Our History

Our History

  1. From wood-jacketed tins to aerospace
  2. The Ball Family

Five brothers founded Ball in 1880 with a $200 loan from their Uncle George. In the beginning, they made wood-jacketed tin cans for products like paint and kerosene, but soon expanded their offerings to glass- and tin-jacketed containers. In 1884, the brothers began making glass home-canning jars, the product that established Ball as a household name. The brothers—Edmund, Frank, George, Lucius and William—moved the company from Buffalo, New York, to Muncie, Indiana, in 1887 to take advantage of abundant natural gas reserves essential to making glass.

Ball grew rapidly in the ensuing decade and has been in more than 45 businesses since its founding. Ball no longer manufactures the ubiquitous canning jars, but we’ve expanded and grown into a worldwide metal packaging company that makes billions of recyclable metal containers, and a unique aerospace business that designs one-of-a-kind solutions to answer scientific and technical challenges. We manufacture on four continents and we’re based in Broomfield, Colorado. For a more detailed journey through Ball’s successes, visit our timeline.

History of Ball—the Ball Family

The Ball Family becomes a household name in the U.S.

Family Information

The Parents

Mr. Ball was a farmer, inventor, and respected citizen who instilled confidence in his sons and assured them that they would succeed in whatever they undertook. Mrs. Ball, a schoolteacher, gave her children love, inspiration, and direction. She urged them to go into business together. The five Ball brothers established a company in 1880 that would go on to become an international success story. Each of the brothers contributed unique talents and expertise to their venture.

  • Lucius Styles Ball (1814-1878) and Maria Polly Bingham Ball (1822-1892) had six sons and two daughters:
  • Lucina Amelia (1847-1901); Lucius Lorenzo (1850-1932); William Charles (1852-1921);
  • Edmund Burke (1855-1925); Frank Clayton (1857-1943); Mary Frances (1860-1926);
  • George Alexander (1862-1955); and Clinton Harvey (1867-1869).

The family was raised in eastern Ohio, in Grand Island on the Niagara River, and on the shore of Lake Canandaigua, New York.

The Ball Brothers

Edmund B. Ball - 1855-1925

Edmund borrowed $200 from his Uncle George to buy the Wooden Jacket Can Co., the forerunner of what would become Ball Corporation. He served as secretary and treasurer of the incorporated Ball Brothers Glass Manufacturing Company. Ed was well liked by plant employees, who once presented him with a gold pocket watch in appreciation for his efforts. Ed was known for his humanitarian strengths, although he preferred to stay in the background of his many community affairs. It was his wish that the Ball Brothers Foundation be organized, and from his estate came its original funding. The foundation's first major project, Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie, was completed four years after his death. His son, Edmund F. Ball, went on to serve the company as chairman, president, and CEO for 18 years.

Frank C. Ball - 1857-1943

An early salesman for the Wooden Jacket Can Co., Frank was responsible for moving the family from Buffalo, N.Y., to Muncie, Ind., in 1887. Frank served as the first company president, and remained in that capacity for 63 years.

George A. Ball - 1862-1955

During his long and active lifetime, George served the company as bookkeeper, secretary, treasurer, vice president, president, and board chairman. He participated in the company's evolution from kerosene cans and fruit jars to the threshold of the space age. He served on the boards of numerous organizations including Borg-Warner Corporation, Nickel Plate Railroad, various banks, Indiana University, Ball State Teachers College (today, Ball State University) and Ball Memorial Hospital. In 1935, he became the owner of a railroad empire. He was also involved in politics, and was a Republican national committeeman from Indiana for several years.

Lucius L. Ball - 1850-1932

Lucius fulfilled his lifelong ambition (after he had seen to it that his younger brothers and sisters were educated and established) to study and become a physician at the age of 40. He was a quiet, thoughtful, compassionate man with a shy sense of humor. In addition to his private medical practice, he served as medical adviser for the Western Reserve Life Insurance Company (then located in Muncie, Ind.).

William C. Ball - 1852-1921

William had a reputation as being a tremendously effective salesman. He served the company as a salesman and its secretary until his death at age 69.