Edward Ford
(1843 - 1920)

Glass Industrialist

Edward Ford, broke ground for the world's largest plate glass factory, the Edward Ford Plate Glass Company, in what would become Rossford -- a model company town, in 1898. Ford named Rossford by joining his wife's maiden name, Ross, before his own last name.

 

Ford's father, Capt. John Baptiste Ford (he acquired the title of Captain as a riverboat builder in the 1850s) produced the first plate glass in America in 1870 in New Albany, Indiana with the assistance of his sons, Emory and Edward. In 1880, the Fords moved their glass works to Pittsburgh where the company was reorganized as Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company (PPG) in 1883, and became the leading plate glass manufacturer in the country. 

 

In 1897, after disagreements with their partners, the Fords sold their interest in PPG back to the business and left Pittsburgh. With the Ford's business interests extending beyond glass manufacturing—the family had already started up a chemical company in Wyandotte, Michigan—the Ford's moved on to other ventures, including Alpena limestone quarries and cement production.

By the summer of 1899, Edward Ford's Rossford glass works were ready to make glass. The first cast of plate glass was made on October 28, 1899. By 1910, the factory included a casting department containing seven large 20 pot furnaces. Ford went on to purchase additional acreage and constructed a second plant which began operation in 1913. His succession plan ensured that the company remained owned and managed by the family by naming his son, George Ross Ford, as his successor upon his death in 1920.

In 1928, the Libbey-Owens Sheet Glass Company was the first company to produce automotive laminated safety glass and won a contract to supply the Ford Motor Company with windshields for the Model A. As a result of Ford's demand for glass, Libbey-Owens merged with the Edward Ford Plate Glass Company in 1930 to form Libbey-Owens-Ford Glass Company.

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