With globalization and greed in full swing we get to see the aftermath that programs such as NAFTA as pushed by the Clintons, Al Gore and the Republican Congress (under the stewardship of Bohemian Grove camper,1 Newt Gingrich) have had on America. The fruits of their labor have been a continuation of the serfdom agenda for the middle class with concomitant accruing of value for the top few percent. Bunches of low hanging fruit can be seen throughout much of the US, regardless of where my travels take me. They are the shells of old factories, store shelves stocked to the gill with “Made in China” products,2 and the ever so present real estate sign advertising “for sale, rent or lease.” The fact is the US produces very little these days in terms of actual consumer goods. Likewise, I’ve noticed that many products which scientists depend on are now being cranked out in China. This initial diatribe, is not to be misinterpreted as angst against the Chinese but instead to contrast the subject of this actual blog post, that being Andrew’s Glass Company.
If I had to suggest one product made in America that would be a worthwhile investment of money and great addition to the laboratory I would say that hands down Andrew’s Glass would be near the top. The main products they sell (or at least the ones I’m most familiar with) are glass pressure reactors. My favorite is currently the 3 oz bottle of the footed variety (see above). This little guy is a workhorse and despite its small size he is not to be underestimated (yes, they are male).3 Now one thing I need to mention before I go much further is that these reactors are originally encased in a protective plastic coating (probably to retain glass fragments in the event of an explosion) but I always remove this as soon as possible. Removing this plastic coating probably voids any warranty that might come with the glass (if there is any) but the fact is it obscures the reactor contents (especially their true color) and I’ve been told that it does not fare well when heated in a drying oven. Regardless of whether you keep the plastic coating on or not (and I’m not telling you to remove it) I highly suggest not only using the stainless steel mesh shielding sold by Andrew’s Glass Company but also to use a blast shield when possible for redundant safety. These small reaction vessels are quite robust in terms of their operational pressure (rated > 200 psi); however, in practice I suggest using them at 50 % maximum operational pressure and make provisions for safety pressure release valves set to crack when they see pressure in excess of this amount. These reactors are in truth the “poor man’s autoclave reactor.” For those of you who need to operate at moderately high pressure and don’t have money for a autoclave reactor this is one way to get around that obstacle. Another thing is for the cost of a small autoclave you can have at least 10 complete reactor setups (including all compression fitting components) which translates into massive returns when it comes to productivity. Moreover, it is much easier to clean the glass pressure reactor than it is an autoclave (again saving time).
One other thing I need to say on behalf of Andrew’s Glass Company is that the sales representatives I’ve dealt with have been good overall. Moreover, when I informed the company of my intention to discuss their product in a book that I am working on they offered to discount their products. This is greatly appreciated and something that you definitely do not run into very often.
There are only two negatives (as I see it) to Andrew’s Glass pressure reactors. The first is cost. These pieces of glass are expensive (> $ 200) but since they are made in the U.S. and they are specialty glass I understand the cost. The other problem that I have run into with these reaction vessels is that after repeated use > 100 experiments in at least two vessels I had unusual cracking/chipping (see below). This may have occurred due to the repeated temperature cycles that these vessels see (drying > 100 °C and reaction temps as low as – 80 °C). Possibly, minor impact to the vessel causes a small locus of failure to occur at and then repeated heating and cooling do the rest? I’ve brought this sort of defect to the attention of Andrew’s Glass in the past but haven’t had any return input from them concerning this sort of failure. Should the reader have experienced similar behavior please feel free to contact me.
In conclusion, I find this company’s products to be some of the best I have encountered in terms of “Made in America” and highly recommend them.
- I found Luke Rudkowski’s recent and direct confrontation of Newt in regards to Newt’s denials (i.e. lies) of being a Bohemian Grover refreshing and applaud this young man for confronting such evil.
- The sad fact is many of these products are made using technology originally developed in the U.S. and in many cases with investment capital that was U.S. owned (e.g. equipment/tooling) and in some cases (e.g. Chevy) the company in question was bailed out by taxpayers only to fund their move to China.
- Of course they are sexless; however, this will setup a future blog post on the purposeful destruction of the sciences in the guise of equality.