History of Hazel Atlas Glass Company (1880's-1956)
The Hazel Atlas
Glass company was formed in 1902 out of a merger between
the Atlas Company (circa 1880's) and the Hazel Company. This
started a long history which would later produce the largest glass
in the world.
Unlike many of the dozens of Glass manufacturers of the era,
excelled in that not only did they produce functional and utilitarian
but they were the fore-runner of the household glass production which
an indispensable industry during the formative years of the Great
While many glass houses closed or changed production away from
utilitarian glass, Hazel Atlas continued to make great strides in
the Glass our mother's and grandmothers would use everyday in cooking,
baking serving and storing food.
At first, after this 1902 merger, Hazel Atlas continued their
of fruit jars and commercial food storage containers, as they had for
years prior. Fierce competition in the fruit jar industry and a desire
to expand business, led the company to seek out other lines of
This expansion had it's beginnings in the early 1920's when Hazel Atlas
would first produce, something that up until that time had primarily
relegated to the pottery and porcelain industry, A dinner ware line for
the average homemaker. Not a line of elegance or superiority, not a
of notable decoration and style, to appeal to the wealthy, but rather a
simple and plain line that the common housewife could purchase
and use everyday. This concept began in 1923 when Hazel Atlas
and began production of what we know today as the Ovide pattern.
That year Hazel Atlas would be the first glass house in
America to produce
for widespread use, a colored transparent dinnerware, which today we
to as Depression Glass. The Ovide pattern, which was produced
in green, would become the testing ground for the large majority of the
Hazel Atlas dinnerware lines over the next 30+ years.
Enjoying mild success from this first venture into dinnerware,
companies took note and began producing their own lines of dinnerware
well, only expanding the idea and adding in intricate patterns. This of
course, sparked a revolution in the American glass industry which would
last for practically 20 years and inspire Hazel Atlas to produce more
and appealing dinnerware lines such as: Cloverleaf, Florentine I,
II, Royal Lace, New Century, Moderntone and Newport.
Hazel Atlas was so successful in their production, that they were the
only Glass Company and one of the few publicly traded Companies in the
USA to pay a stock dividend during all the depression years.
Not only were patterns becoming an important concept, but so
flurry of colors. In addition to the original Green color, pink, Ritz
yellow, amber, black, amethyst and white glass became equally important
in marketing their wares to the public.
Atlas became industrious in formulating their own unique
(even so, that they received a patent on one color and trademark on
so as to easily distinguish them from their competitors, as now the
was in a great depression and successful marketing would determine the
fate of many glass houses. Note the difference in the Hazel Atlas blue
which was called Ritz Blue. It is distinguished from the deep cobalt
of other companies, the golden yellow produced by Hazel Atlas has no
counterpart, and their pink glass (Sunset Pink) was consistently
so as not to deviate largely, like that of Jeannette and Hocking Glass
While most of these colors lasted only a few years on
the continued mainstay of Hazel Atlas was the clear glass (mostly
green glass and a patented process they called Platonite.
Platonite is a semi-opaque white glass (which some incorrectly refer
to as milkglass). Hazel Atlas again striving to set themselves apart
the crowd, formulated and produced a semi opaque white glass
of the Victorian period milkglass produced some 50 years earlier by
glass houses. Hazel Atlas applied for and received in 1936 a US Patent
for this glass known as Platonite, being the first and only company
to receive a patent for a color of glass.
Hazel Atlas continued innovating and defining the household
producing kitchenware, dinnerware, children's ware, commercial
and hostess ware until in 1956 a buyout by the world's largest food
company, Continental Can Company, brought an end to over 50 years of
growth for a small glass house that had it's roots in Washington PA.
Although, it should be noted, Continental Can continued to produce
some lines and introduced new lines under the Hazelware label until
when the US Government ordered the break up of Continental Can in a
publicized Anti-trust lawsuit (US vs. Continental Can Co).
Today, both original factories Hazel No. 1 and Hazel No. 2 still stand.
Hazel No. 1 was bought by the Chapman Corporation and is used as an
building, while Hazel No. 2 is being used as storage, warehouse and
space. The original smokestack on Hazel No. 2 still exists and is quite
visible from Interstate 70 in Washington PA. There were as many as 15 factories in operatioon in the USA; two in Zanesville OH, one each in Wheeling WV, Clarksburg WV,Grafton, WV Lancaster, NY, Ada OK, Oklahoma City OK, and at least two in California. (Thanks to Russ Crupe for his assistance)
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