ANDERSON — Candy bars. Bacon. Butter. Glass bottles for soda and jars for jelly and peanut butter. If you went to a grocery store in the 1950s and 1960s, packages were all around you. The products weren’t made in Anderson, but the machines that packaged them probably were. It’s an Anderson story.
The Lynch Glass Machinery Company began modestly in 1917 in Anderson, started by James Lynch, a glass blower from Summitville, and Ed Bridges, a mechanical engineer. Bridges’ and Lynch’s objective was to create an automatic bottle-blowing machine to take advantage of the growing soft drink industry. Although their final design wasn’t the first in the market, it was the first fully automatic machine of its kind and a significant industrial improvement. In 1928, Lynch and Bridges combined their operation with the Dice Machine Company to form Lynch Glass Machinery, later shortened to Lynch Corporation.
Lynch Corporation’s first headquarters was at 16th and Jackson streets. It then temporarily moved to the old American Playground site further south on Jackson Street. In 1933, the company acquired the old Ames Shovel plant on Crystal Street and moved its operations there. It would later acquire a second Anderson location at 230 Jackson St., where its general machine shop was located.
Lynch Corporation did relatively well in the Depression. In 1934, it bought the assets of the Miller Machine and Mold Company of Columbus, Ohio, which produced machines that made wide-topped canning jars, adding a second line to its glass machinery. The Miller operation was brought to the new Anderson factory. Lynch began adding workers and brought its production staff up to about 100. By 1941, Lynch was employing between 250 and 300 persons. The factory shifted much of its operations to the production of machine tool manufacture during World War II as part of the war effort.