A New Jersey company announced yesterday that it has agreed to purchase glass molds, customer lists and production contracts of the recently closed Carr Lowrey Glass Co., the last member of the once-shimmering Baltimore glassmaking industry.
Terms of the deal were not released. The purchaser, Glass Group Inc. of Millville, N.J., also said it intends to hire an unspecified number of Carr Lowery Glass sales and manufacturing specialists. Those employees will probably be moved to the Glass Group's operations in Park Hills, Mo., said V. Paul Weikel, the company's vice president of engineering.
"The Baltimore [Carr Lowrey] facility has a proud history of [almost] 115 years of continuous production. A lot can be said of its history," Weikel said. "But time goes on and the business continues. ... We are very excited about this acquisition."
On June 6, Carr Lowrey closed its Kloman Street factory, where it had operated continually since its founding in 1889. That put about 250 people out of work, the Glass Group said.
Carr Lowrey President K. Wayne Long said yesterday that a few administrative people remained on hand to "wind things down."
The deal with the Glass Group was completed Monday.
Carr Lowrey had been struggling for several years, though it had avoided filing for bankruptcy protection. In 1999, the company took a $7 million loan from the Abell Foundation to rescue it from Swiss creditors. Long declined to comment on the status of that loan.
A late-afternoon telephone call to the Abell Foundation was not returned.
Carr Lowrey made products such as perfume bottles and specialty glassware. Its business declined, in part, because of the increasing shift from glass to plastic for containers and bottles. It also faced increased competition from much-larger rivals, experts said.
Weikel was part of an investment group that purchased what is now called the Glass Group in September. Before that, Glass Group had been a unit of Alcan Inc. of Montreal and, like Carr Lowrey, had been in trouble, Weikel said.
Weikel said the Glass Group has annual revenue of about $125 million and a joint venture based in Beijing.
Carr Lowrey had annual sales of roughly $20 million.
"We're taking over their entire product line," Weikel said.