Bram Kleppner.
“They responded,” Kleppner said, “then later we heard from their production company based in Montreal.”
Company officials suggested the Discovery producers film a segment on the making of Danforth’s “The Mariner” oil lamp. The handsome, utilitarian pewter object stands roughly 14 inches tall with a short, broad paraffin oil reservoir. It retails for $210.
“It is inspired by the broad-based decanters on ships,” Kleppner said.
A Discovery crew showed up at Danforth’s Seymour Street headquarters last November and spent around 12 hours filming the meticulous process through which The Mariner is made. Company co-founder Fred Danforth himself took center stage before the cameras, demonstrating a fabrication process that begins with a flat disc of pewter. That disc is spun over a series of chucks (forms) to get into the shape of an oil lamp. What is different, here, is that this particular lamp is spun from top to bottom. When the lamp form is taken off the spin casting machine, a bottom is soldered on, noted Kleppner.
Discovery closed the manufacturing loop on the lamp by doing a separate segment on how the lamp burners are made — by a company called Gaudard, based in Morbier, France.
Kleppner estimated Discovery narrowed down its 12 hours of Danforth footage to approximately 5 minutes.
Because “How It’s Made” shuns product promotion, the segment is not likely to feature any Danforth signs or other advertising. But Kleppner believes that the footage will include a Danforth company stamp being imprinted on the newly minted lamp.
Folks who want to see the Oct. 3 segment should be prepared to stay up late or set their DVRs. According to the “How It’s Made” website, the oil lamp segment is slated to air on the Science Channel at 1:30 a.m., with a rebroadcast at the same time on Oct. 4. Those who do not get the Science Channel can access “How It’s Made” material at www.sciencechannel.com/tv-shows/how-its-made.
“It’s really exciting,” Kleppner said of the upcoming TV segment. “(‘How It’s Made’) has a huge number of viewers.”
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected]
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