The history of Anchor Hocking is a story of a company that started small, but grew through initiative and desire on the part of its founders and employees. Isaac J. Collins founded the Hocking Glass Company in 1905 in Lancaster, Ohio. The company name comes from the Hocking River which flows nearby.
The Hocking Glass Company got its start with $25,000 that was raised by Mr. Collins. The company started small with just 50 employees housed in an old carbon plant, called the “Black Cat”, so named because its walls were blackened with carbon dust.
The first year, $20,000 worth of glassware was sold.
Fire destroyed the “Black Cat” in March of 1924, throwing some 650 employees out of work. The employees, townspeople, fireman all worked together to battle the fire, but by morning all that remained were five acres of ashes and rumble.
The dusty old carbon plant was destroyed, but not the spirit of Hocking Glass, by the end of the following day, the Company had set up temporary offices in a vacant grocery store.
Hocking Glass purchased controlling interest in the Lancaster Glass Company in April 1924 and used its facilities to meet shipping requirements. At the time of its purchase by Hocking, Lancaster Glass had one continuous tank and one day-tank. While Plant 1 was being rebuilt over the ashes of the “Black Cat”, Hocking was producing and shipping from Lancaster Glass. This purchase later became known as Plant 2.
Plant 1 was in production by October, 1924, just six months after the fire. This time the plant was more conducive to glass manufacturing. Today, in the year, 2012 the Anchor Hocking Company stands in the original site.
The company became the Anchor Hocking Corporation on December 21, 1937, with the merger of the Hocking Glass Company and subsidiaries and Anchor Cap Corporation and its subsidiaries. The “Anchor” came from the phrase that caps “were anchored for safety.
The depression Era saw another revolution in machine-made glassware. The Company knew that it had to produce tumblers as cheaply and quickly as possible if they wanted to sell in volume. Wilbur Secoy and William Fisher, both company employees designed and built a rotary 15-mold machine that could make 90 pieces of blown glassware a minute. With that machine (called the FS for Fisher and Secoy) the Company could sell tumblers “two-for-a –nickel,” which was less than half of what it formerly cost.
Anchor Hocking still produces glassware today