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1- Deadman-Switch-Photo-Ad-4-2015-small


To Purchase customized Charley’s Deadman switch or to arrange expedited shipping and installation,

contact Sales at  Friedmanglassworks  dot  com


Charley’s Deadman Switch

On/off- On/off- On/off- On/off- On/off- On/off- On/off- On/off- On/off-
On/off- On/off- On/off- On/off- On/off- On/off- On/off- On/off- On/off

That’s a lot of on/offs. When you add them all up for making one piece of hot sculpted glass and multiply by the number of pieces in a day, a week or month and year, that is a lot of on/offs of consumable gases. There is a measurable amount of dollars attached to those gases. To some it’s no biggie, but to some it’s every penny counts and it’s a life or death of the hot shop that depends on those pennies.

For the last 25 years of making my own work, I have used a homemade Deadman switch, from off the shelf parts. The switches were heavy, but I was young and dumb. Over the years I made a few more for artists that have seen or heard about mine. Each one was a little lighter and smaller. Each person said I should market them.

But no, I wanted to make glass. And I did. Until time, health and economics, caught up with me.
So I finely sat down and designed a CNC machined manifold, the basic platform, to build a universal tool that will save money and consumables with a side effect of a better health environment as an added bonus.

So, what is a deadman switch, you ask. It is a hand held device that the operator must hold tight and press to make a machine run. If the operator lets go of the device, the machine will stop, if there is no lock. The device can turn on/off anything i.e.: Electrical, gas, air, water, fuels or chemicals. In this case, I am talking about using Low Pressure Oxygen and Propane, with surface mix torches, used for glass welding and heating. It can also work with any other fuels and on any other kind of torch.

Charley’s Deadman Switch is a Single Action-Dual Control On and Off Device for Oxygen/Fuel Hand Torches

So what? We use the “Gas/Saver” now, it works. The gases go on and off, with a pilot light and a place to hang it, to boot. Let’s take a good look at that carbon producing machine a little closer. When the mechanism is pressurized, the valves are designed to be open. They are only kept closed, when there is a weight on the counterbalanced torch hanger. No weight, open valves. Gases are always trying to escape. The burner tip and controls for the pilot light flame are under built and self-destruct with an out pouring of carbon that gets into the air and into everything in the room as well, as the glass and lungs of everyone and thing present. Because the device is mounted midway in the hose line, there is a measurable amount of bleed out of both lines as the unit is turned off, not counting the time it takes from the time when the torch is no longer needed in the process, to when it is truly off.

The “Gas/Saver” was designed by and for the metal welding industry, where the carbon cast off is not as troublesome. In the hot glass industry the cleaner the better, for product and production, health and consumables, with the bottom line always in sight.

It works, why change? This is what I was told. Don’t rock the boat. There is no choice anyway. Well there is now.

Charley’s Deadman Switch, when pressurized, the medical quality valves are designed to be closed. Open only when lightly squeezed and can be locked in the open position and closed again very easily by the operator, where ever and when ever, saving hang up time and coworkers safety.

What about the pilot light? A lot of glass artist, use surface mix torches in tandem with the larger bushy bench torch. But there are people who do not. Instead they use a battery powered electronic igniter that can be easily found on the web. One touch and sparks fly.

See video of Charley’s Deadman Switch in use on U-Tube.

Since the valves are in the handle where the torch is, there is no shoot or bleed out of hose lines, a very instant off.

No more of that money going up in smoke.

“Like I said, It’s about the off.”
— Charles Friedman

Sample shown below are 4.1 model with union fittings.

  • Nortel Ranger Standard   
    •   Nortel Mid range 45 (Aussie style)    
    •  Nortel Mid range 90 (Aussie style)
    • Red Max (Aussie style)5- CDMS Red Max (Aussie style) - small
    • National 7S with tips (Aussie style)
    • Nortel Jr. torches use the same Mid-range burner head, with a 45deg. bend.
    • shell making with S7 and 2.0 7- shell making with S7 and 2.0 - small
  • Designed by a glass artist for glass artists
  • Surface mix hand torches and other similar appliances
  • Includes fittings for custom orientations and additions
  • Can be used before or after control valves
  • Use two appropriate tools for tightening and untightening
  • Instructions for a Deadman Switch – A must read
  • Charley’s Deadman Switch comes with optional hanging and locking hardware uninstalled. Installed upon request.
    A Deadman Switch without a Lock is True and Honest.
    A Deadman Switch with a Lock is still a Deadman Switch, but, just not so honest. “Chuck’s ON/OFF Switch”
    You are only governed by the rules of the shop.The pressures required for proper operation are somewhat dependent on the size tip you are using, alongside other environmental conditions such as altitude.
  • A good starting point for smaller tips would be: 3–8 psi for fuel, 7-12 psi for oxygen.
    For larger tips a good starting point would be: 10-15 psi for fuel, 15-30 psi for oxygen.
  • The Manifold is rated to 125 psi max.
    While under pressure and before first use, bubble test for leaks, using a liquid soap solution, on all connections. Retighten if needed, untill no bubbles are seen.At first firing, open valves a little and squeeze the metal handle to the wood handle and hold, light torch. Adjust flame to your liking and use.
  • To stop flame, let go of metal handle, it flips up and cuts off the two gases.Attach the J shape lock using the threaded Binder bolt, in handle; orientate what best works for operator. 9-3 o’clock.
  • Using thump. Slide metal handle under Lock, release it and light, adjust flame. Do the reverse to stop flame.
    The flame will be the same each time you light it.See video of Charley’s Deadman Switch in use on U-Tube.
  • Samples of suggested electronic battery powered igniters (Cheaply and easily available new & used on E-bay)

    Click to enlarge

Did I mention – No Soot?

See Charley’s Deadman Switch in action

Comparing the Mechanical Gas Saver with Charley’s Deadman Switch

Custom Examples

Bubble Buster1
Bubble Buster


To Purchase Charley’s Deadman switch, contact

Sales  at  friedmanglassworks  dot  com


View U-Pick Parts and Install Form page
Please download, print and fill out for custom parts or installation.
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Scan completed form and send to:
Sales  at  friedmanglassworks  dot  com

Extra Large Torches

Burner tips comparison