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  • Writer's pictureTedd Long

Edward Ford, Rossford and LOF

Edward Ford's Glass Company Rossford plant groundbreaking, August 1898.

In 1898, Edward Ford purchased 173 acres of farmland along the Maumee River, just south of Toledo in Wood County, to build a plate glass factory. Ford arrived in this area after leaving Pittsburgh Plate Glass (PPG) over a disagreement regarding the future direction of the company. In August of that year, the Edward Ford Plate Glass Company broke ground and a new business and a new community, emerged in Northwest Ohio. Ford's new factory made its first cast of plate glass on October 28, 1899.

As workers arrived to work at his new operation—many of them from the glass plants in Pennsylvania and Eastern Europe—Ford built a company town to house them. The result is Rossford, Ohio. The name was derived by combining Ford's second wife's surname (Ross) with his own. By the way, Rossford is not the first city named after a Ford in the plate glass business. Ford's father, John B. Ford, co-founder of PPG, chose a site 40 miles outside of Pittsburgh in 1887 for the PPG Works No. 3 glass factory and named it Ford City, Pennsylvania.

Edward Ford passed away at the age of 77 in his Collingwood Avenue home on June 24, 1920 but his business legacy lived on throughout the majority of the nineteen-hundreds as LOF. To understand how Ford Plate Glass Company came to be known as LOF you have to go back to 1916 when Michael Owens and Edward Drummond Libbey partnered to form Libbey-Owens Sheet Glass Company in Toledo. In 1926, Libbey-Owens developed laminated safety glass. By 1928, eight year's after Ed Ford's death and three years after Libbey's passing, Libbey-Owens won a contract to supply the Ford Motor Company with windshields for their Model A. In 1930, Libbey-Owens merged with the Edward Ford Plate Glass Company to form Libbey-Owens-Ford (LOF) to focus on the growing demand for automotive glass. The merger paid big dividends when one year later, in the height of the Great Depression, LOF purchased the National Plate Glass Company in Ottawa, Illinois from General Motors and won an exclusive contract to supply GM with all of its glass needs. within one year, LOF had a virtual lock on the automotive glass industry.

In April 1986, LOF sold its glass business and name to the Pilkington Group, a multi-national glass manufacturer headquartered in the UK. As part of the Pilkington Group, the company retained the LOF name. However, in June 2006, Pilkington was acquired by Nippon Sheet Glass, and the LOF name was abandoned to re-brand globally under the Pilkington name.

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