From Ohio History Central
Owens, Michael J. in front of a Automatic Glass-bottle Making Machine
During the late 1800s, Toledo, Ohio, was the site of large supplies of natural gas and high silica-content sandstone -- two items necessary for glass manufacturing. Numerous companies either formed in or relocated to Toledo, including the New England Glass Company, which relocated to Toledo in 1888. This same year, the company's owner, Edward Drummond Libbey, hired Michael J. Owens. Within a short time, Owens had become a plant manager for Libbey in Findlay, Ohio. At this point in time, glass manufacturers in the United States had to blow glass to produce the bottles. This was a slow and tedious process. Owens sought to invent a machine that could manufacture glass bottles, rather than having to rely on skilled laborers, greatly speeding up the manufacturing process. On August 2, 1904, Owens patented a machine that could automatically manufacture glass bottles. His invention revolutionized the glass industry with his invention. His machine also caused tremendous growth in the soft drink and beer industries, as these firms now had a less expensive way of packaging their products.