Kentucky knows how to throw a ball and make one too

Published: Nov. 14, 2013 at 2:05 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 29, 2013 at 2:12 AM EST
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Toni Lehring
Toni Lehring
Yolanda Baker
Yolanda Baker

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - If you live in Kentucky you know the pride that goes along with the production of the Louisville Slugger, Bourbon and Churchill Downs, but there are so many different reasons this city shines in the national spotlight. The world knows Kentucky can throw a party so it's no surprise that Kentucky knows not only how to have a ball, but how to make one too. At one time 90 percent of all disco balls or mirrored balls were made in Kentucky.

"The quality for making mirrors has always been here for over 70 years," boast Toni Lehring of Omega National Products.

Omega National Products on Baxter Avenue makes some of the best and most expensive mirrors in the world. They could make them or fit them on anything.

Lehring explained, "Actually it started years ago in the 50's when deco type furniture was being manufactured and they started making the mirrors for furniture."

Everybody wanted to put the mirrors on everything including big named stars.

"Oh yeah, Liberace he used our glass for his car and his piano," Yolanda Baker laughed proudly,

Lehring explained, "That's when they said you all can do all this you can cover a disco ball."

They began covering enough disco balls to generate about $1 million a year.

"We had 27 girls line the walls. We had a tape player with the bee gee's on and we would just make balls until we couldn't make them anymore. Boxes and boxes of balls," recalled Baker.

Even though requests for the mirrored ball have dwindled the star studded names on the request list have not.

Luhring rattled off impressive clientele, "Madonna, Kid Rock, Pearl Jam. Those are just a few.  Lenny Kravitz has our decorative mirrors. The disco ball mirrors in his house. He's got a pink room of disco type mirrors in his daughter's bedroom."

Omega National Productions didn't get caught in a time warp. Even though some things have changed in 2013, they're still moving their glass with new products now.

"We're adding chemicals to a fresh piece of glass and silver nitrate to have a reaction.  It's science and it's art and it's pretty expensive," Lehring said with a big smile and a lot of pride.

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