Posts Tagged ‘glass’

New Process Makes Small Runs of Glass Bottles Possible!

October 23, 2012

For many years we have gotten calls from businesses who want to use glass bottles but want to start with “just a few.” In our website FAQ we have this information: “Most glass factories sell directly only in very large quantities, usually 50,000 items or more.” Now variable weight feeders are making it possible for large glass container manufacturers to make as few as 10,000 bottles of one size while making quantities of another size as well.

We first heard about variable weight feeders when we went to the Verallia North America website while we were updating our information for the recently released 2012 Glass Factory Directory. We learned that Verallia is now offering to produce smaller quantities of glass bottles in several colors and sizes using their “Flex-Run” service. This certainly could make it possible for companies to start using glass bottles without the necessity to use their resources to keep a large stock of bottles in inventory.

VOA of France is using what they call “Flex Line” technology to make small runs of glass bottles.

It has always been said that consumers prefer glass to plastic containers (honey in glass). The possibility of producing “small runs” will improve the competitive situation for glass bottles and possibly increase the number of products available in glass!

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Great Glass from Australia

August 15, 2012

Glass jars make great glass tumblers

Thanks to the Reddit user who shared this idea!
Back “in the day” many “jars” had snap lids and could be used as tumblers after the contents were gone.

Nutella tumblers

Glass Industry Employment Continues to Fall

September 25, 2008

Recently the Wall Street Journal had an article on Crystal City, Mo., where PPG Industries had a flat glass plant they billed as the world’s largest until they closed it in 1990.  Like the glass plants built in so many towns and cities in the 20th century, this glass plant was in the center of the town. The article reports that the plant site was bulldozed after the glass plant was closed, and the site has remained empty.   Many towns which used to have glass plants in the center of town still have the empty factory buildings standing.  When the plant closed, hundreds of people in the Crystal City area lost their jobs at the plant, and many others lost related jobs as well.

In 1977 there were 175,100 U.S. glass industry employees, including those at bottle plants, flat glass plants, fiber glass plants and smaller decorative and household glass manufacturers, according to the Annual Survey of Manufactures. In 1987 the Survey reported a total of 153,200 glass industry employees (a 12.5% drop).  By 1997 glass industry employment had dropped again, to 128,876 (15.87%), and for 2006, the latest year for which the Annual Survey has released numbers, glass industry employment was reported at 100,919 (down 21.7%).  While we were watching, glass industry employment has decreased 42.3% in the past 30 years.

Some of these employees worked for plants that had closed because more beverages were packaged in plastic bottles, and some closed because glass manufacturers outside the U.S. were making glass products that they could sell in the U.S. for less than the prices charged by U.S. manufacturers. In the current economic climate, the cost of energy is making it more difficult to make and sell glass in the United States.

As we mentioned in a previous post, General Electric is just one of the glass manufacturing companies which has announced that they will be closing glass plants this year.

YouTube has several videos of glass machinery in action, including one made at the Clarion, Pa. Owens-Illinois plant where glass bottles are made. It is very difficult for most people to actually take a tour of a working glass plant, but these videos help those who can never get inside a plant see what an amazingly beautiful process glassmaking is.

Museums Keep the Memories of U.S. Glass Companies

July 4, 2008

A few weeks ago we learned that the West Virginia Museum of American Glass was moving into a new home in Weston, W.Va. Weston was the home of West Virginia Specialty Glass and Louie Glass (which made Princess House) when I visited on a glass plant trip in the 1980s. Both of these plants are now closed. The Museum has an interesting glass collection, and has held Glass History conferences in the Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia area for more than ten years.

Many of the “hand” plants that made ashtrays, dishes, platters and many other kinds of decorative glass flourished in the Ohio River Valley area before economic conditions hit the industry.

Those who like to remember the history of glass in the United States have many places to go to see the things that were made in the era of skilled glassblowers and decorators.

The Wheaton Museum of American Glass has a glass shop where I made my first (and last) piece of hot glass many years ago on another glass plant trip. I will never forget how heavy the blowpipe was!

Glass museums in the eastern half of the United States tend to focus on the products of the commercial glass operations that used to be in each area. The Heinz Center has a complete set of our Glass Factory Directories through 1990, and a great collection of Pittsburgh glass. The Corning Museum of Glass has an extensive collection of American glass from American factories and glass made by glass artists.

If you live in the eastern half of the United States, there is likely a glass museum not far from you, an interesting place to visit whether you collect glass or just admire it.

Let me know what glass museums you have visited!