Our story began in 1887, when George Pomeroy, Jr., through his affiliation with the Toledo Business Men's Association, connected with Edward Drummond Libbey, the son of a glass manufacturer in New England and invited him to scout Toledo as a potential headquarters for the family's glass business. Pomeroy and his colleagues were bucking the trend of selling Toledo as a Great Lakes grain center when they banded together to promote the town as a Midwest industrial and manufacturing hub surrounded by natural resources, ready labor, and access to convenient transportation. At a dinner party held at Pomeroy's Vistula-neighborhood home in the fall of 1887, Libbey met Florence Scott, a member of a prominent Toledo family and his future wife. In 1888, after considering other cities that were offering similar programs, Libbey relocated his business to Toledo and the Glass City was born. In 1895, Libbey and Scott built a Colonial Revival & Shingle style mansion on Scottwood Avenue and today it is the home of the Libbey House Foundation.
The key to our story is how the Toledo Business Men's Association, a group referred to as a "confluence of business, politics, and culture" collaborated on the prize of economic development and won! There was no Chamber of Commerce, Port Authority or SBA — Libbey moved his business to Toledo because local entrepreneurs worked together on an opportunity to attract new industry to Northwest Ohio. Their work set off a chain of events that would place our community at the center of industrial innovation and business collaboration for years to come. Byproducts included the development of the automatic glass-bottle machine, tableware, lightbulbs, window glass, prescription drug containers, glass building materials, automotive glass and fiberglass through the collaboration of businesses and spin-offs with names like Libbey Glass Company, Libbey-Owens Sheet Glass Company, Libbey-Owens-Ford, Glass Fibers, Inc., Owens-Corning, and Owens-Illinois. This flourish of innovation was not limited to the glass industry. Other area innovations include DeVilbiss Atomizers, Meilink Safe, Champion Spark Plugs, Toledo Scale, Zeroll, Calphalon, and First Solar. Northwest Ohio remains a place where an innovative idea can become a leading global business.
Today, the Libbey House Foundation celebrates the inventive spirit that has fueled Toledo since the days of the Toledo Business Men's Association. Our historical and educational programming and our global institute focused on business innovation and collaboration firmly places Toledo as a past, present and future leader in advancing business transformation.