2011 CC SA-BY Our Oakland

The Owens-Illinois Glass Factory was a large glass manufacturing facility at the foot of Fruitvale Avenue. Owens-Illinois purchased 22 acres of land in 1936, and the plant opened in 1937. It was known for manufacturing glass containers, particularly wine bottles. It closed about 2015.

After Owens-Illinois merged with Brockway Glass Company in 1988, it was known as Owens-Brockway Glass Containers. In 2005, Owens-Illinois began using the trade name O-I which appeared on the sign at the main entrance to the plant.

A 1962 article mentions it had 400 employees when it opened, and in 1962 it had over 1,800 employees. 80 of those had been with the company for 25 years or more. A 1993 article about shutting down the corrugated box manufacturing at the the site, and mentions about 600 employees in the bottle manufacturing plant.

The plant had a number of fires over the years, but a 1985 accident sounds spectacular. A hole developed in the one of the furnaces, and 300 tons of molten glass was spilled. The plant included special pits to catch the molten glass in the event of a spill; this was the first time they had been needed. 2 A similar spill in 1997 caused a fire on the roof. In both cases, putting water on the molten glass to cool it caused huge plumes of steam. 3

In 2003, the company agreed to pay $200,000 for nearly 200 air quality violations in the mid-1990s. 4

NB: The address originally referenced was 601 - 36th Avenue. At some point (c.1955) the main entrance to the plant was moved to 3600 Alameda Avenue, and is used for documents about possible redevelopment.

1950 Sanborn excerpt 1936 drawing 1Note the pile of broken glass behind the fence

Links and References

  1. New Plant Here to Cost 2 Millions Oakland Tribune March 18, 1936 (p2)
  2. Glass plant mishap idles 100 workers Oakland Tribune October 9, 1985
  3. Molten meltdown at Fruitvale factory Oakland Tribune July 4, 1997 (p2)
  4. Oakland glassmaker settles air-quality case Oakland Tribune April 16, 2003 (p2)