Kokomo, Indiana is a city of 50,000 in north central Indiana, about 50 miles north of Indianapolis. Always an industrial town, Kokomo was surprisingly a nice town.
We were in town to take a factory tour (below) but while we waited we checked out all of the places in town noted on Roadside America.
The first site is the Seiberling Mansion. Built in the late 1800s it is a stately home along Sycamore Street.
In the middle of town is the Kokomantis – a 17′ high steel sculpture of a mantis.
A block down the street is the Storybrook Express, a quirky building used for a drive through beer distributor.
Finally in Highland Park are two attractions including Big Ben who was thought to be the largest steer in history at over 5000 pounds.
He is now stuffed and on display inside a shelter behind glass.
Also in this shelter is the remains of a giant sycamore tree. This stump is 57′ in circumference.
Our main event for the day was a tour of the Kokomo Opalescent Glass Company. It is the oldest manufacturer of opalescent glass in the world, with this factory in continuous use since 1888.
Our tour started next to the furnace. We were about 50′ away and it was 120 degrees.
They use an assortment of ladles for pouring the glass.
The vintage carts have already mixed material for the various colors ready for the furnace.
When they are done the pieces of glass are placed in barrels scattered about the factory for remelting and forming later.
A few of the ovens.
KOG is famed for their skilled glass blowers. We were treated to a demonstration.
A trainee demonstrated how to blow glass.
Our tour consisted of a number of elderly from a church and two moms who had 9 kids between them! As you can see the kids were thrilled to be there.
Our tour took us back past the furnace area.
Once completed, the glass is inventoried. With hundreds of colors and patterns the selection is immense.
The storage reminded me of the end of the first Indiana Jones movie.
Throughout the history of the company the workers have signed a wall, with some signatures dating back to the 1800s.
They have high skilled workers who can customize the glass for various uses, including stained glass panel replacements.
The pubic has the opportunity to come in and make their own glass beads.
Another one of the skilled workers with some detail glass work.
The Kokomo Opalescent Glass Company is a great place for a visit.