|The Glass: Silvestre’s Great Passion
2012.08.13 - 18:28:22 / firstname.lastname@example.org / Translated by: JC Caballero
Joaquín Silvestre Iglesias has always felt deeply attracted in relation to all what he is able to do in the workshop on glass that belongs to the Chemistry Faculty at Havana’s University. He, as a silversmith, has felt in his hands the art of creation when he operates the burner at high temperatures to shape a type of raw material that seems motionless at first and later it is transformed in a real useful object for the professors and his students.
“We have a workshop and we dedicate to fix and manufacture equipments made of glass for the different laboratories at Havana’s University such as the Chemistry Faculty and the Biomaterial Center dedicated to the research, teaching, as well as the local Material and Reagent Institute.´ Joaquín Silvestre pointed out.
Joaquín Silvestre Iglesias highlighted that they also manufacture lab equipments for some research centers in Havana, as well as other institutions that belong to the Cuban Academy of Science and some universities nationwide.
He proudly mentioned the achievement in term of saving that represents the fact of recycling a broken test-tube that holds up to two liters which is valued at a price that ranges between the 36 and 40 dollars in the international market. Besides, we repair it and make it operational again and we also recycle cylinders that cost 23 dollars each, thus it represents a considerable saving given it has not been necessary to import them ,so, it has been saved a number that ranges between 10 thousand and 14 thousand dollars during the current year.
Joaquín Silvestre Iglesias stated that other equipments are manufactures such as the Eduard cell, the line of work, the condenser that is used to distill very volatile solvents like the acetone and other type of cylinder that are used with the law-quality raw material to obtaining equipments that cost up to 400 and 500 dollars each, according to their complexity.
Although he has already turned 60 years of age, he says while he was walking erected the fact that his retirement will take place in the far future given the fact that he had always practiced sports.
He usually shows his vitality and the enthusiasm for the work that he has been carrying out since 44 years ago when he says: ´ it is really hot in here with 200 degree centigrade and it is necessary having certain ability to dominate the glass. Besides, the science is combined with art and one knows that something useful is being manufactured given that it makes me feels happy as it was created by one’s hands.´
Joaquín Silvestre considers the material as something incredible and feels fulfilled when he manufactures any equipment, especially when those people who use it visit me and make comments about all its usefulness in their work, so, that it is considered by me as the very best gift I could ever receive.
Joaquín Silvestre explained that the raw materials they use for those goals are pipes made up glass that are elaborated in different diameters which are very expensive ones. Besides, they are used in laboratories given they are resistant to acids and high temperatures which allow them to do chemical reactions.
As part of the productive work, Joaquín teaches an optional subject for the students of the Chemistry faculty. ´We are three professors and a technician who works as an assistant. The aforementioned lessons are attended by some 20 students and we teach them how to use the burner and how to manipulate the equipments made of glass that they often use in the laboratory which reduces the equipments´ failure rate. Besides, they know that it is possible to create a group of ornamental objects and other ones of other types that are also manufactured with that kind of material over that artistic glass.
With a wide smile, Joaquín Silvestre says good bye at the workshop’s door that is directed by the master glazier, as everyone fondly knows him, he is happy because he found in his work the rewarding illusion that makes him to feel fulfilled and loving even more his life.
By Teresa Valenzuela García