Hazel Atlas Glass Company

by Sandy Stout Olander
Rainbow Review Glass Journal - May 1972

Since the last article. I have been back east to Canada and it seems like all points in between the west and east coast, which brought to mind the many different plants of Hazel Atlas Glass Company. So let's travel to as many plants as we can in this article. I'm sure many of you never realized how complex this company has been.

The Hazel Atlas Glass Company originated as the Hazel Glass Company in 1883 in a one tank factory making glass porcelain liners for mason canning jar caps. It has been a rapid growth that by 1929 it had ten factories containing 29 tanks, making more than one billion pieces of glass items in flint, amber, blue, green, opal and opaque colors, and pink.

The Hazel Atlas Glass Co. maintained a metal closure plant having produced more than an annual capacity of five million gross of caps in an assortment of sizes. Many of these caps fit over such items as the Windowpane glasses for jelly, etc. This plant produced screw caps of tin plate, zinc, aluminum and brass, which could be either plain, lithographed, enameled, lacquered, nickel or brass plated, polished, satin finished or dipped finished. This plant maintained an art department for creating new designs in both caps and cap designs and maintains its own mill for rolling zinc.

These two factories supplied a large percentage of the mayonnaise jars used in the United States; also produced large quantities of bottles and jars for toilet preparations, in addition to wide and narrow mouth items for food, and medical preparations.

This plant is the world's largest producers of wide mouth containers. In Washington PA, there were three Hazel Atlas plants of which the No. 2 plant was devoted exclusively for wide mouth jars for packing jams, olives, paste, cherries, pickles, mustards, etc.

This plant was the largest tumbler factory in the world by 1930. In addition to other firsts, it was the first to manufacture tumblers automatically. The tumblers were made entirely in the molds - no rough ring joints will be found in these tumblers. All tumblers had smooth edges, which could come with or without a metal closure for packaging foods or sold as a tumbler in the five and dime store. This plant employed 1200 people, and covered 15 acres of floor space.

Located at Washington. PA. this was the world's largest factory producing Opal glass, used for creams, rouge, ointments and other medical and cosmetic preparations, blown opal bottles, cheese dishes, etc.

The dinnerware factory was located at Wheeling, West Virginia as well as in numerous other locations. Each plant produced several lines of our dinnerware items.

In my new book out this month or next I include the Platonite white opal ware. The catalogs say that Platonite, as ever popular tableware, is available in three types - plain, solid color and spot decoration. Newport items The pure white material is slightly translucent. In the new pastel line and the carnival ware the color is fused into, and becomes a part of Platonite, stating that the white body of platonite gives the color a density and opaqueness that is not achieved by any other process.

The illustration this month is an actual catalog photograph of New Century. referred to by name as Lydia Ray. In correcting names this month, our old "Hairpin" is now being replaced by NEWPORT, the name the company christened this lovely pattern. Even though the company named the patterns, as often as not they usually appeared nameless after they left the factory. Many items were made in New Century which will be reflected in my new price guide just being released, including a large covered casserole server.

Hazel Atlas operated its own sand plant to guarantee its quality. The sparkling crystal is obtained by using combinations of white sand, soda ash and lime as raw materials. The sand is quarried in large blocks from a vein of white sandstone at the Hazel Atlas mines in a mountain behind Great Cacapon. WV. From there it is transported by gravity railroad to the selecting grounds and here only the best rock is fed into a huge jaw breaker crusher which breaks the rock down into the sizes of an egg or less. The rock then falls into Chili Mills and the heavy, manganese wheels roll around on top of the small eggs until they are fine grains of sand. Then the sand passes through a mesh screen and is washed four times in a process referred to as a log washer. Then the sand is sluiced down to the draining floor and then lifted up by an electric crane and placed in steam dryers. After the water has evaporated, it is run over a powerful magnetic clear that removes particles of iron that slipped by in prior cleanings and washings. Iron will tend to give glass a greenish color and the sand must be thoroughly inspected many times to prevent this process from happening. After the above, the sand is carried by canvas belts and bucket elevators to storage bins, that load into cleaned and paper lined box cars.

With the sand is added soda and lime, and emptied into huge tanks, These tanks feed down through hoppers from which the sand, soda, lime, etc., are drawn, as needed, into scale cars. The scale cars run on a track in a tunnel beneath the storage tanks and carry the exact measured amounts of raw items to a large rotary mixer. Here the mixture is mixed into proper proportions and then cullet is added to form a batch, and from this process comes our Hazel Atlas dinnerware and glassware lines.