Anchor Hocking Glass Museum



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History of Anchor Hocking

Anchor Hocking first came into existence when Isaac J. Collins and six friends raised $8,000 to buy the Lancaster Carbon Company, Lancaster, Ohio, when it went into receivership in 1905. The company's facility was known as the Black Cat from all the carbon dust. Mr. Collins, a native of Salisbury, Maryland, had been working in the decorating department of the Ohio Flint Glass Company when this opportunity arose. Unfortunately the $8,000 that was raised was not sufficient to purchase and operate the new company, so Mr. Collins enlisted the help of Mr. E. B. Good. With a check for $17,000 provided by Mr. Good, one building, two day-tanks, and 50 employees, Mr. Collins was able to begin Hocking Glass Company operations at the Hocking Glass Company.

The company, named for the Hocking River near which the plant was located, made and sold approximately $20,000 worth of glassware in the first year. Production was expanded with the purchase of another day-tank. This project was funded by selling $5,000 in stock to Thomas Fulton, who was to become the Secretary-Treasurer.

Just when everything seemed to be going well, tragedy struck the company in 1924 when the Black Cat was reduced to ashes by a tremendous fire. Mr. Collins and his associates were not discouraged. They managed to raise the funding to build what is known as Plant 1 on top of the ashes of the Black Cat. This facility was specifically designed for the production of glassware. Later in that same year, the company also purchased controlling interest in the Lancaster Glass Company (later called Plant 2) and the Standard Glass Manufacturing Company with plants in Bremen and Canal Winchester, Ohio.

The development of a revolutionary machine that pressed glass automatically would save the company when the Great Depression hit. The new machine raised production rates from 1 item per minute to over 30 items per minute. When the 1929 stock market crash hit, the company responded by developing a 15-mold machine that could produce 90 pieces of blown glass per minute. This allowed the company to sell tumblers "two for a nickel" and survive the depression when so many other companies vanished.

Hocking Glass Company entered the glass container business in 1931 with the purchase of 50% of the General Glass Company, which in turn acquired Turner Glass Company of Winchester, Indiana. In 1934, Hocking and its subsidiary developed the first one-way beer bottle.

Anchor Hocking Glass Corporation came into existence on December 31, 1937 when the Anchor Cap and Closure Corporation and its subsidiaries merged with the Hocking Glass Company. The Anchor Cap and Closure Corporation had closure plants in Long Island City, New York and Toronto, Canada, and glass container plants in Salem, New Jersey and Connellsville, Pennsylvania.

Anchor Hocking Glass Corporation continued to expand into other areas of production such as tableware, closure and sealing machinery, and toiletries and cosmetic containers through the expansion of existing facilities and the purchase of Baltimore, Maryland based Carr-Lowry Glass Company and the west coast Maywood Glass. In the 1950s, the corporation established the Research and Development Center in Lancaster, Ohio, purchased the Tropical Glass and Container Company in Jacksonville, Florida, and built a new facility in San Leandro, California in 1959.

In 1962, the company built a new glass container plant in Houston, Texas while also adding a second unit to the Research and Development Center, known as the General Development Laboratory. In 1963 Zanesville Mold Company in Ohio became an Anchor Hocking Corporation subsidiary. The company designed and manufactured mold equipment for Anchor Hocking.

The word "Glass" was dropped from the company's name in 1969 because the company had evolved into an international company with an infinite product list. They had entered the plastic market in 1968 with the acquisition of Plastics Incorporated in St. Paul, Minnesota. They continued to expand their presence in the plastic container market with the construction of a plant in Springdale, Ohio. This plant was designed to produce blown mold plastic containers. Anchor Hocking Corporation entered the lighting field in September 1970 with the purchase of Phoenix Glass Company in Monaca, Pennsylvania. They also bought the Taylor, Smith & Taylor Company, located in Chester, West Virginia, to make earthenware, fine stoneware, institutional china dinnerware, and commemorative collector plates.

Over the years, several changes occurred in the company. Phoenix Glass Company was destroyed by fire on 15 July 1978, Shenango China (new Castle, Pennsylvania) was purchased in 28 March 1979, Taylor, Smith & Taylor was sold on 30 September 1981, and on 1 April 1983 the company's decided to divest its interest in the Glass Container Division to an affiliate of the Wesray Corporation. The Glass Container Division was to be known as the Anchor Glass Container Corporation with seven manufacturing plants and its office in Lancaster, Ohio.

The Newell Corporation acquired the Anchor Hocking Corporation on 2 July 1987. With this renewed influx of capital, several facilities were upgraded and some less profitable facilities were either closed or sold. The Clarksburg, West Virginia, facility was closed in November 1987, Shenango China was sold on 22 January 1988, and Carr-Lowry Glass was sold on 12 October 1989. Today, Anchor Hocking enjoys the financial backing and resources as one of the 18 decentralized Newell Companies that manufacture and market products in four basic markets: house wares, hardware, home furnishings, and office products. You may recognize such familiar Newell Companies such as Intercraft, Levolor Home Fashions, Anchor Hocking Glass, Goody Products, Anchor Hocking Specialty Glass, Sanford, Stuart Hall, Newell Home Furnishings, Amerock, BerzOmatic, or Lee/Rowan.

Earlier in 2001, Newell Corporation entered into negotiations with Libbey Glass for the purchase and transfer of Anchor Hocking Glass Corporation. After months of negotiations, Libbey Glass withdrew their offer in the midst of serious objections by the federal government. Newell Corporation eventually sold several of its businesses, including Anchor Hocking Glass Corporation, to Global Home Products (GHP). GHP is owned by Cerberus Capital Management, which specializes in turning around underperforming brands. Despite all cost-cutting efforts in this weak economy, Global Home Products and Anchor Hocking filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in April 2006 and the Anchor Hocking assets were sold to a unit of Monomoy Capital Partners, a New York-based private equity firm. The future of Anchor Hocking is uncertain at this point in time.

 

Anchor Hocking and Other Confusing Markings

Anchor Hocking basically used only three markings over its history. The original "HG over Co" was used from 1905 until 1937, the "anchor over H" used from 1937 until 1968, and the "anchor in the square" mark used from 1968 until recently. The company has started using a stylizied "anchor over H" in the last few years. The marks are pictured below.

Federal Glass Company

The "F in the shield" is often identified as Anchor Hocking's Fire King; however, it is the mark of Federal Glass Company.

Hazel Atlas

The "large H over the small A" mark is one of the most common mis-identifications. The emblem was used by the Hazel Atlas Glass Company and not Anchor Hocking.

Anchor Glass Container Company

This company has both a confusing name and emblem. To add to the problem, Anchor Glass Container Company now occupies many former Anchor Hocking Glass Company plants. The sign below was photographed on the Salem, NJ former plant for Anchor Hocking Glass Company.


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