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Foster-Forbes Glass Co.



  • Existence: 1911 (date of establishment) - 2000 (date of dissolution) - 2000
  • Usage: 1929 (date of establishment) - 2000 (date of dissolution) - 2000
  • Usage: 1911 (date of establishment) - 1929 (date of name change) - 1929


The Upland Flint Glass Co., a glass container factory, was founded in 1911 by Adelbert M. Foster, W. C. Forbes, and S. L. Peterson in Upland, Indiana. The factory was largely caplitalized by A. M. Foster & Co., with additional financial support to have been provided by Marion Flint Glass Co. The company transitioned from hand-blown bottle production to machine production in 1922, installing Owens bottle machines in the idle Marion Flint Glass Co. factory. The Upland factory burned in 1923, and all production moved to Marion. Indiana.

In 1929, the company changed its name to Foster-Forbes Glass Co. to acknowledge the contributions of W. C. Forbes to the Foster family business. Although formed on the eve of the Great Depression, the glass container company weathered the economic crisis reasonably well. In 1933, Foster-Forbes Glass Co. purchased Standard Glass Co., which was located adjacent to the Foster-Forbes factory. It became "Plant No. 2" under the direction of Foster-Forbes. This acquisition doubled the production of Foster-Forbes.

During World War II, glass packaging was in high demand because metal was needed for military equipment and munitions. To maximize the use of silica and other raw materials used in glassmaking, the War Production Board Container Division required glass manufacturers to standardize the shapes, sizes, and designs of glass containers. Foster-Forbes participated in the standardization process, but eagerly diversified its products when wartime restrictions were lifted.

Foster-Forbes acquired the Koeppen Mould Works buildings, also adjacent to the Foster-Forbes factory, in 1944 and expanded its mold production and repair operations. In 1945, Foster-Forbes acquired the Demuth Glass Works (Parkersburg, West Virginia), which produced glass ampules, rods, tubing, and vials. Foster-Forbes was unable to make this enterprise profitable and sold it in 1952.

Foster-Forbes became a public company in 1956 and expanded its operations to Burlington, Wisconsin in 1964. The Burlington Factory was the first glass factory to produce bottles by machine in Wisconsin. In 1970, the company accepted an offer to merge with the National Can Corp. of Chicago. Foster-Forbes continued to operate under its own name and added a National Can Corp. acquisition to its operations, a glass factory in Oil City, Pennsylvania. After another corporate merger in 1987, Saint-Gobain Containers Inc. of Muncie, Indiana purchased Ball Glass Container Corp. and Foster Forbes and created Ball-Foster Container Co. in 1997. The Marion, Indiana plant closed in 2000.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Foster Family Business Records

Identifier: MS-0223
Scope and Contents This collection consists of business records from a variety of glass container manufacturing companies and glass jobbing firms owned by members of the Foster family in the Northeast and Midwest. The records are divided into eleven series:(1) George W. and Charles W. Foster Papers, 1866-1902(2) John M. Foster Business Correspondence and Subject Files, 1921-1974(3) John Morrill Foster Personal Correspondence, 1923-1953(4) Dean, Foster & Co....
Dates: 1866-2000; Majority of material found within 1920-1960