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Local History

Waterford Artisan Tom Power Visits Springfield

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/waterforda_387.mp3

A man who helped create the ball that will drop in Times Square this year is in Springfield this week. Michele Skalicky has more.

Waterford Crystal Artisan Tom Power is in Springfield today (12/4). He started working for the factory in Waterford City, Ireland 38 years ago. He began as an apprentice when he was 15-years-old.

"It was just something I liked in school. I liked drawing patterns, mostly patterns more than anything else. To actually work in Waterford you have to have some knowledge of patterns rather than design--to put a pattern on a glass or something like that, and that's how I got into it."

It takes someone a total of 10 years to hone the skills required to create quality pieces for Waterford.

Power currently works in the special department where they work on things like trophies for the Super Bowl, NBA Basketball and the Players' Championship. They've also created the ball that drops in Times Square on New Year's Eve.

Power worked on the ball that dropped in 1999—He and four other cutters worked on the 350 or so panels that made up the ball.

"What we use is an industrial diamond wheel. It runs at a very high speed, and it involves us actually placing the cystal on the wheel. The wheel is stationary, going at about 1500 revs, and we will just put the crystal to it and the amount of pressure we apply to it, we know by the thickness of the piece how much pressure to actually get the effect that we want."

Tom Power also cut panels for the ball that will be dropped in Times Square to celebrate the start of 2008. He and his fellow artisans cut 500 panels for the ball—it actually contains around 340 panels, but they had to cut extras in case any broke.

"The new ball has the distinctive thing about it like fireworks because of the new light and because, with the fireworks, it's joy, it's celebration of light so that's why they actually done it this time. And, if you look at it, the different patterns on it have, like, a circle, and it's like a firework exploding, you have all the squiggles coming out off of it and that's what depicts what we have on it this year."

The 100th anniversary ball features LED lighting, which gives it a kaleidoscope effect. To view this year's ball, go to timessquarenyc.org.

Power says he'll watch the ball drop after the fact since Waterford City is five hours ahead of New York City.

If you'd like to meet Tom Power, he'll be at Gamble's Gift Gallery in Springfield today (12/4) from 3 to 7 pm.

Links:

  • Times Square website