Ball, Frank Clayton

Ball, Frank Clayton

(1857–1943) industrialist, philanthropist; born in Greensburg, Ohio. Following their father's death, he and his four brothers (Lucius, William, George, and Edmund Ball) entered the business of making tin cans and glass jars to ship oils and varnishes. Moving their firm to Muncie, Ind., the Ball Brothers (incorporated in 1887) expanded into making glass fruit jars and caps that were based on the "Mason jar" (whose patent had expired). They continued to improve their product by their own inventions and by buying exclusive rights to others'. By allowing millions of people to "put up" their own foods in jars, the firm prospered even during the Great Depression. Frank was president of the company (1880–1943). Turning to philanthropy, he and his brothers gave over $7 million to institutions, mostly in Indiana.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.