Discovery Channel's 'How It's Made' Features Danforth Pewter | Live Culture

Seven Days needs your financial support!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Discovery Channel's 'How It's Made' Features Danforth Pewter

Posted By on Fri, Oct 3, 2014 at 9:22 AM

Oil lamp by Danforth Pewter - COURTESY OF DANFORTH PEWTER
  • Courtesy of Danforth Pewter
  • Oil lamp by Danforth Pewter

Danforth Pewter
's iconic oil lamps are produced in batches of one or two dozen during a daylong metalworking process. But that, says owner Fred Danforth, who revived his family's centuries-old pewter business in 1975, is somewhat misleading.

"My flippant answer, when someone asks how long it takes to make one, is 30 years!" jokes Danforth. "Because that's how long it took me to really get down all of the techniques."

Visitors to the Danforth Pewter Workshop & Store on Seymour Street in Middlebury have long been able to see those lamps and other products in various stages of production. Two windows in the company's headquarters offer a peek into the workroom, where craftspeople work during business hours.

Today, October 3, television audiences also have the opportunity to see Danforth's craft in action: A segment of "How It's Made," a popular show on Discovery's Science Channel, is dedicated to the making of a Danforth oil lamp. The episode initially airs at 10:30 p.m. Eastern time, then again at 1:30 a.m. on October 4.

"How It's Made" delves into the nuts and bolts of how everyday objects are made. Yesterday's episodes, for instance, featured segments on surfboards, sandwich cookies, industrial wire rope, beet sugar and turbochargers, among other things.

Danforth initially reached out to the "How It's Made" producers at a customer's suggestion, but "didn't truly expect to hear back," he says.

To his pleasant surprise, the company's long history and the viewer-friendly nature of the lamp-making process were appealing to the show's producers. So last winter, a four-person production crew from the Discovery Channel joined Danforth in his Middlebury workshop.

During a 12-hour shoot, he created the oil lamp while the crew filmed, sometimes repeating steps depending on their needs. The final segment is just about five minutes long.

"It's very focused on the technique itself, which is what their whole style is," notes Danforth, who collaborated with the show's producers on the script after filming. 

And though the company makes a wide range of handcrafted pewter products, Danforth considers the oil lamp he created for the show his "signature piece."

"It's one of the most popular pieces we make," he says. 

Catch the segment on television — or, as Danforth suggests, stop by the company's flagship store and see the process in person next time you're in Middlebury.

Tags: , , , , ,

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

About The Author

Xian Chiang-Waren

Xian Chiang-Waren

Xian Chiang-Waren was a staff arts writer at Seven Days from 2014 to 2015.


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Latest in Live Culture

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2022 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401

Advertising Policy  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us  |  About Us  |  Help
Website powered by Foundation