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The Collectics Antiques Information & Education pages are designed to further knowledge of antiques, collectibles, collecting styles, periods, artists, designers, and manufacturers of fine and decorative arts. To learn more, our Antique Collector Bookstore lists only the best collector books and price guides, complied by surveys of top antique dealers and auction houses. For a different shopping experience, you can also browse our featured selections in a fun new way with the Antique Price Guides Slideshow or see current bestsellers by using Collector Books Topic Search.

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Anchor Hocking was founded in 1905 by Isaac Collins and 6 of his friends when they raised money to buy the Lancaster Carbon Company in Lancaster, Ohio out of receivership. Mr. Collins was working at the time in the decorating department of the Ohio Flint Glass Company, a native of Salisbury, Maryland and ambitious for entrepreneurial success. Collins raised additional operating capital from E.B. Good and other local businessmen, and the purchase was consummated for a total of about $25,000, 50 employees, and in business under the new name Hocking Glass Company after the Hocking River near which the plant was located. The company was known locally as the "Black Cat", so named because of the carbon fiber dust generated in the manufacturing process. In its first year of operation, the company sold approximately $25,000 of its glassware, an adequate start to expand operations by raising additional capital through the issuance of new stock in the company. The company's fortunes changed in 1924 when a devastating fire burned the plant down to the ground. Hocking's management persevered however, and they raised sufficient capital to rebuild a new glass plant on the exact site of the former plant now in ashes and to buy 2 other local glassworks, the Lancaster Glass Company and the Standard Glass Manufacturing Company. Each acquisition expanded Hocking's production capacity and in some manner improved their manufacturing techniques. Hocking was one of the earliest mechanized producers of glass in the U.S., evolving the machinery to produced pressed glass which looked great but was much less expensive to produce than traditional blown glass. This operational efficiency and the cost advantages of producing larger quantities of pressed glass helped Hocking to sustain operations during the downturn of Depression. By this time, automated machinery allowed the company to consistently expand production from 30 pieces per minute to 90 pieces per minute. Hocking Glass Co. began making glass containers in 1931 when they purchased controlling interest in the General Glass Company and followed by acquiring the Turner Glass Company in Winchester, Indiana in 1933.

While Hocking grew rapidly through acquisitions, they also continued to innovate and began producing their first beer bottles in 1934. The company's name was changed to Anchor Hocking Glass Company in December, 1937 when Hocking merged with the Anchor Cap & Closure Corporation which had plants in Long Island, NY and Toronto, Canada as well as glass container plants in Salem, NJ and Connellsville, PA. Anchor Hocking continued to expand into new areas, introducing cosmetic containers, tableware, toiletries, and other housewares, and they continued making acquisitions including the Carr-Lowry Glass Company of Baltimore and Maywood Glass of California. In 1942, Anchor Hocking introduced the popular Fire King glassware line which they continued making into the late 1970s. Fire-King was pressed glass dinnerware and kitchenware made from oven proof glass, usually opaque apart from a few items like the clear "crystal" line in ovenware. Two colors of Fire King are particularly popular with collectors today: pale green Jade-ite and the iridized peach color with a mirror finish called Peach Lustre.

Anchor Hocking established a new R&D facility in Lancaster during the 1950s, and research became fundamental to the company's continued innovation in its glassware and production techniques. Anchor Hocking began designing and manufacturing its own molding equipment, which they continued to use for the production of glassware but also moving into new areas such as blown mold plastic containers which were coming into general usage. As the company diversified, they dropped "Glass" from the company's formal name and continued operating as Anchor Hocking, and they continued expanding the product line by introducing lighting in 1970 when they purchased the Phoenix Glass Company of Monaca, PA. They expanded into stoneware, earthenware, restaurant china, and commemorative collector plates when they purchased the Taylor, Smith & Taylor Company of Chester, West Virginia and Shenango China of New Castle, PA. In 1983, Anchor Hocking spun off its glass container operation under the name Anchor Glass Container Corporation with headquarters in Lancaster, OH. The Newell Corporation acquired the remaining assets of Anchor Hocking in 1987, and Newell helped to restructure the company by investing in the company's profitable lines and divesting or closing unprofitable lines. Anchor Hocking is still in operation today, although the company's tumultuous history has continued through successive ownership groups and varying states of marketplace success.

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