For this week’s Epstein Throwback Thursday we take a trip back to August 16, 1957 for the opening of the Hazel-Atlas Glass Company production plant in Plainfield, Illinois. Designed and engineered by Epstein, this $5M plant ($43.2M in 2017) was located on a 30-acre site at 1500 North Division Street and was built to service the huge food packing and bottling industries in Chicago and neighboring Midwest cities.
This Planfield Hazel-Atlas plant had seven manufacturing lines for glass jars and bottles covering nearly 120,000 square feet as well as an additional 91,000 square feet of storage and shipping area. In addition, this plant was serviced by Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Railroad and featured 10 freight car loading docks and also had over 1 mile of rail track within the plant!
This facility was one of 15 similar production plants that Hazel-Atlas had in the United States and when this plant was completed Hazel-Atlas was the 3rd largest producer of glass containers in the country, shipping nearly 10% of all the glass bottles made.
Hazel-Atlas were also known as one of the preeminent manufacturers of glass products like glassware and tableware, white milk-glass ‘inserts’ used inside fruit jar lids (FYI - the ‘Atlas’ brand was the most popular line of fruit jars for home canning) as well as cold cream jars and salve containers.
In 1964, just seven years after this building was operational, Hazel-Atlas became a subsidiary of the Continental Can Company and Continental made the strategic decision to sell the Plainfield plant to A.H. Kerr Glass Company. This plant operated as a Kerr facility until 1991 when the Ball Corporation acquired the plant. Today, nothing remains of this plant, as the site is the home to Vintage Tech Recyclers, one of the leading electronics recycling firms, as well as Wilson Nurseries and Landscape Supply.