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25 Facts About Corning

Learn about the remarkable glass purity enabled by Corning’s fusion draw process; our critical role in the U.S. space exploration program; how the company is aiding poverty-stricken regions of the world; and more!

Amory Houghton, Jr.

Amory Houghton, Jr., who served as Corning’s Chairman and CEO from 1964 to 1983, went on to serve nine terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he earned a reputation as a moderate and bridge-builder between political parties.

Catalytic Converters

Corning’s ceramic substrates form the heart of catalytic converters, helping reduce exhaust emissions from diesel- and gasoline-powered engines by more than 95%. Corning’s innovative honeycomb design enables a catalyzed substrate the size of a soda can to provide an effective surface area the size of a soccer field.

Glass Christmas Ornaments

When the United States could no longer import Christmas ornaments from Germany during World War II, Corning converted one of its light bulb manufacturing “ribbon machines” to the full-time production of glass ornaments, churning out 300,000 ornaments a day.

Corning Museum of Glass

Corning Incorporated is the largest contributor to the world-renown Corning Museum of Glass, and also houses a collection of contemporary glass sculptures at its Corning, N.Y. headquarters.

Corning® ClearCurve® Optical Fiber

Corning’s ClearCurve optical fiber, which can be handled like copper, is up to 100 times more bendable than standard fiber — so bendable, it can be wound around a pen with minimal signal loss.

Corning Plastics

Although primarily known as the world’s leading maker of specialty glass and ceramics, Corning also manufactures several thousand plastic products — ranging from fiber-cable connectors to highly sophisticated cell-culture microplates.

EAGLE XG® Glass Substrates

Thanks to the leadership of Corning’s environmentally conscious EAGLE XG® glass, between 2009 and 2012, the display industry will avoid  using about 19,000 metric tons of heavy metals — enough hazardous material to fill more than 3,000 dump trucks.

25Things_Earliest_R_and_D_smallEarliest R&D

Corning is home to one of the United States’ earliest R&D facilities. Corning established its science and technology laboratory in 1908, when only a handful of companies were engaged in formal research and development.

Corning, N.Y. Flood

A devastating flood in 1972 submerged some areas of Corning, New York under 18 feet of water and prompted speculation that the Corning Glass Works might need to relocate its headquarters. Instead, the company stayed put and led the community through recovery and restoration, preserving many of the historic buildings that form its thriving Market Street business center today.

Fusion-draw Process

Corning’s proprietary fusion-draw process produces high-tech glass substrates so pristine, a rejectable particle is comparable to a single mustard seed on a football field.

Corning® Gorilla® Glass

When Corning first developed break-resistant glass in 1962, the company had trouble finding an application for it!  Today, Corning’s chemically-strengthened Gorilla Glass — based on that earlier invention — provides impact and scratch resistance for high-end consumer electronic devices and IT applications.

High-Purity Fused Silica

Corning’s willingness to let organic chemist Frank Hyde “tinker” in the labs led to his 1932 discovery of high-purity fused silica — the foundation for numerous Corning innovations from telescope mirrors to optical fiber. Today, Corning is one of the few corporate R&D facilities that continue to engage in exploratory research.

LCD Glass Substrates

Corning makes the world’s largest LCD glass substrates, while maintaining the exceptional thinness required for sophisticated display devices. Each sheet of Corning’s Generation 10 glass measures nearly 100 square feet (approximately the size of a king-sized bed sheet) and only 0.7 mm thick.

Corning Loan Program

Corning’s microfinance loan program has helped hundreds of villagers in remote and impoverished locations in central China establish thriving agricultural businesses, including raising pigs and growing tea and grapes.

Low-loss Optical Fiber

Corning’s invention of the world’s first low-loss optical fiber in 1970 was partly the result of the company’s “contrarian” approach to innovation. Scientists Robert Maurer, Peter Schultz, and Donald Keck rejected the conventional optical glasses being used by other researchers to focus on the possibilities of high-purity fused silica.

Missile Nose Cones

The specialty glass-ceramics material that Corning developed in 1957 and marketed to consumers as Corning Ware® was so durable and heat resistant that it was also used by the U.S. military to make missile nose cones.


Corning “does windows,” but not the kind you’ll find in your home — unless you live in space, that is. Corning supplied the windows for some of the United States’ earliest spacecraft — including the Friendship 7 flown by John Glenn for the first U.S. manned orbital flight — and continues to supply NASA with specially engineered windows designed to withstand the rigors of space conditions.

National Medal of Technology

Corning is a four-time National Medal of Technology winner for the invention of glass-ceramics, photosensitive glass, and photochromic glass (1986); the invention of low-loss optical fiber (2000); the development of high-performance cellular ceramic substrates that enabled the catalytic converter (2005); and general contributions to industry and society through life-changing and life-enhancing inventions (1994).

Corning on the NYSE

Corning’s NYSE ticker symbol GLW comes from “Corning Glass Works,” the name of the company from 1875 to 1989.

Patent Leader

Corning is consistently ranked as one of the world's "most innovative industrial material companies" by the Patent Board. In 2009, Corning continued to lead its global peers in patents for industrial materials.

PYREX® and Corning Ware®

Corning helped bring high technology into American kitchens with the introductions of PYREX in 1915 and Corning Ware in 1959, but sold its consumer products division in 1997 to focus on high-technology applications.

Railroad Lanterns

Among Corning’s first products were ruby-colored glass railroad lanterns that could withstand intense heat inside and extreme cold outside — cutting-edge technology for the mid-1800s.

Corning Recycling

Corning helps its hometown community responsibly recycle electronic goods. An annual recycling event organized by the company and Steuben County has helped divert more than 400,000 pounds of old computers, televisions, and other appliances away from landfills over the past five years.

Thomas Edison

Corning helped a young inventor named Thomas Edison make his electric light a commercial success by producing the first glass light bulbs in 1879. Corning later invented the “ribbon machine” in 1926, which enabled the mass production of light bulbs and continues to be used today for their production.

Corporate Values

A clear set of Corporate Values guides everything Corning
does: Quality, Integrity, Performance, Leadership, Innovation, Independence, and The Individual.

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Posted January 25, 2010