The History of Ball
Since its founding, Ball has grown from a small producer of wooden-jacketed tin cans to an international manufacturing company with a cutting-edge aerospace business. Ball is recognized around the world for its high-quality metal and PET plastic food and beverage containers, and for its leading aerospace technology products and services.
The five founding Ball brothers started the company in 1880 in Buffalo, New York. Two of the brothers, Frank and Edmund, borrowed $200 from their Uncle George, a minister, to go into business selling wood-jacketed tin containers to hold paint, varnishes and kerosene. They named their business the Wooden Jacket Can Company. Their product was so successful they expanded their line. Soon, the brothers had refined their original product to tin-jacketed, glass-lined containers.
In 1884, the renamed Ball Brothers Glass Manufacturing Company began manufacturing yet another new product – the home canning jar, which would one day make Ball a household name. Our company is still probably best known by the public for its home canning jars, which we no longer make. In 1887, the five Ball brothers – Edmund, Frank, George, Lucius and William – moved their business to Muncie, Indiana, to take advantage of a natural gas boom in the Midwest. Great quantities of natural gas were necessary to make glass. Ball acquired the first of several small glass companies in 1898, and printed the first Ball Blue Book – featuring home canning recipes and techniques – in 1909.
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Ball acquired Aerocan S.A.S., a leading supplier of extruded aluminum aerosol cans and bottles in Europe. Aerocan manufactures extruded aluminum aerosol cans and bottles, and aluminum slugs used to make them, for customers in the personal care, pharmaceutical, beverage and food industries. It operates three aerosol can manufacturing plants – in Velim, Czech Republic; Bellegarde, France; and Devizes, United Kingdom
Ball acquired Neuman Aluminum, a leading N.A. maker of aluminum slugs used to make extruded metal containers such as aerosol and beverage cans. Key end markets serviced are beverage, personal care, and household.
Ball acquired an additional 10.1 percent economic interest in its Brazilian beverage packaging joint venture, Latapack-Ball Embalagens, Ltda. The transaction increases Ball’s overall ownership in the joint venture to approximately 60 percent. Latapack-Ball operates metal beverage packaging manufacturing plants in Tres Rios, Jacarei and Salvador, Brazil.
Ball completed the sale of its plastic packaging, Americas, business to Amcor Limited. The sale includes five U.S. plants that manufacture polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles and preforms and polypropylene bottles, as well as associated customer contracts and other related assets. Manufacturing plants are located in Ames, Iowa; Batavia, Ill.; Bellevue, Ohio; Chino, Calif.; and Delran, N.J.
Ball acquired four of Anheuser-Busch’s InBev’s plants in the U.S. The facilities acquired are beverage can manufacturing plants in Rome, Ga.; Columbus, Ohio; and Ft. Atkinson, Wis., and a beverage can end manufacturing plant in Gainesville, Fla. The plants produce annually about 10 billion aluminum cans and 10 billion easy-open can ends. More than two-thirds of the cans are produced for leading soft drink companies and the rest for AB InBev.
Ball acquired U.S. Can, a U.S.-based aerosol and specialty metal packaging company, and merged it with Ball’s metal food packaging operations to form the metal food and household products packaging division. Ball also acquired certain North American plastic bottle container assets of Alcan Packaging and combined it with Ball’s existing plastic packaging operations.
Ball acquired Schmalbach-Lubeca AG, the German-based metal beverage company, and created Ball Packaging Europe, boosting Ball’s beverage can sales by more than $1 billion.
Ball acquired the metal beverage container assets of Reynolds Metals Company, making Ball the largest supplier of metal beverage cans in North America, and one of the largest in the world.
Ball acquired M.C. Packaging Ltd. in China. MCP, combined with Ball’s FTB Packaging Ltd. joint venture in China, makes Ball the largest supplier of cans in that nation.
Ball-Foster Glass Container Co. was created as a joint venture glass company with Group Saint Gobain, in September 1995. Ball sold its remaining interest in Ball-Foster to Group Saint Gobain in 1996 and exited the glass business.
Ball’s aerospace business was converted to a wholly owned subsidiary, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. of Broomfield, Colorado.
Ball established plastic container operations with office in Smyrna, Ga.; built first PET manufacturing plant in Chino, Calif., in 1995.
Ball acquired Heekin Can, Inc. Heekin was the largest regional manufacturer of metal food containers in the U.S. prior to the acquisition. Combined with Ball Packaging Products Canada, Inc.’s six plants, the eleven former Heekin plants made Ball the third largest producer of metal food and aerosol cans in the North American market.
Ball acquired the Jeffco Manufacturing Company in Denver and formed metal beverage container operations.
Ball formed the Ball Brothers Research Corporation. Known today as Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. the corporation produces space systems engineering products; telecommunications technology; and electro-optics and cryogenics materials for government and commercial customers.