production facility capable of cutting and
polishing 4,000 square feet of slabs a day.
In the cavernous galleries, the stone is cut
in two-story-tall blocks and two-thirds of
the interior is removed, says Peter Prvu-lovic, head of sales at Vermont Quarries
Corp., which owns and runs the Dorset
facility. That process leaves one-third of
the marble in place, forming what look like
giant columns, to hold up the ceiling. An
Italian-made machine, essentially an electric chain saw, albeit with a 20-foot bar,
moves slowly along, its diamond-powder-coated chain making a vertical cut that will
be bisected by another machine that pulls
a rotating thin belt through the stone, not
unlike a wire through cheese. The resulting 10-by-6-by-20-foot chunk is tipped
out of the rock face by an earthmover, cut
into three or four smaller, transportable
pieces, and, if so destined, sent to the gang
saw, which cuts the blocks into slabs. The
slabs are polished or honed as they move
along a conveyor belt underneath dozens of
spinning disks of various grit count. Each
slab is photographed, given a number, and
shipped off to market.
loading marble in Proctor, Vermont (top), is
depicted on a 1908 postcard from the Hugh C.
Leighton Company of Portland, Maine. Known
as Marble Valley, the region includes Rutland,
Vermont, pictured in a 1911 postcard (above)
by W. H. Gannett. A headstone (facing page) in
Bennington, Vermont, reflects the more hopeful
19th-century attitude toward the great beyond.
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