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Libbey's Approach to Innovation

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- Discusses Libbey's approach to innovation (operations and marketing ties) -include ruby glass, bottles, and flat.
- Answers how Libbey organized for innovation - such as automatic bottle making.
- Discusses the upside and downside of a 50 cent tariff on ethanol and the factors in making the company competitive.
- Discusses the factors making American manufacturing uncompetitive.

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1. Discuss Libbey's approach to innovation (operations and marketing ties) - including ruby glass, bottles, and flat.

The Libbey family became involved in the glass business in the 1870s. Libbey became an agent for New England Glass. The Libbey family felt they could make a go of the business and convinced the directors of New England Glass to lease the properties to them. In 1880, the company changed it name to W.L. Libbey and Son, Proprietors. William L. Libbey believed in quality in products. New England Glass was well-known for its high quality (Keefe, 1968).

The Libbey family was innovative when it came to trying to make the glass products sell. When Corning Glass was shut down due to a strike in 1892, Libbey was able to gain a contract from Edison General Electric to make hand-blown light bulbs. They built a factory at Chicago's 1893 Columbian Exposition. From a marketing perspective, this was a good move. They began enjoying the fruits of their work. Tours were given for a price and the money they made was phenomenal.

Moving forward, Libbey created the "safe edge" tumbler with a rim that was chip resistant. This was in the 1920s. Restaurants and bars were in need of glassware and Libbey was right there ready. Libbey hired A. Douglas Nash who was a sales executive for Tiffany's. He created a unique line of stemware. The line did not sell as planned and with the depression, Libbey Glass was bought out by Owens-Illinois.
It found new growth and did promotional work for Walt Disney creating ware for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Libbey Glass was profitable with Owens-Illinois but in 1993, they decided to free Libbey. With this move, Libbey was offered publicly. Libbey wanted to take on high adventures but was only forced to pull back from many good deals.


Keefe, John Webster. (1968). Libbey Glass: A Tradition of 150 Years, 1818-1968. Toledo Museum of Art.

2) How did Libbey organize for innovation - such as automatic bottle making?

Edward Drummond Libbey was ahead of his time. He was one of the most innovative men born. Not only was he a great glassmaker, artist, and industrialist - he was also an innovator and art collector. He knew what people would like and he wanted to do it with quality ...

Solution Summary

Discusses Libbey's approach to innovation (operations and marketing ties) -include ruby glass, bottles, and flat.
291 Words about this topic and one reference.

Each question is answered separately and it answers about how innovation played a part in Libbey's plan concerning automatic bottle making. (200 words and one reference.) 179 words are utilized to discuss the tariff on ethanol and how the company became competitive with the outside world. The tariff affected businesses in a positive and negative manner.

There were factors that made the American manufacturing business uncompetitive and this also discusses these in 429 words and one reference. Productivity is covered and how on a national and company level it can be addressed.
180 words and 2 references.