The city of Rossford, Ohio, has come a long way since its inception 125 years ago. Founded in 1898 by glass pioneer Edward Ford, the city was conceived as a company town focused on glass making. The town, bordered by the Maumee River and major highways, has long been synonymous with glass, playing host to industry pillars, from Libbey-Owens-Ford to Pilkington to NSG Group today.

Founded in 1898 by glass pioneer Edward Ford, Rossford, Ohio, was conceived as a company town focused on glass making. Photo courtesy of NSG Group.

In fact, many current residents trace their roots back to the original workforce that migrated from Ford City, Pa., says David Imbrogno, plant manager of NSG Rossford Float.

“The rich heritage in hard work and family values is evident in most you meet,” adds Imbrogno. “Just about everyone will have a story about a family member who worked at the glass plant.”

To celebrate Rossford’s 125th anniversary, the town offered tours of NSG’s Rossford plant, officially opened the Rossford High School, and hosted a parade, among other activities. The Rossford plant took center stage, however. That’s because the plant was the catalyst for the city’s growth, says Kyle Sword, business development manager at NSG Pilkington in Toledo, Ohio.

“Being a company town, the plant really built the infrastructure of the city,” he says. “Back in the 1890s, you built roads and dug your own gas lines, water pumps and sanitation plants.  Much of the housing around the plant was built as company housing, and the businesses were service industries and support for the operation. Over time, the city has incorporated and grown into a much larger business community, but the roots are still deeply rooted in the factory.”

Much too has changed at the factory, adds Sword. He explains that the Rossford facility started as a polished plate glass manufacturer, melting 700- to 1,500-pound batches of glass and casting them into large disks for polishing. The work was dirty, hot and labor-intensive.

The NSG Rossford factory features advanced automation that requires more technicians than laborers. Photo courtesy of NSG Group.

The factory now features advanced automation that requires more technicians than laborers.

“Today, our factories are much more automated and technologically advanced,” says Sword. “People still think of glass manufacturing as dirty and labor intensive, but we’re much more akin to electronics manufacturing and require technicians over laborers. There is still quite a bit of art to doing this job well, and some heat and labor are part of the duty but highly advanced from our early days.”

Imbrogno adds that the plant currently produces automotive and architectural glass. It also remains involved in product development and research and development.

1 Comment

  1. Wonderful article about the city. It is a town steeped in history at a time when just about every individual was trying to improve their lot in life. Everywhere you turned someone had an idea of how to do it better. It was an age of newly discovered gas deposits in NW Ohio and in other areas. It was a time of growing markets for food, transportation, and even more specialization as population with the states of Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky were all growing. It was not without is problems like the Civil War, the recession of 1873, the depression of 1895. The Country was just over a hundred years old – and it was still truly an experiment. There were few banks in existence that would lend to entrepreneurs – money came from those who saved money. What an incredible time during that period.

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