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Bottles for Beer: The Business of Technological Innovation in Mexico, 1890–1920

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 April 2011


Successful technological change in countries outside the northern Atlantic during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries depended on entrepreneurial skills, not inventive expertise. In this examination of the Owens automatic glass-bottle-blowing machine in Mexico between 1905 and 1912, innovation is seen to have occurred within a broad context of incipient social and economic modernization. Although the obstacles encountered by technology importers and innovators were both substantial and stubbornly persistent, in this case, they turned out to be malleable.

Copyright © Harvard Business School 2009

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1 For continental Europe, see, among others, Landes, David S., The Unbound Prometheus: Technological Change and Industrial Development in Western Europe from 1750 to the Present (Cambridge, U.K., 1969)Google Scholar; and Bruland, Kristine, ed., Technology Transfer and Scandinavian Industrialization (New York, 1991)Google Scholar, for example. Beyond Europe, see Jeremy, David J., International Technology Transfer: Europe, Japan and the USA, 1700–1914 (Aldershot, 1991)Google Scholar; Mokyr, Joel, Lever of Riches: Technological Creativity and Economic Progress (New York, 1990)Google Scholar; Todd, Jan, Colonial Technology: Science and the Transfer of Innovation to Australia (Cambridge, U.K., 1995)Google Scholar; and Minami, Ryoshin et al., eds., Acquiring, Adapting and Developing Technologies: Lessons from the Japanese Experience (New York, 1995).CrossRefGoogle Scholar On technology transfer, see Mansfield, Edwin, “International Technology Transfer: Forms, Resource Requirements, and Policies,” American Economic Review 65, no. 2 (1975)Google Scholar; Ruttan, Vernon and Hayami, Yujiro, “Technology Transfer and Agricultural Development,” Technology and Culture 14, no. 2 (1973)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Lall, Sanjaya, The Economics of Technology Transfer (London, 2002)Google Scholar; Fransman, Martin and King, Kenneth, Technological Capability in the Third World (London, 1984)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Minami et al., “Concluding Reflections: Lessons from the Japanese Experience,” in Acquiring, ed. Minami et al.

2 Schumpeter, Joseph, Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy (New York, 1962), 132Google Scholar; also Brown, Jonathan and Rose, Mary B., eds., Entrepreneurship, Networks, and Modern Business (Manchester, 1993)Google Scholar; and Scherer, Frederic and Perlman, Mark, eds., Entrepreneurship, Technological Innovation, and Economic Growth (Ann Arbor, 1992), 1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

3 Schumpeter, Capitalism, 132. For discussions of entrepreneurship in the Latin American or in a late-developing context, see Leff, Nathaniel H., “Entrepreneurship and Economic Development: The Problem Revisited,” Journal of Economic Literature 17 (Mar. 1979), 47Google Scholar; Dávila, Carlos and Miller, Rory, Business History in Latin America: The Experience of Seven Countries (Liverpool, 1999), 12.Google Scholar

4 Leff, “Entrepreneurship,” 46.

5 This was the dominant view in early works within the “dependency” approach, such as Frank's, André GundarCapitalism and Underdevelopment in Latin America (New York, 1967).Google Scholar See also Davila and Miller, Business History, Introduction.

6 Twenty years ago, H. V. Nelles introduced a special issue of this journal on Latin American business history by writing that “the broader economic and social implications of … business enterprises are now among the most hotly debated subjects in the field.” Nelles, , “Latin American Business History since 1965,” Business History Review 59 (Winter 1985): 543.CrossRefGoogle Scholar This is certainly not the case today. Even the small but vital field of Latin American economic history has largely ignored entrepreneurship. Strikingly, the two now classic articles on the obstacles to investment and growth in nineteenth-century Mexico do not address this issue: Coatsworth, John, “Obstacles to Economic Growth in Nineteenth Century Mexico,” American Historical Review 83 (1978)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Haber, Stephen H., “Assessing the Obstacles to Industrialization,” Journal of Latin American Studies 24 (1992).Google Scholar Nor do the recent major works on Latin American economic history: Haber, Stephen H., How Latin America Fell Behind (Stanford, 1997)Google Scholar; Coatsworth, John and Taylor, Alan, Latin America and the World Economy since 1800 (Cambridge, Mass., 1999)Google Scholar; Bulmer-Thomas, Victor, The Economic History of Latin America since Independence (Cambridge, U.K., 1994).Google Scholar Notable exceptions include Derossi, Flavia, The Mexican Entrepreneur (Paris, 1971)Google Scholar, and the contributions to Dávila and Miller, Business History.

7 See the many works by Mario Cerutti on the business elites of Monterrey, including his contribution to Dávila and Miller, Business History, 125–26; and also Haber, Stephen H., Industry and Underdevelopment: The Industrialization of Mexico 1890–1940 (Stanford, 1989), ch. 5.Google Scholar

8 See Beatty, Edward, “Approaches to Technology Transfer in History and the Case of Nineteenth Century Mexico” in Comparative Technology Transfer and Society 1, no. 2 (2003): 167200CrossRefGoogle Scholar, for one discussion.

9 The Owens in Mexico story has been partially told by several historians, including Juan Ignacio Barragán and Mario Cerutti, Juan F. Brittingham y la industria en México, 1859–1940 (Monterrey, n.d.); Haber, Industry, 90; Fernandez, Miguel Ángel, El Vidrio en México (Mexico, 1990), 190201Google Scholar; Mora-Torres, Juan, The Making of the Mexican Border: The State, Capitalism, and Society in Nuevo León, 1848–1910 (Austin, 2001), ch. 7Google Scholar; Snodgrass, Michael, Deference and Defiance in Monterrey (Cambridge, U.K., 2003), 16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar All state simply that Brittingham and the owners of the Cerveceriá Cuauhtémoc purchased the Owens rights and parlayed the patent into a national monopoly. My reconstruction of the story is based primarily on papers in the Juan Brittingham Archive at the Universidad Iberoamericana, Campus Laguna, in Torreón (hereafter AHJB), complemented by papers in the Toledo Glass Company in the Libbey Owens-Ford Glass Company Records at the Canaday Center Archives of the University of Toledo (hereafter TGC). All references to materials in the Archivo Histórico Juan Brittingham are from either his copybooks (numbered, for instance, 0017428) or from boxes of received letters (numbered, for instance, 06–0135).

10 On the beer industry in the United States, see Baron, Stanley Wade, Brewed in America (Boston, 1962).Google Scholar For Britain, see Vaizey, John, The Brewing Industry, 1886–1951 (London, 1960).Google Scholar

11 United States Bureau of the Census, Twelfth Census of Manufacturers, III, vol. 9 (Washington, D.C., 1900), 975.Google Scholar See also Scoville, Warren C., Revolution in Glassmaking: Entrepreneurship and Technological Change in the American Industry, 1880–1920 (Cambridge, Mass., 1948), 103.Google Scholar

12 Scoville, Revolution, 178–89, 325–29; Davis, Pearce, The Development of the American Glass Industry (Cambridge, Mass., 1949), ch. 9CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Derry, T. K. and Williams, Trevor I., A Short History of Technology from the Earliest Times toA.D. 1900 (New York, 1993,1st ed. 1960), 598.Google Scholar

13 On Owens, see Fairneld, E. William, Fire and Sand: The History of the Libbey-Owens Sheet Glass Company (Cleveland, 1960), ch. 5–9, and Scoville, Revolution, ch. 4. The following paragraphs are largely based on these works, as well as on the record books in the archive of the Toledo Glass Company.Google Scholar

14 For a summary description of the machine's operation and capacity, see Scoville, Revolution, 154–62; Davis, American Glass, 208–9; Derry and Williams, Short History, 598; Fairneld, Fire and Sand, 48.

15 Scoville, Revolution, 103–64; alsoTGC, record book #1, 263.

16 Libbey and Owens formed the Owens Bottle Machine Company in September 1903, to market rights to U.S. bottle producers only. For the U.S. Owens patents, see TGC, box 2, record book #1, 33, 270–77, 285; record book #2,1–19; and box 6, folder 10. For the European patent negotiations, see record book #2. The Owens patents in Mexico are #3904 on 10 Mar. 1903 for “Machine and method of shaping glass”; #3271 on 1 Oct. 1903 for “Glass tank or pot”; and #4832 on 31 Aug. 1905 for “Improvements relating to the production of articles of glass and apparatus therefore.” See Gaceta Oficial de la Oficina de Patentes y Marcas, various months.

17 The Owens machine cost somewhere just under $10,000 in 1904 and between $35,000 and $40,000 by 1914. Installing the machine also required the acquisition of new furnaces, lehrs, feeders, and other equipment–essentially the construction of an entirely new physical plant, running to several hundred thousand dollars. TGC, box 2, record book #2, 39ff; Scoville, Revolution, 103,165−60.

18 Davis, American Glass, 213; Scoville, Revolution, 104–7. Royalties fell between fifteen and fifty-four cents per gross from 1904 to 1909 and declined to around fifteen to twenty-five cents per gross over the next decade. See Scoville, Revolution, 107–85. See also Fairfield, Fire and Sand, 55.

19 TGC, box 2, record book #2, 47–58,124–26,195–99, 259.

20 The machine would become an “important competitive factor in bottle production” by 1907, placing increasingly intense pressure on the nonmechanized firms in the industry. Davis, American Glass, 214–16.

21 Average unit values in the bottle industry lagged nearly 50 percent behind the U.S. wholesale price index between 1909 and 1919. Davis, American Glass, tables 19 and 223.

22 Fernández, El Vidrio, 176; Sutton, Werner P., “Malt and Beer in Spanish America,” in U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Statistics, Special Consular Report No. 1 (Washington, D.C., 1890), 331Google Scholar; Martin, Percy F., Mexico of the Twentieth Century (New York, 1908), 235Google Scholar; Pilcher, Jeffrey M., Que Vivan los Tamales! Food and the Making of Mexican Identity (Albuquerque, 1998), 120.Google Scholar

23 National consumption calculated as beer imports plus domestic production; per capita consumption uses the male population of Mexico's seventeen largest cities. Using all adult males likely understates consumption per capita, while using the population of the largest cities likely overstates consumption per capita. Import data from Colegio de México, Estadísticas económicas del Porfiriato: Comercio exterior de México, 1877–1911 (Mexico, 1960), 208Google Scholar, for total bottled beer imports, and U.S. Department of Commerce, Foreign Commerce and Navigation of the United States, (Washington, D.C., 18801911)Google Scholar, for U.S. unbottled beer exports to Mexico; production calculated from Cervecería Cuauhtémoc production in Haber, Industry, table 4.3, as 28 percent to 30 percent of national production; population figures from Mexico, Institute Nacional de Estadística (INEGI), Estadísticas históricas de México, 2 vols. (Mexico, 1994).Google Scholar

24 Monterrey News, 29 Aug. 1905Google Scholar, quoted in Bunker, “Marketing,” 233.

25 Around 1890, a bottle of beer sold from between 0.25 to 0.75 centavos, while one estimate has the average daily wage in manufacturing at about 0.31 centavos per day (for beer prices, see Sutton, “Malt and Beer” and attached reports; and for wages, see Rosenzweig, Fernando, “La industria” in Villegas, Daniel Cosío, ed., Historia moderna de México: El Porfiriato: La vida económica [Mexico City, 1965], 411).Google Scholar By 1900, domestic beer sold for about 0.12 to 0.25 centavos per bottle, while manufacturing wages had risen modestly. For a comparison with the price of a glass of pulque, see Sutton, “Malt and Beer,” 331, 336; and Cruz, Mario Barbosa, “Controlar y resistir: Consumo de pulque en la ciudad de México, 1900–1920” (unpublished ms., 2004), 24.Google Scholar

26 Each of these new breweries was begun with the advice and expertise of foreign brewers, usually from the United States or Germany. Some were founded with foreign capital (like the breweries in Toluca and Orizaba), and some with Mexican capital (like the Cervecería Chihuahua and the Cervecería Cuauhtémoc in Monterrey–the largest and most successful of the group). There has not yet been a substantial history of Mexico's early brewing history. On beer tariffs, see Beatty, Institutions, ch. 3.

27 Beer was distributed in bottles and barrels by both foreign and domestic brewers. Before the increase in domestic production, 85 percent to 90 percent of all imports came in bottles; see Sutton, “Malt and Beer,” 330, and Colegio de México, Estadísticas Económicas, 206–8. Sutton notes that consumers' preference for bottles meant that it was “more difficult to sell a glass at 15 cents than a pint bottle for 31 cents.” By 1905, the percent imported in barrels had increased substantially, because domestic sales in bottles had largely replaced bottled imports.

28 See the applications of Thomas y Compañía and from Carlos Banoni to the Ministry of Development for tax exemptions; papers in Mexico's National Archive, Ramo Industrias Nuevas, box 53, folder 6, and box 35, folder 4. In addition, there were well over two hundred patents taken in Mexico for objects and processes related to glass bottles during this period; see patent database, 1850–1911, compiled by the author.

29 Canales, Isidro Vizcaya, Los orígenes de la industrializatión de Monterrey (Monterrey, 2001), 89.Google Scholar

30 Quoted in Mora-Torres, Mexican Border, 242.

31 For a full discussion of the tariff issue, see Beatty, Institutions, 63–66. New data on bottle prices and tariff rates for this paper are taken from Romero, Report of Finance, 132–33; United States, Census Reports (Washington, D.C., 1900, 1905, 1910)Google Scholar; Scoville, Revolution, 230, 250; and Mexico, Ministerio de Hacienda, Boletín del Ministerio de Hacienda (Mexico, various years).

32 Fernández, El Vidrio, and Cervantes, Gonzalo López, “Notas para el estudio del vidrio en la nueva españa,” in Cuadernos de Trabajo No. 19, Institute Nacional de Antropologia e Historia, Departamento de Prehistoria (1979).Google Scholar

33 The larger breweries (Cuauhtémoc, Toluca y México, Moctezuma, and Sonora) all opened multiple sales agencies in the country's largest markets; see Pagés, Gustavo Adolfo Barrera, “Industrialización y revolución: El desempeño de la cervecería Toluca y México, S.A. (1875–1926)” (ITAM, 1999), 3, 12Google Scholar; Gil, Juan Manuel Romero, “Las Bebidas espirituosas en Sonora: Notas sobre su producción y consumo, 1850–1920,” (unpublished ms., 2004), 16Google Scholar; Mora-Torres, Juan, The Making of the Mexican Border (Austin,2001), 242Google Scholar; Haber, Industry, 52–53; and Hamilton, Nora, The Limits of State Autonomy: Post-Revolutionary Mexico (Princeton, 1982), 310–11.Google Scholar

34 Haber, Industry, 52–55; Vizcaya Canales, Orígenes, 76–77.

35 Terrazas, Juan reported to Brittingham, in March, 1905, that Garza and the directors of the Cervecera Cuauhtémoc had been “paying close attention” to the Owens machine for nearly a year; AHJB 20–0096.Google Scholar

36 On Garza and Mendirichaga's trip, see Brittingham to Belden, 28 June 1905, AHJB 19A-401; for the contract, see TGC box 2, record book #3, 29; box 6, record book #13,13 June 1905.

37 After Brittingham established himself in Mexico, he went exclusively by “Juan” in all correspondence, whether writing in English or Spanish. Brittingham was no foreign investor, but an emigrant, never naturalized, who had no intention of returning to the United States. Although he sent his children to high school and college in New England, they too pursued professional opportunities in Mexico. Only the violence of the 1910 revolution drove Brittingham temporarily back to the United States, after which he returned to Gómez Palacio and eventually Mexico City, before dying in Los Angeles in 1940. For a biographical account, see Barragán and Cerutti, Juan Brittingham.

38 Creel to Brittingham, AHJB 02–0518 and 0519. Also Creel to Brittingham, 15 Nov. 1904 and 6 Mar. 1905, AHJB 020221, 0222.Google Scholar

39 For examples of this kind of activity, see AHJB 19-B140, 0020123, 0020190, 0020272, 0020562, and 0021206 and AHJB 0024505 and 0024–148.

40 Quotations on the St. Louis Exposition from Brittingham to Terrazas, 7 Nov. 1904, and to Creel, 16 Nov. 1904, AHJB 0017428, 0017507.

41 Terrazas to Brittingham, 9 and 17 Mar. 1905, AHJB 200096, 06–0083.Google Scholar

42 Terrazas to Brittingham, 17 Mar. 1905, AHJB 060083.Google Scholar

43 Fairfield, Fire and Sand, ch. 6; Scoville, Revolution, 288–54.

44 These include only the inquiries mentioned in their correspondence with Brittingham: from a MrPedrazo, (Aug. 1905, AHJB 20–0138)Google Scholar; from a Bolton, J. A. of Montclair, New Jersey (Nov. 1905, AHJB 20–0107)Google Scholar; from Ditheridge, George W. (Nov. 1906, AHJB 20–0109)Google Scholar; from a DrCorkrell, of Mexico City, with a letter from Pittsburgh (Apr. 1907, AHJB 20–0049)Google Scholar; and from Heye, Hermann of Germany, a principal in the ownership of the Owens European rights (Apr. 1908, AHJB 63-A126).Google Scholar

45 Terrazas to Brittingham, 9 Mar. 1905, AHJB 200096.Google Scholar

46 Brittingham to Creel, 27 May 1905, AHJB 19A274.Google Scholar

47 See Beatty, Institutions, ch. 4, for a more detailed discussion.

48 All prices cited in this paper will specify either dollars or pesos; the ratio between the two during this period was roughly 1:2.

49 Contract of incorporation (copy), 1905, AHJB 200153.Google Scholar The company's capital was set at 400,000 pesos, divided equally among the four investors. Brittingham and Terrazas were joined by Francisco Belden, a friend and Monterrey businessman, and by Arthur Fowle. Each man contributed one-fourth of each installment.

50 Contract with option of 13 June 1905, AHJB 20–0020, 0021. See also TGC, box 6, record book #13,13 June 1905.

51 See, for instance, the cost estimates in Walbridge to Roever, 14 Feb. 1907, AHJB 20–0064. Ultimately, the company that established the first mechanized bottle plant in Mexico was capitalized at $1.2 million and spent over $230,000 on construction costs; Barragán and Cerutti, Juan Brittingham, 172.

52 See, for instance, Brittingham to Walbridge, 7 July 1906, AHJB 022229.

53 Whether Chihuahua's annual demand for bottles matched the output of one Owens machine (1905 model) is unclear from the data; it is clear that the Cuauhtémoc's production of nearly nine million liters per year was more than sufficient; compare Mexico, Secretaría de Fomento, Colonización e Industria, Anuario estadística de la República Mexicana … 1899 (Mexico, 1900), 7071Google Scholar, with Haber, Industry, 53. The central Mexican market could even more easily support the Owens output; see Barrera, “Industrialization,” table 3.8.

54 Brittingham to the Toledo Glass Company, 31 Aug. 1905, AHJB 19B–217.Google Scholar

55 Brittingham to Terrazas, 3 Aug. 1905, AHJB 19–B028. Both breweries in central Mexico showed interest in making a deal for use of the Owens machines; the Toluca Company was particularly aggressive in pursuing Brittingham over the next several years. See Walbridge to Brittingham, 31 Aug. 1905, AHJB 20–0138, and Brittingham to Walbridge, 6 Sept. 1905, AHJB 19–B278; and regarding Limantour, Julio, see Brittingham to Terrazas, 6 Dec. 1905, AHJB 0020218.Google Scholar

56 See, for instance, Walbridge to Brittingham, 31 Aug. 1905, AHJB 20–0138.

57 Bolton to Brittingham, 9 Nov. 1905, AHJB 20–0107.

58 Walbridge to Brittingham, 29 Sept. 1905, AHJB 20–0130.

59 Brittingham to Belden, 13 Nov. 1905, AHJB 0020071; also Brittingham to Terrazas, 24 Aug. 1905, AHJB 19–B162; Walbridge to Brittingham, 18 Sept. 1905, AHJB 20–0131.

60 Brittingham to Terrazas, 6 Dec. 1905, AHJB 0020071; also Brittingham to Belden, 22 Dec. 1905, AHJB 63-A004.

61 The negotiations were conducted primarily between Francisco Belden–a prominent Monterrey businessman and the Brittingham group's link to the financial and industrial interests in that city–and Isaac Garza and Tomás Mendirichaga. See Brittingham to Belden, 22 Dec. 1905, 16 Feb. 1906, and 8 Mar. 1906 in AHJB 63-A004, 63-A012, and 0021164, respectively.

62 Brittingham to Walbridge, 22 Dec. 1905, AHJB 63-A002.

63 Brittingham to Belden, 22 Dec. 1905, AHJB 63-A004.

64 Brittingham to Terrazas, 17 July 1905, AHJB 19-A574.

65 Brittingham to Belden, 22 Dec. 1905, AHJB 63-A004; Brittingham to Walbridge, 4 Jan. 1906, AHJB 63-A007; Brittingham to Belden, 11 June 1906, AHJB 0022077.

66 Brittingham to Belden, 9 Mar. 1906, AHJB 63-A016.

67 Brittingham to Walbridge, 22 Dec. 1905, AHJB 63-A002, 4 Jan. 1906, AHJB 63-A007 and 9 Mar. 1906, AHJB 63-A013. Brittingham offered a royalty of fifty cents gold per gross to both the American Bottle Company and the Cervecera Toluca y México, plus the machinery itself at cost (roughly 8,000 dollars). See Brittingham to Terrazas, 12 Sept. 1906, AHJB 022602.

68 Walbridge to Brittingham, 22 Sept. 1906, AHJB 20–0115.

69 Brittingham to Walbridge, 9 Mar. 1906, AHJB 63-A013. Brittingham believed that the American Company would be more successful in reaching a deal to license the patents to the Monterrey group, given the American Company's ability to credibly threaten import supplies.

70 Brittingham to Belden, 9 June 1906 and Walbridge to Brittingham, 2 July 1906 in AHJB, 63-A027 and 20–0119, respectively. The negotiations with the American Bottle Company had yielded a contract option for the Owens license. The option was signed in Aug. 1906, but expired in September without any payments from the American company. It is unclear whether this was the result of disagreements over royalty levels or derived from the general disinterest in the American company. See Brittingham to Walbridge, 7 July 1906, AHJB 0022229; Brittingham to Terrazas, 19 Sept. 1906, AHJB 0022602; Brittingham to Walbridge, 14 Sept. 1906, AHJB 0022634.

71 It is not clear whom Negovetich and Roever represented. Their stated goal was to establish a large-scale modern bottle factory in Mexico City, perhaps with secondary plants in Chihuahua. They referred generally to their financial backers “back east,” and some of their letters were postmarked in Providence and New York City. Roever claimed close ties with European glass producers, and both men were socially connected to Mexico City's American community. See the Mexican Herald, 28 May 1905 and 19 Aug. 1910.Google Scholar Negovetich had first contacted the Toledo Glass Company in September 1905. Walbridge identified him to Brittingham as “of the British Club” and reported that he wanted to open a bottle factory in Toluca with a capacity of 100,000 gross per year. Brittingham, in turn, assumed that Negovetich represented the Cervecería Toluca y México. There was no further contact until February 1907.

72 Negovetich to Mills, 6 Feb. 1907, AHJB 200063Google Scholar; Walbridge to Roever, 14 Feb. 1907, AHJB 20–0064; Brittingham to Walbridge, 19 Feb. 1907, AHJB 63-A055 and 23 Feb. 1907, AHJB 63-A057.

73 A large percentage of Mexico's bottle imports came from Germany, and that country's relatively cheaper labor costs (compared to the United States) meant that high royalties in Mexico would leave its industry uncompetitive with German products; Walbridge to Brittingham, 28 Mar. 1907. Royalties to licensees in the United States were initially set as a percentage (e.g., 50 percent) of the reduction in labor costs made possible by the Owens machine; Scoville, Revolution, 107.

74 Brittingham to Walbridge, 23 Feb. 1907, AHJB 63-A057; Walbridge to Brittingham, 6 Mar. 1907, AHJB 20–0055 and 18 Mar. 1907, AHJB 20–0058.

75 Brittingham to Walbridge, 28 Mar. 1907, AHJB 63-A062.

76 Negovetich to Toledo Glass, 12 Aug. 1907, AHJB 20–0020; Geddes to Brittingham, 13 Aug. 1907, AHJB 20–0011 and 14 Aug. 1907, AHJB 20–0008; Negovetich to Geddes, 14 Aug. 1907, AHJB 20–0010; Negovetich to Geddes, 15 Aug. 1907, AHJB 20–0089 and 16 Aug. 1907, AHJB 20–0093. See also Roever to Brittingham, 5 Sept. 1907, AHJB 20–0078 and 17 Sept. 1907, AHJB 20–0079 and 15 Oct. 1907, AHJB 20–0083. See also Brittingham to Roever, 19 Sept. 1907, AHJB 63-A099 and 18 Oct. 1907, AHJB 63-A110.

77 Ideally, Brittingham's group would have liked to license the Owens technology to multiple bottle-producing firms in Mexico, collecting royalties from each. None, however, proved willing to consider anything except an exclusive license agreement, yet another sign that only the assurance of a monopoly position was sufficient to overcome doubts about profitable production.

78 See Terrazas to Brittingham, l Aug. 1905, AHJB 06–0100,5 Mar. 1906, AHJB 06–0129; Brittingham to Terrazas, 16 Mar. 1906, AHJB 0021204; Brittingham to Walbridge, 7 July 1906, AHJB 0022229. Fowle eventually sold his interest in La Owens de México in order to return to the United States, where he took a management position with Toledo Glass.

79 Brittingham to Walbridge, 14 Sept. 1906, AHJB 022634.

80 Brittingham to Belden, 28 Mar. 1906, AHJB 63A-021 and to Terrazas, 28 Mar. 1906, AHJB 63A-023. On glass production, see, Davis, American Glass, 41–42; Scoville, Revolution, 14–17, 39–40.

81 Brittingham to Walbridge, 12 Oct. 1906, AHJB 63A-038.

82 Brittingham to Belden, 31 July 1905, AHJB 19-B003. Indeed, he eventually heard reports that the earlier failure of the old Monterrey glass factory was due not to labor problems, as had been widely reported, but instead to its failure to secure an adequate supply of the raw material.

83 Brittingham to Lawton, 8 Nov. 1906, AHJB 63-A040. Brittingham received more favorable, yet still overly optimistic, reports of Chihuahua River sand from George Dithridge, recommended by Toledo, see TGC, box 2, record book #1, p. 131. See also Dithridge to Brittingham, 25 Jan. 1907, AHJB 20–0061. On white sand in Michoacán, see Brittingham to Dithridge, 21 Jan. 1907, AHJB 63A-050.

84 Brittingham to Walbridge, 24 Mar. 1909, AHJB 63A-196.

85 Dithridge to Brittingham, 18 Jan. 1907, AHJB 20–0067.

86 Dithridge to Brittingham, 21 Feb. 1907, AHJB 20–0060; also Agusto Genin to Brittingham, 1 Sept. 1906, AHJB 20–0103.

87 Lamoreaux, Naomi R. and Sokoloff, Kenneth L., “Inventive Activity and the Market for Technology in the United States, 1840–1920,” in NBER Working Paper #7107 (Cambridge, Mass., 1999), 46; Scoville, Revolution, 88–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

88 Limantour to Brittingham, 18 Nov. 1908, AHJB 06–0013. Dithridge spoke of the “sparseness of timber in the Mexican forests of the north”; see his letter to Brittingham on 15 Dec. 1906, AHJB 20–0070. In 1902, the commercial weekly El Economista Mexicano had listed fuel costs as the fourth most important economic problem facing Mexico, after the monetary system, irrigation, and immigration (6 Dec. 1902, p. 200); see also Mora-Torres, Mexican Border, 236.

89 On the fuel question, see Dithridge to Brittingham, 18 Jan. 1907, AHJB 20–0067.

90 Brittingham to Garza, 17 Mar. 1909, AHJB 63A-193.

91 Dithridge to Brittingham, 15 Dec. 1906, AHJB 20–0072; 18 Jan. 1907, AHJB 20–0067; and 21 Feb. 1907, AHJB 20–0060.

92 For the appeals to Limantour and Díaz, see Limantour to Brittingham, 18 Nov. 1908, AHJB 06–0013; Brittingham to Garza, 4 May 1909, AHJB 63A-204. See also Travis to Brittingham, 4 Aug. 1907, AHJB 20–0023 and Dithridge to Brittingham, 21 Feb. 1907, AHJB 20–0060. Transport costs, and thus locational decisions, were more critical for fuel than for raw materials, because the latter had to be shipped both to the factory and away from it (embodied in the final product), whereas fuels–consumed in the production process–paid transport only to the factory; Scoville, Revolution, 41.

93 Correspondence with C. B. Cleveland of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad, 5 Nov. 1906, AHJB 20–0110; and with H. Lawton of the Ferrocarril Central Mexicano, 1 Dec. 1906, AHJB 20–0097. For reaction to “absurdly high” rates, see, for instance, Dithridge to Brittingham, 25 Jan. 1907, AHJB 20–0061.

94 Brittingham to Garza, 4 May 1909, AHJB 63A-204.

95 See Dithridge to Brittingham, 15 Dec. 1906, AHJB 20–0072 and 25 Jan. 1907, AHJB 20–0061.

96 Brittingham to Walbridge, 17 Mar. 1908, AHJB 63A-118. William Walbridge at Toledo Glass had suggested this possibility (modeled on their deal with the American Bottle Company). This was not an unfamiliar tactic for Brittingham, one that he also pursued with the Laguna region's cotton planters; see Haber, Industry, 88–89.

97 Brittingham to Garza, 25 Mar. 1908, AHJB 63A-122.

98 Brittingham to Walbridge, 8 Nov. 1908, AHJB 63A-127.

99 These included a valuation of the existing buildings and equipment of the old glass factory owned by the Cuauhtémoc investors. See, for instance, Brittingham to Walbridge, 8 Apr. 1909, AHJB 63A-199; Garza to Brittingham, 13 May 1909, AHJB 09–0321; Arbuckle Ryan Company to Brittingham, 4 Aug. 1909, AHJB 09–0336.

100 Both were valued at 200,000 dollars. See the valuations made by Brittingham in a letter to Isaac Garza, 20 Apr. 1909, AHJB 63A-212, although there would be some conflict over this issue, leading to the delay in the constitution of the new company until early October, 1909. The board of directors for the new company included Juan Brittingham, Isaac Garza, Juan Terrazas, Mariano Hernández, Francisco Garza, Manuel Cantú Treviño, José Belden, and Roberto G. Sada, among others. Barragán and Cerutti, Juan Brittingham; see also TGC, box 6, record book #30, 20 Jan. and 23 Feb. 1909.

101 Brittingham to Walbridge, 8 Nov. 1908, AHJB 63A-127.

102 Brittingham to José Yves Limantour, 22 Dec. 1909, AHJB 0033127; Brittingham to Walbridge, 27 Dec. 1909, AHJB 0033155; Brittingham to Creel, 15 Feb. 1910, AHJB 0033592.

103 Brittingham to Garza, 17 Mar. 1909, AHJB 63A-193. For more on the high price of imported coal to produce gas, see, for instance, Brittingham to Niggli, 24 Apr. 1909, AHJB SN07–414; also 4 May 1909 in AHJB, 63-A193 and 63-A204.

104 Brittingham to Garza, 20 May 1909 and 21 July 1909 in AHJB 63-A212 and 63-A216.

105 Garza to Brittingham, 7 Aug. 1909, AHJB 09–0232.

106 Limantour to Brittingham, 18 Nov. 1908, AHJB 06–0013.

107 Travis to Brittingham, 4 Aug. 1907, AHJB 20–0023 and Dithridge to Brittingham, 21 Feb. 1907, AHJB 20–0060.

108 Limantour to Brittingham, 18 Nov. 1908, AHJB 06–0013.

109 For example, see Brittingham to Walbridge, 9 Mar. 1909; Brittingham to Overa, 19 Mar. 1909; and Brittingham to Kemff, 20 Feb. 1909 in AHJB 63-A191, 63-A195, and 63-A172, respectively. One typical inquiry began, “The writer is a clean cut young business man of thirty with five years banking and eight years practical experience with the above concern [the Mannington Glass Works Company].” See Layton to Terrazas, 30 Nov. 1908, AHJB 20–0101.

110 Mora-Torres, Mexican Border, 250; Snodgrass, Deference, 63.

111 Walbridge to Brittingham, 8 Nov. 1910, AHJB 09–0240.

112 Ibid.

113 TGC, box 2, record book #3, p. 68; also the memo of 10 Nov. 1910 in AHJB 09–0276.

114 Walbridge to Vidriera Monterrey, 11 Nov. 1910, AHJB 09–0239. On these and related issues, see Walbridge to Brittingham, 22 June 1907, AHJB 20–0040; Toledo Glass to Brittingham, 5 Dec. 1910, AHJB 09–0290; Livaudais to Brittingham, 28 Mar. 1911 and 19 Apr. 1911 in AHJB 09–0372 and 09–0370; Roberto Sada to Brittingham, 27 Oct. 1911, AHJB 09–0347.

115 Mariano Hernández to Brittingham, 11 Nov. 1910, AHJB 09–0273.

116 See Mariano Hernández to Brittingham, 5 Nov. 1910, AHJB 09–0272, also Barragan and Cerutti, Brittingham, 175.

117 Hibino, “Cervecería Cuauhtémoc,” 33–34. On effects of the revolution, see Barragán and Cerutti, Juan Brittingham, 175–76.

118 For 1923 production figures, see the annual report of Roberto Garza Sada, manager of the factory, 31 Dec. 1923, AHJB 09–0149. For 1924 production figures, see the Dunn & Company report of 30 July 1924 in AHJB 09–0148. For comparative numbers, see Mora Torres, Mexican Border, 250, and Fairneld, Fire and Sand, 53. Despite rapid production increases, the plant continually ran below capacity through its first decade or so, largely due to wartime disruptions, not insufficient national demand.

119 Barragan and Cerutti, Juan Brittingham, 184; Hibino, “Cervecería Cuauhtémoc.”

120 Brown and Rose, Entrepreneurship, 3.

121 Mora-Torres, Mexican Border, 249–52; Hibino, ‘Cervecería Cuauhtémoc.” See also Dithridge to Brittingham and Terrazas, 15 Nov. 1906, AHJB 20–0073. On Monterrey's industrial development, see Cerutti, Mario, Burguesía, capitales e industria en el norte de México, Monterrey y su ámbito reigonal (1850–1910) (Mexico, 1992)Google Scholar; Saragoza, Alexander, The Monterrey Elite and the Mexican State, 1880–1940 (Austin, 1988)Google Scholar; Snodgrass, Michael, Deference and Defiance in Monterrey (Cambridge, U.K., 2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Galvarriato, Aurora Gómez, “El primer impulso industrializador de México: El caso de Fundidora Monterrey” (ITAM, 1990)Google Scholar; and Vizcaya Canales, Los Origines.