Rossford was founded by Edward Ford of the Libbey-Owens-Ford Glass Company. In 1898, Ford purchased 173 acres along the Maumee River to build the Edward Ford Plate Glass Company. Ford named the city “Rossford” by combining the last name of his second wife, Caroline Ross, with his name.
Hundreds of European immigrants, often recruited by Edward Ford, especially Eastern Europeans, emigrated to Rossford to find work in his new glass company. At least 18 different ethnic groups have been identified in Rossford, including individuals from Belgium, Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Germany, Italy, and Ukraine. Ford also encouraged African American families to relocate to Rossford from the Creighton, Pennsylvania area. This transference was a common phenomenon in the American Midwest where the industrial revolution fostered the growth of hundreds of manufacturing enterprises.
By 1900, the Edward Ford Plate Glass Co. was producing six million feet of glass per year thereby eclipsing Pittsburgh Plate Glass Company as the largest manufacturer of flat glass in the nation.
In 1926, Edward Ford adopted a new Belgian technique, known as the Bicheroux process, for casting plate glass through water-cooled rollers. This flat glass production process greatly streamlined production, and, in the 1930s, the plant received an exclusive contract to supply all the glass for vehicles produced by General Motors Corporation.
One of LOF’s largest orders in the 1930s was for window glass for New York’s Empire State Building which used Libbey-Owens-Ford glass exclusively.
In 1946, Libbey-Owens-Ford began to manufacture an insulated glass known as Thermopane, an insulated window glass. In 1951, the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were sealed in Thermopane glass at the National Archives.
An archaeological discovery of a c. 1610 “protohistoric” village in Rossford rewrote Native American and European-American history. University of Toledo archeologists determined this was one of the largest and perhaps the last village to be inhabited by regional Native Americans before European contact in the early 1600s. The site was discovered in 1963 by boys playing in Rossford’s Crane’s Woods. University of Toledo archaeologists found a palisaded wall that revealed several circular structures lining the wall’s interior which likely served as habitations. They also found scores of artifacts, including shell-tempered pottery shards, brass decorative objects, and glass beads. Burials of over 100 individuals were found in four burial pits. The site of the village was referenced on Samuel de Champlain’s earliest maps from 1616 and 1632.
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