Home > News > Company News > Salem's Ardagh Glass marks 150th anniversary with open house celebration

Salem's Ardagh Glass marks 150th anniversary with open house celebration

Post Time:Oct 23,2013Classify:Company NewsView:373

For the first time in nearly two decades, Ardagh Glass will be inviting the public inside its Salem plant to see how glass bottles are made.

The tours will be part of an open house celebration set for Saturday, marking the 150th anniversary of the glass manufacturing facility at 83 Griffith St.


Not only is the Ardagh site a century-and-a-half old, it holds another important distinction – it is the oldest continuously operating glass manufacturing plant in the United States.

Long known as Anchor Hocking and then Anchor Glass, the plant was purchased by the European-based Ardagh Group in August 2012.


Under new ownership, the future looks bright, officials say.


“We probably have never been stronger,” said Plant Manager Gary Shears. “With new ownership obviously we are encouraged. Our plant has a great future.”


With nearly 300 full-time employees, Ardagh is Salem City’s largest private employer. With its long history, several generations of the same families have worked there. Many of today’s employees have parents and grandparents who worked there before them.


When Ardagh purchased the plant, there were no changes in the workforce or management.


Shears, who has been plan manger for more than 13 years, says the employees have been responsible for the plant’s success.


“Certainly it’s the people, first and foremost,” Shears said. “Our workforce, they are good glass people who have kept us going day in and day out.”


The Ardagh Group’s Salem Glass Plant manufactures a wide range of bottles for the DSPG Group, including containers for many popular beverages such as Dr. Pepper, Snapple, Nantucket Nectars and Yoo-Hoo. And there are wine bottles, beer bottles, pickle bottles, canning jars and a variety of other glass containers.


South Jersey had long been a major glass manufacturing region, thanks in part to the rich supply of sand best suited for glass making. The first successful glass works in the colonies, the Wistarburg Glass Works, was established in Alloway Township in the 1700s.


The Ardagh Salem plant has a long history. It began as Hall, Pancoast and Craven (1863-1881); then it became Craven Brothers (1881-1895); then Salem Glass Works (1895-1934); it then became Anchor Cap and Closure Corp. (1934-1938); and then Anchor Hocking Glass (1938-1983) and Anchor Glass (1983- 2012). Ardagh Group purchased  the plant in August 2012.


Most of the other glass manufacturing plants are now gone. But Ardagh is still thriving.


According to Shears, an average of 1,500 bottle a minute are made in the plant. Multiply that and the production in a year amounts to an amazing 720,000 million bottles of all types produced in Salem. It adds up to more than 500 tons of glass products each day.


The key ingredients in the glass manufacturing process – sand, soda ash and limestone – arrive by truck and rail to the Salem plant. About 150 tons of recycled glass is used on an average day to make new glass products, Shears said.


The plant is not only a major employer in the county, but has a wider economic impact through its purchase of goods and local services.



At Saturday’s open house, which will be held 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., visitors will learn about the history of the plant and the glass-making process. On the tour, guests will see the entire bottle-making process, from the molten glass being formed into bottles through the inspection and packaging process.


There will also be refreshments and visitors will receive a commemorative gift made at the plant.


Proper footwear is required for the tour inside the plant and children must be accompanied by an adult.



Source: http://www.nj.com/salem/index.ssf/2013/10/salems_aAuthor: shangyi

Hot News