1895: Smethport Bottling Works
manufacturer of glass bottles
Bottle Factory Basic History
1918 Bottle Factory Fire Tragedy
Smethport Berney Bond Glass Company Timeline
photo credit: McKean County Historical Society/ Bottling Works Map Credit: Ross Porter
Sanborn-Perris Insurance Map
photo credit: E Bay
See Bottle Works Site 2000 AD
Smethport Prohibitionist Builds Bottle Factory
McKean County Miner
Smethport Pa., July 1,1898
page 3 column 6The new glass works which Smethport expects to secure will manufacture nearly every description of bottle excepting those for beer. The gentleman who is at the head of the industry is a Prohibitionist and cannot conscientiously manufacture bottles intended for that purpose.The Smethport Bottling Works was located on land behind where Costa's Supermarket and Costa's True Value Hardware Store are located today. The bottle factory had several owners in its relatively short history. Originally named Smethport Bottling Works until the company was purchased by the Haines-Flint Glass Company. In 1910, the factory was purchased by the Berney Bond Glass Company. The factory was always the maker of bottles and its main source of transporting the bottles was the railroad. The factory was serviced by a railroad spur connecting to the BB&K Railroad in the parking lot of the Costa stores today. On the above right is a photo of one of the bottles that the factory made.
1898-1918: Smethport Bottle Works Basic History
In 1902 the Bond Glass Co. was formed in Hazel Hurst to make bottles etc. Bond Glass Co. stockholders came from Bradford, Hazel Hurst, Union City and St. Marys which included A.J. Bond, M.J. Healy and C.E. Hazelton.
After a few years the Berney Glass Co. of Bradford and the Bond Glass Co. of Hazel Hurst merged and formed the Berney Bond Glass Bottle Co. which later grew into quite a large operation with plants in Hazel Hurst, Bradford, and Smethport in McKean county and in Knox, Clarion and other locations outside the county.
On May 2, 1918, the Berney Bond Glass Factory was completely destroyed by a fire of unknown origins. The plant's night watchmen reported that everything was fine and there was nothing wrong with the factory. Then, about five minutes later, they discovered the fire, which engulfed almost the entire building with flames. By the time the fire department arrived they were too late to stop the fire from destroying the factory. Today, the factory is replaced with Costa's Supermarket which is owned and run by Paul Costa and the Costa's True Value Store, which is next to the supermarket, is owned by Sam Costa.
Bottle Factory Destroyed by Fire
McKean County Miner
Early Monday morning the big plant of the Berney Bond Glass Bottle Co., was totally destroyed by fire, the origin of which is unknown. Michael O'Brien and Ernest Brooke, the night watchmen, who were on duty at the plant say that five minutes before the plant flames were discovered everything was in perfect order about the tank. Mr. O'Brien on his return from another part of the factory about 4:30 found a fire raging back of the tank. He immediately telephoned in a fire call and the fire department promptly responded, but the big wooden buildings burned like tinder and it was impossible to check the flames after the headway they had gained.
The firemen were handicapped at the start by lack of water pressure but the steamer was soon brought into service and that defect remedied. The wind was in the south and consequently blew the great mass of flames over the big vacant lot north of the plant. Had the wind blown from the west it is more than probable that several dwelling houses on Forest avenue would have been destroyed. The plant consisted of two very large frame buildings and several smaller ones, the small building used as the business office being the only one to escape the flames.
The Berney-Bond plant was one of Smethport's leading industries and its loss is severe blow to the town. From information at hand now prospects for rebuilding the factory in Smethport are not promising.
In former years the plant had given employment to a large number of men and boys at good wages, usually running from 9 to 10 months out of the year. During the past winter the factory was equipped with bottle blowing machines and started operations April 1st for a term of 14 weeks, which was as long as factories of this government regulations. The plant was in operation night and day with the exception of Saturday night and Sunday.
The loss is estimated at about $100,000, with nearly insurance enough to cover that amount. This statement is not official but is the general report. This is one of the most disasterous fires from a business standpoint that ever visited the town and if it is not rebuilt local interests should bestir themselves with the idea of locating some sort of an industry to take its place. Another regrettable feature of the disaster is that Smethport will lose a number of families who have made this town their home for years.
2000: 2 photos of site of Smethport Bottle Glass Factory as it looks today
Haines-Flint Plant was located behind today's Costa Complex
Actual Location is shown in the photo below
click on either photo to return to 1895