Ball Bros. Glass Manufacturing Company (1880-1922)
Ball Bros. Company (1922-1969)
Ball Corporation (1969-to date)
Buffalo, New York (1880-1888)
Muncie, Indiana (1888-1998)
Last glass produced at Muncie was in 1962.
Ball Bros Manufacturing Company/Ball Bros Company (known as Ball Corporation after 1969), was headquartered in Muncie, Indiana from 1888 to 1998. Other Ball Bros glass manufacturing locations included Sapulpa, Oklahoma; Okmulgee, Oklahoma (1927) ; Huntington, West Virginia; Hillsboro/Schram City, Illinois (former Schram Glass Manufacturing Company plant, purchased in 1925); Noblesville, Indiana and Wichita Falls, Texas.
Originally located in Buffalo, New York, Ball Brothers Glass Manufacturing Company relocated to Muncie, Indiana in 1888 as a result of the natural gas boom of the 1880s.
Ball rapidly increased their glass production after the move, and was soon churning out tremendous numbers of glass fruit jars of all types at their Macedonia Avenue factory located in the south end of Muncie. A number of separate buildings covered the grounds of the facility at the height of their glass production. (Incidentally, the main Ball Bros. plant, and business offices were located near the Hemingray Glass Company plant, prolific maker of glass electrical insulators. Hemingray’s factory was located virtually across the street, also on Macedonia Avenue.).
Ball was the best-known fruit jar (canning jar) manufacturer in the world, but also made a huge variety of other glass containers for the packaging industry during it’s long history. (See this page on Ball Perfect Mason jars).
Many jars that have been made by Ball over the years might be termed “generic” jars, that is, all types of plain, unlettered glass jars purchased by food and other companies to contain their products to be sold in retail stores. Many of these generic “packer jars” carried the cursive “Ball” logo on the bottom.
The majority of marked containers carry the name “Ball” embossed in cursive script, although some fruit jars made during certain periods of time also had the name in simple, block letters.
Glass-making ended at the Muncie plant in 1962, but production continued at other Ball factories. In 1988 as a result of their merger with Indianhead Container Corporation, Ball-InCon Glass Packaging Corporation was formed and the “Ball” in script was discontinued on their packer ware. (See “B I” mark used c.1988-1994). Ball-InCon became Ball Glass Container Corporation in 1994, and the cursive script “B” mark was then used for about a year (see illustration on page one of the Bottle Marks pages).
In 1995, Ball-Foster Container Corporation was formed, with Ball owning 42% and Saint-Gobain owning 58% of assets (which included Saint-Gobain’s acquisition of Foster-Forbes Glass Company at that time) in the merger. The mark “BF” was then used, 1995-2000.
In 1996 Ball Corporation sold its interest in it’s remaining glass plants to Saint-Gobain and left the glass business altogether to pursue other industries. Most of the former Ball Bros glass plants later became part of Saint-Gobain Container Corporation (subsidiary of Saint-Gobain), later called Verallia . Their current products (as of 2014) may be found with the “SG” mark, in use since 2000.
UPDATE: Verallia North America (VNA) has been acquired by Ardagh Group (based in Luxembourg) as of April 11, 2014, and all of these glass manufacturing facilities are now under that banner.
The Ardagh Group in the United States currently [July 2015] includes glass container manufacturing plants operating at: Dunkirk, Indiana (operation dating from 1889) ; Port Allegany, Pennsylvania (1900); Sapulpa, Oklahoma (1913); Seattle, Washington (1931); Lincoln, Illinois (1942); Dolton, Illinois (1954); Henderson, North Carolina (1960); Burlington, Wisconsin (1965); Ruston, Louisiana (1968); Madera, California (1970); Millford, Massachusetts (1973); Wilson, North Carolina (1977) and Pevely, Missouri (1981). Also included under the Ardagh Group banner are glass plants located at Winchester, Indiana (former Anchor Glass plant, built in 1937) and Bridgeton, New Jersey (former Leone Industries plant acquired in March 2012).
Ball Corporation headquarters were moved from Muncie to Broomfield, Colorado in 1998. Ball Corporation is still in existence (2015) but has greatly expanded into involvement in the production of various non-glass packaging products (metal food, beverage, aerosal cans), and a wide range of products connected with the high-tech aerospace industry. Their website is: www.ball.com .
NOTE: New glass fruit jars embossed with the “Ball” cursive logo that are being sold currently (2013-2015) are made by Ardagh Group (at the former Anchor Glass Container Corporation plant located in Winchester, IN) for the Jarden Corporation – their Home products division, Daleville, Indiana, (formerly known as the Alltrista Corporation, name changed in 2002). Jarden Home Brands now owns the rights to the “Ball” , “Kerr” and “Bernadin” brand names. (Bernadin jars are sold in Canada).
The corporate history of Ball is complicated and, of necessity, my overview is highly simplistic. A search of the web should produce more detailed information for the researcher on this glass company.
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Please click here to return to the Glass Bottle Marks pages (page one).
Click here to go to my page on the Ball Perfect Mason jars, with more info there as well as links to other sites with more detailed information for jar collectors.