Hazelware was a product line of glass tableware that was produced from the 1950’s to the 1970’s in Clarksburg, West Virginia. All of the glassware that shipped bearing the Hazelware name was manufactured at the Clarksburg facility.
Hazelware was originally developed and manufactured by the Hazel-Atlas Glass Company. However, due to a complicated series of company mergers, lawsuits, sales, and takeovers, the Hazelware product line was produced by three different companies, as the Clarksburg facility passed between different owners, before being permanently closed in 1987.
Here is a brief history of Hazelware as determined from old newspaper articles, court records, company documents, and catalogs.
Continental Can Company, the second largest producer of metal containers in America at the time, acquired the Hazel-Atlas Glass Company, the third largest producer of glass containers in America at the time. Having been unsuccessful at stopping the merger from happening, the government brought an antitrust suit against Continental Can seeking to undo the merger. Hazelware was produced for Continental Can at the Clarksburg facility, while the other Hazel-Atlas plants continued to make jars and bottles.
Continental Can Company won the antitrust lawsuit in a New York district court. The government failed to prove that the merger of a metal container company with a glass container company would reduce competition or customer choice. The government would then appeal to the US Supreme Court.
On appeal, the US Supreme Court decided in case 378 US 441, United States v. Continental Can Company, that the purchase of Hazel-Atlas by Continental Can violated section 7 of the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914. This decision reversed the ruling of the lower court. Plans were already being developed by Continental to sell off the glass packaging business before the ruling was handed down.
To settle the antitrust case, with Justice Department approval, Continental Can Company sold 8 of the former Hazel-Atlas plants, those which were used to produce containers (jars and bottles), to Brockway Glass Company of Brockway, PA. Continental Can retained the Clarksburg, West Virginia plant where they continued to produce the Hazelware product line.
In an effort to expand its glass tableware product line, Continental Can Company purchased the Tiffin Art Glass Company of Tiffin, Ohio. For a brief period of time, some Tiffin products were marketed along side Hazelware. They were known during this time as Tiffinware by Continental.
Continental Can Company sold Tiffin Art Glass to Interpace Corporation of New Jersey after less than three years of ownership. A few of the Tiffinware pieces would continue to be sold by Continental Can Company until stock was depleted, but these items were then listed in Hazelware catalogs without the Tiffinware name.
Continental Can Company sold the glass tableware division and the Clarksburg, West Virginia plant, along with the rights to produce Hazelware to Brockway Glass Company. Brockway continued to use the Hazelware name on exisisting product lines until those products lines ended production. However, Brockway did not apply the Hazelware name to new products that they developed. Eventually the name Hazelware was removed from Brockway catalogs and company documents completely.
Brockway Glass Company announced the closure of the glass tableware division that it had purchased from Continental Can Company just six years earlier. West Virginia state officials began working with Brockway in an attempt to find a buyer for the Clarksburg plant.
Brockway Glass Company sold the Clarksburg, WV plant to Anchor Hocking Corporation, of Lancaster, Ohio. Anchor Hocking agreed to purchase the facility only after multiple government grants and tax breaks were approved for modernization of the facility. Anchor Hocking did not manufacture any of the Hazelware product lines.
Anchor Hocking was taken over by The Newell Corporation of Freeport, Illinois. Newell began restructuring and cost cutting measures at Anchor Hocking, which resulted in the permanent closure of the Clarksburg plant in November of the same year. The state of West Virginia sued Newell, but the plant remained closed.
The Clarksburg plant was torn down.