Root Glass Company

Wabash Valley profiles : a series of tributes to hometown heroes who have made a difference

Description: One typed page including photograph of the Root Glass Company building. A brief history of the Root Glass Company, designers of the Coca-Cola bottle.
ABASH VALLEY WP R O F I L E SA series of tributes to hometown heroes who have made a difference.Root Glass CompanyOrganized in 1901, the Root Glass Company earned enduring international fame for designing the cocoa-pod shaped Coca-Cola bottle in 1915. Root Glass Co. was the last of four glass companies to establish new factories in Terre Haute between January 1900 and November 1901. Harry Streeter founded Terre Haute Glass Manufacturing Co. at 16th and Cedar (south of Maple Ave.) on July 16, 1900. The Hays Glass Co. began operations at 25th and Locust streets five months later and North Baltimore Bottle Glass Co. relocated its factory from Albany, Ind., to the north side of Maple Ave. at 17th St. a few weeks later. In 1900 Wayne County, Pa., native Chapman J. Root moved to Terre Haute while serving as an officer and director of North Baltimore Bottle Glass Co. Root began erecting his own factory at the northeast corner of Third and Voorhees in early 1901. The plant was in operation by November. Business doubled virtually every year. In October 1905 Root acquired the Terre Haute Glass Manufacturing Co. to fabricate Mason jars. On Nov. 9, 1909, Root Glass sold the former Streeter plant to Ball Brothers Glass Manufacturing Co. of Muncie. The Root plant specialized in light green, amber and flint beverage bottles, primarily for beer and soda water. On March 23, 1913, a deadly tornado flattened the complex (except for one smokestack), killing one employee. While the plant was being reconstructed, Root and plant supervisor Alexander Samuelson assigned machinist Earl Dean and auditor Clyde Edwards to research and design a new glass container for Coca-Cola Co. of Atlanta, Ga., one of Root's best customers. Dean's design, patented Nov. 16, 1915, was selected over 11 contenders as the new Coca-Cola bottle in January 1916. The company received five cents in royalties for every gross of bottles produced by any glass manufacturer in addition to manufacturing costs for bottles produced by Root. Three large furnaces were in constant operation. In 1932 -- the year his 30-year-old son William was killed in an airplane crash -- Root sold the plant to Owens-Illinois Glass Co., which retained the Root name until 1934. Owens-Illinois utilized the plant through 1948, when its buildings were converted into warehouses. American-Wheaton Glass Corp. of Millville, N.J., acquired the land in May 1960, razed the old buildings and built a new plant. American Can Co. acquired the Wheaton Plant in 1962, forming a subsidiary called A-W Glass Corp. The complex was sold to Midland Glass Co. in January 1968. It ceased operations on April 30, 1984 and the buildings were razed 10 years later. Last year, descendants of Chapman J. Root generously donated substantial CocaCola memorabilia from their private collection to the Vigo County Historical Society.TERRE HAUTE(812) 238-6000NATIONAL BANKAlways Close to HomeDate Published: Sept. 20, 2001Filename: Root Glass Company profile
Origin: 2001-11-18
Created By: McCormick, Mike
Publisher: Terre Haute Tribune-Star
Collection: Vigo County Historical Society
Copyright: Copyright Undetermined
Subjects: Root Glass Company
Coca-Cola Company
Bottle industry
Bottling industry
Glass industry
Business & Industry

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