Michael Joseph Owens
Born January 1, 1859 - December 27, 1923
Glass Shaping Machine
Patent #: 766,768
Michael Owens played a major role in the history of glass product
manufacturing with his automatic glass blowing machine.
Moving to Toledo, Ohio, Owens worked for the Toledo Glass Factory, owned by
glass manufacturing magnate Edwin Libbey. Eventually appointed as foreman
and supervisor, Owens was responsible for constructing machines that could
automate the production of glass containers. His glass bottle-making machine
automated the entire process, from selecting the molten glass to blowing the
glass into its final form. The machine produced glass bottles at a rate of
240 per minute, and in some cases, reduced labor costs by 80%.
Owens and Libbey entered into a partnership and the former’s company was
renamed the Owens Bottle Company in 1919. Ten years later, Owens and
Libbey’s establishment merged with the Illinois Glass Company to become the
Owens-Illinois Glass Company.
Owens’ invention of a glass bottle-making machine not only earned him fame
but also contributed to Toledo’s importance in the glass industry.
Born in Mason County, West Virginia, Owens left school at the age of
10 for a glassware apprenticeship at J.H. Hobbs, Brockunier and Company
in Wheeling. Within five years of his arrival, he became a master