Ball Corporation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Ball Corporation
Traded as NYSEBLL
S&P 500 Component
Industry Packaging, Aerospace
Founded 1880
Headquarters Broomfield, Colorado, U.S.
Key people
John A. Hayes, CEO
Products Metal containers, Packaging, Space manufacturing
Revenue IncreaseUS$8.630 Billion (FY 2011)[1]
IncreaseUS$468.6 million (FY 2011)[1]
IncreaseUS$466.3 million (FY 2011)[1]
Total assets IncreaseUS$7.285 billion (FY 2011)[1]
Total equity IncreaseUS$1.219 billion (FY 2011)[1]
Number of employees
Slogan Products that reflect an innovation mindset.

Ball Corporation, originally Ball Brothers Glass Manufacturing Company, is an American company famous for producing glass canning jars. Founded in 1880,[2] it is currently headquartered in Broomfield, Colorado.[1] The company has expanded into other areas such as avionics, space systems, metal beverage and food containers and aluminum aerosol containers. Ball is the largest producer of recyclable beverage cans in the world. The company exited the home canning business in 1993 by spinning it off into a separate company, Alltrista (since renamed Jarden).[3][4][5]

Company history[edit]

In 1880, Frank C. and Edmund B. Ball, two of the five Ball brothers of fruit jar fame, borrowed $200 from their Uncle George Harvey Ball, founder and first president of Keuka College, to buy the Wooden Jacket Can Company (years later the brothers would reciprocate by providing financial support to their uncle's college).[6] The wooden jackets encased tin cans which held kerosene. Because the acid used to refine kerosene caused corrosion in tin, the brothers decided to use glass for the inserts of the wood-jacketed cans. Initially, they bought the glass containers from a factory in Poughkeepsie, New York.

In 1882, the factory that supplied the glass containers was destroyed by fire. Some of the glassblowers from that factory suggested to the Ball brothers that they build their own factory. They purchased land in East Buffalo and built a two-story brick building for the stamping works and a one-story frame factory for the glass works. Because of the volume of business, a larger furnace was soon needed. In order to use the full capacity of the furnace, it was decided to make other glass products.

Sometime in 1884, Frank and Edmund discovered that the patent covering the Mason Improved fruit jar had expired. This meant that they could make the fruit jars in the glass works and the metal lids in the metal factory. The “Buffalo” jars were made for part of 1884, 1885 and 1886. The BBGMCo (Ball Brothers Glass Manufacturing Company) logo was used on the jars, which were either amber or aqua. Sizes ranged from half-gallon to pint and midget.

In 1886, while on a business trip in Cleveland, Frank heard about the gas boom in Findlay, Ohio. After visiting Findlay, Frank told Edmund about the advantages of natural gas for glass making. Edmund then visited several towns in the gas fields, including Muncie, Indiana. After he returned, he and Frank decided that they should make a more extensive trip to investigate the possibility of locating a factory in a gas boom town. They briefly had doubts about extending beyond Buffalo but decided that to grow their glass business, they had to explore the possibility of taking advantage of gas.

Frank and Edmund stopped first in Fostoria, Ohio where they were enthusiastically welcomed. The next stop was Bowling Green. After one night in town, Edmund returned to Buffalo. When Frank had been in Bowling Green for about a week, he received a telegram from James Boyce of Muncie. Frank said that “Having become weary of the monotonous life in Bowling Green and ready for a change, I decided to run down to Muncie and see what they had to offer.”

Frank was courted by the town leaders, and according to him, “There was nothing about the town that particularly appealed to me, but the men were all courteous, kind, and businesslike.” Frank agreed to a proposal which included a factory site of seven acres, a gas well and cash. In addition, the city agreed to provide railroad facilities. By September, 1887, construction had begun on the Muncie factory.

Frank remained in Muncie after getting the factory up and running. That same year, Edmund closed the Buffalo glass factory and moved to Muncie. Their brothers, William and George, remained in Buffalo to operate the stamping works and a factory in Bath, New York. However, George moved to Muncie by 1893 and William by 1897.

Their eldest brother, Lucius, received his doctor of medicine degree from the University of Buffalo in 1889. He served as the house physician in Adrian Hospital in Pennsylvania then practiced in Buffalo. He moved to Muncie in 1894.

On February 7, 1888, a Certificate of Incorporation was filed for the Ball Glass Works of Muncie. On February 18, fires were started in the furnace, on February 26, the blowers began to arrive and on March 1, the first products were made. The first products made in Muncie were coal oil containers and lamp chimneys, not fruit jars.

Ball remained a family-owned business for more than 90 years, manufacturing fruit jars, lids, and related products. In the 1950s, Ball entered the aerospace industry. Glass production in Muncie ceased in 1962 but continued at other Ball plants. Ball went public on July 13, 1972, and its stock was traded over the counter. On December 17, 1973, the stock was admitted for trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BLL. Stock began trading at $26 per share.

Company headquarters moved from Muncie to Broomfield, Colorado in 1998. Ball no longer produces the glass fruit jar; the license to produce the jar now is owned by Jarden Home Brands. Jarden produces all lids for all brands of fruit jars at its Muncie plant. Jars are made by a variety of glass producers.

Historic milestones[edit]

  • 1909, the first Ball Blue Book was printed featuring home canning recipes and techniques.
  • 1956, Ball formed Ball Brothers Research Corporation to produce goods and services for the aerospace sector. This was converted to a wholly owned subsidiary, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., in 1995.
  • 1994, Ball began manufacturing PET plastic containers.
  • 1995, Ball created Ball-Foster Glass Container Co., a joint venture glass company with Saint-Gobain.[7]
  • 1996, Ball exited the glass business, selling it to Saint-Gobain.[8]
  • 2002, Ball acquired Schmalbach-Lubeca AG, the German-based metal beverage container company, and created Ball Packaging Europe.
  • 2005, Ball celebrated its 125th anniversary.
  • 2006, Ball acquired U.S. Can, Inc., the largest U.S. manufacturer of aerosol cans.
  • 2008, Ball Corporation issued its first sustainability report. The report was a co-winner for Best First Time Reporter award in 2009 in the ACCA-Ceres North American Sustainability Awards.
  • 2010, Ball acquired Aerocan S.A.S, makers of aluminum aerosol cans and bottles, for $292 million.[9]

Major subsidiaries[edit]

Environmental record[edit]

In 2006, researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst identified Ball as the 59th-largest corporate producer of air pollution in the United States, with roughly 4.5 million pounds of toxic chemicals released annually into the air.[10] Major pollutants indicated by the study include glycol ethers and 1,2,4-trimethylbenzene.[11]

In 2009, Newsweek cited Ball Corporation in their "Green Rankings" [12] which examines 500 of the largest corporations on their environmental track records. Ball was listed 111th out of 500 companies.[13]

In 2008, Ball Corporation issued its first sustainability report. The report was a co-winner for Best First Time Reporter award in 2009 in the ACCA-Ceres North American Sustainability Awards. Since 2008, Ball releases their sustainability reports on their website.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Ball Corporation, Form 10-K, Annual Report, Filing Date Feb 22, 2012" (PDF). Retrieved Feb 5, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Ball Corporation, Form 10-K, Annual Report, Filing Date Apr 1, 1996". Retrieved Feb 5, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Ball Corporation, Form 8-K, Current Report, Filing Date Jan 27, 1994". Retrieved Feb 5, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Ball Corporation, Form 10-K, Annual Report, Filing Date Mar 12, 2004" (PDF). Retrieved Feb 5, 2013. 
  5. ^ Company history of Alltrista Corporation, International Directory of Company Histories
  6. ^ Anthony O. Edmonds, E. Bruce Geelhoed, Ball State University: An Interpretive History (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2001), p.47.
  7. ^ "Saint-Gobain joins with Ball on glass venture". The New York Times. June 28, 1995. Retrieved November 2, 2009. 
  8. ^ "Saint-Gobain buys out American partner". The New York Times. September 17, 1996. Retrieved November 2, 2009. 
  9. ^ "Ball acquires Aerocan S.A.S". MarketWatch. December 8, 2010. Retrieved December 23, 2010. 
  10. ^ Political Economy Research Institute Toxic 100 (Study released May 11, 2006) retrieved 17 Aug 2007
  11. ^ "Ball Corporation - Chemicals". Political Economy Research Institute. Retrieved July 22, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Newsweek, Greenest Big Companies in America – The 2009 List". Retrieved July 22, 2010. 
  13. ^ "Newsweek –Green Ranking- Ball". Retrieved July 22, 2010. 

Other Sources[edit]

  • Ball, Frank Clayton. "Memoirs of Frank Clayton Ball". Muncie, Indiana. 1937.
  • Brantley, William F. "A Collector’s Guide to Ball Jars". Rosemary Humbert Martin, Publisher. Muncie, Indiana. 1975
  • Frederic Alexander Birmingham "Ball Corporation: The First Century". Curtis Publishing Company, Indianapolis. 1980.
  • Conn, Earl. "Beneficence: Stories about the Ball Families of Muncie". Minnetrista Cultural Foundation, Inc. Muncie, Indiana. 2003.
  • Glass, James A. "The Gas boom of East Central Indiana". Arcadia Publishers, Chicago. 2005.
  • Minnetrista Heritage Collection
  • Myers, George E. The Story of Ball Brothers, Volume 1. 1965.

External links[edit]