Visiting the Forge: Our trip to Hubbardton Forge
Hello, this is Andrea out of our Allston lighting showroom. I’m in customer service, so if you’ve called into the Allston showroom, you’ve probably heard my voice!
A couple weeks ago, I got the opportunity to venture up to Vermont to see the Hubbardton Forge factory with Christine McVinney, one of our lighting consultants, and Augie Roman, who is on the hang team in our Waltham showroom. We made the three-hour scenic drive to see what goes into creating the gorgeous lighting fixtures from Hubbardton Forge that we have on display in our showrooms.
Here’s a picture of us at the Hubbardton Forge factory!
Hubbardton Forge: Made in America
Hubbardton Forge is one of our favorite lines, and not just because they make such beautiful fixtures. Hubbardton Forge’s dedication to great customer service and its made-in-America approach are other reasons we’re such big fans.
At Wolfers Lighting, we display many Hubbardton Forge fixtures. You’ll be happy to know Hubbardton sources these LEDs from fellow Vermont manufacturers as well.
Lighting Products Designed Specifically for You
Our first stop? The Hubbardton Forge design room. We couldn’t take any pictures (top-secret stuff!), but we did get to look around and talk to the designers.
One thing that struck me in particular is Hubbardton’s “design first” philosophy. Because Hubbardton Forge does almost everything in-house, the company’s designers can sketch a design on paper (or even create it using foam)and walk down the hall to have the engineers look at it all within the same day!
Turning Lighting Designs into Reality
Here’s a picture of the head of prototyping. He explained that once he receives a concept from the designers, he and his team will work on executing the design. Some concepts are easier to achieve than others. But the in-house nature of Hubbardton’s prototyping allows the designers to quickly go back to the drawing board to refine a design, if needed.
One of my favorite things I learned on the tour is that Hubbardton Forge does not keep finished fixtures in stock because the company hand-makes each fixture to order. In other words, when you order a pendant, chandelier, sconce, or some other fixture, Hubbardton makes the product just for you. No two pieces look exactly alike, so you’re truly getting a one-of-a-kind product.
As for timing, Hubbardton Forge needs three to four weeks to turn around an order. This covers every step in the process: forging, welding, powder coating, and assembly.
Have you ever wondered how a company like Hubbardton Forge can create such cool, curved shapes?
We learned that metal plates and rods are heated up in a forge. Then, the red-hot metal is bent around molds and hammered or twisted to get it to the appropriate shape. The video below shows the beauty and craftsmanship that goes into every fixture.
In this photo, Jeff is using a powered hammer to create texture in these rods that will eventually appear on the Brindille Table Lamp (see it in person in our showroom!).
Here’s another photo where the arm of a chandelier is bent and curved all by hand! Wow!
Once the appropriate pieces are forged and textured, they are cleaned and ready for welding. Once welded, the fixtures are cleaned again, treated, and powder-coated. In assembly, all of the components are pulled together and tested.
Braving the Elements: The Ultimate Test
Our last stop on the tour included a visit to Hubbardton’s in-house “finish testing” site. In the machine pictured, they can create a harsher-than-coastline environment. Think 100% humidity with 5% salt mist that coats the fixtures 24/7.
This allows them to make sure that their finishes can stand up to a harsh coastal environment for years. Note: Hubbardton Forge guarantees their finishes for life. They will gladly replace any fixtures that peel, crack, or rust. Just another reason to love this company!
Thanks, Hubbardton Forge!
We’re so grateful to the folks at Hubbardton Forge for giving us this peek behind the curtain. We had a blast on the tour, and we look forward to displaying this company’s incredible products for years to come.
We invite you to stop by our Waltham showroom to see some of these lovely pieces in person. Seeing truly is believing!
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