The earliest patent was issued to a German in 1859. 3 of that year - although production began two days earlier - by Mr. It was the first in a family of bottle-making machines from Owens.But early machines were semi-automatic and relied extensively on human power. Owens came up with the fully automatic “bicycle pump” - so named because it looked and performed something like that device. In 1983, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers designated the circa-1912 “AR” - capable of producing bottles in different sizes from a prescription bottle to a gallon jug - an “international historic engineering landmark.” The glass-blowing profession, which paid well but took a heavy toll on its practitioners' health, was doomed.
At the end of the 19th century, most glass was produced in small shops by groups of glass blowers working with apprentices as young as 10. Owens, a skilled glass-blower, was a product of the apprentice system.
Later, while working in Toledo's Libbey Glass plant, operated by Edward Drummond Libbey, the West Virginia native saw the potential of full-scale mechanization. Inventors in the United States, Great Britain, France, and Germany were working on bottle-making machines. Two years later, commercial sales began with the production of the “A,” a machine capable of making about 10 pint bottles a minute.
A display has been set up in the headquarters lobby, and a public-television documentary on the company's origins is planned.
But executives, busy planning for a present and future in which glass containers are a niche product favored as the package of choice by a dwindling number of industries, decided to forgo a bigger observance.
People had been making glass since ancient times, and it became the first industry in America when John Smith established a factory in 1608 in Jamestown colony.
But O-I's story begins after the Civil War, amid the drive to find a way to mass-produce bottles needed to hold an ever widening array of consumer products.
A single Owens machine could produce six times as many bottles as a shop of a dozen glass-blowers and apprentices.
By 1923, 94 percent of bottles were made by machines.
By 1948, even part of the company's testing methods had become mechanized. The most significant advance in glass production in over 2,000 years,” the American Society of Mechanical Engineers wrote two decades ago about the invention in Toledo of a machine for mass-producing glass bottles.
This week, that advance and the Toledo company it spawned turn 100 years old. 3 will be observed in characteristic low-key fashion at the headquarters of Owens-Illinois Inc. It was mentioned in the firm's glossy annual report to shareholders.
Owens-Illinois' (OI) top and bottom lines beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in Q3.