Improving our world through glass and materials science since 1851

Overview

For more than 165 years, Corning has been solving tough problems and improving people’s lives with glass and materials science.

Our innovations have made the air cleaner, helped information travel faster, enabled new discoveries in science and medicine, and transformed the way we interact with our environment … and each other.

Here is our story.

1851

Recognizing the value of glass as a building material, merchant Amory Houghton Sr. opens a small glass company in Somerville, Massachusetts. In a quest to improve access to raw materials and transportation, the company relocates briefly to Brooklyn and then Corning, New York, where it transforms the agricultural town into a center of glass innovation. Known for more than 100 years as Corning Glass Works, the company is ultimately renamed Corning Incorporated to reflect its high-tech focus and global reach.

1877

Standard railroad lenses require ridges to focus the light, but collect grime that dims the signal, resulting in frequent accidents. Corning designs a revolutionary lens with a smooth exterior, earning the company its first patent and ongoing business with the railroads. Corning later improves safety even more with colored lenses that increase visibility and low-expansion glass that resists shattering.

1879

Corning helps make electric light a reality by developing a glass encasement for Thomas Edison’s carbon filament. Corning later invents an economical way to mass-produce the bulbs, making them affordable for the general population.

1915

Dr. Jesse Littleton, a Corning physicist, asks his wife Bessie to bake a cake in a heat-resistant glass jar. The unconventional, yet successful, experiment leads to PYREX® glass, creating a successful line of highly durable cookware and industry-leading laboratory products.

1932

While tinkering in the lab, organic chemist Dr. J. Franklin Hyde develops high-purity fused silica – the foundation for numerous innovations from telescope mirrors to 3D sensing components in mobile phones.

1934

Corning synthesizes the first silicone resins, which have broad applications, including adhesives, sealants, and lubricants. The innovation leads to the 1943 formation of Dow Corning, a joint venture that endures for more than 70 years.

1935

Corning produces a 200-inch mirror blank for the Hale Telescope at Mount Palomar – the world’s largest piece of glass at the time. The innovation helps astronomers determine that the universe is made up of billions of galaxies. Corning later goes on to produce mirrors for the Hubble, Gemini, and Subaru telescopes.

1939

Corning’s 9-inch circular cathode-ray tube is featured at the World’s Fair in New York City as part of RCA’s futuristic demonstration of television. Within the decade, Corning invents a process to mass-produce TV picture tubes, helping to make televisions affordable for millions.

1952

A serendipitous mistake leads Dr. S. Donald Stookey to invent a material that withstands extreme temperature changes and doesn’t break when dropped. The discovery leads to CorningWare® cookware and a new family of materials: glass ceramics.

1961

Corning helps propel the first Americans safely into space by supplying heat-resistant windows for Project Mercury. Corning goes on to create window glass for every manned American spacecraft and the International Space Station.

1964

Corning scientists Stuart Dockerty and Clint Shay develop the fusion overflow process, which produces remarkably flat, pristine glass. This method later becomes the manufacturing process for Corning’s liquid-crystal display (LCD) glasses, Corning® Gorilla® Glass, and other industry-shaping glass innovations.

1970

Telephone systems are strained, and carriers look for ways to increase capacity. Drs. Donald Keck, Robert Mauer, and Peter Schultz develop the first low-loss optical fiber and usher in a communications revolution.

1972

Automakers have a tight deadline to meet tough new regulations established by the 1970 Clean Air Act. Corning scientists Dr. Rodney Bagley, Dr. Irwin Lachman, and Ronald Lewis help them comply by developing a cellular ceramic substrate that forms the heart of the catalytic converter and remains the worldwide standard today.

1982

Research labs working on active matrix LCDs determine that ordinary glass is not precise, stable, or durable enough to handle the complex circuitry. Corning’s fusion process produces glass that exceeds their expectations and eliminates the need for grinding and polishing.

2000

In its quest to continually enhance attributes for display makers, Corning develops an extremely low-density glass composition that takes LCDs to places previously unimagined. Combining exceptionally light weight with high resolution, Corning’s EAGLE Glass product line enables thinner displays and larger sizes, helping drive the proliferation of LCD TVs.

2004

As consumers demand greater speed and connectivity in their home environments, telecom providers need better ways to build access networks. Corning responds with OptiTap® connectors, which make fiber-to-the-home installations faster, easier, and less costly – laying the foundation for the Internet of Things.

2007

Corning scientists develop an industry-changing optical fiber that can bend at 90-degree angles with minimal signal loss. ClearCurve® fiber brings robust, high-speed connections to challenging installation environments, including apartment buildings, data centers, and enterprise networks.

2007

Drug researchers and producers boost their efficiency with Corning’s HYPER technology products. By applying its expertise in surface technology, Corning creates a high-performance, high-yield product to grow large quantities of adherent cells in a small, compact space.

2007

While gearing up for a highly anticipated smartphone launch, a major tech company determines that the existing cover material does not meet its requirements for beauty and durability. Corning answers the call with Corning® Gorilla® Glass, an exceptionally thin, lightweight, and damage-resistant glass that helps mobile devices withstand the rigors of everyday life.

2012

Defying conventional wisdom, Corning develops a glass that’s ultrathin and flexible. Slimmer than a dollar bill, Willow® Glass creates mind-bending possibilities, from conformable displays to glass laminates for interior design to new glass processing techniques such as roll-to-roll manufacturing.

2013

Corning creates the world’s first antimicrobial cover glass. By helping to suppress the growth of stain- and odor-causing bacteria, Antimicrobial Corning® Gorilla® Glass adds value to smartphones and other touch devices, while opening new possibilities for glass surfaces in healthcare, food service, and other microbe-sensitive environments.

2013

Connectivity in dense environments like hotels and convention centers evolves from being an amenity to a necessity. Corning enables multiple in-building wireline, wireless, and cellular services with the Optical Network Evolution, a fiber-based network that delivers future-ready connectivity over a single, simplified infrastructure.

2015

As consumers demand higher levels of style and performance, Corning helps drive innovation in the auto industry. Gorilla Glass for Automotive enables optically advantaged windows, as well as sleek dashboards and consoles with the sophisticated capabilities consumers have come to expect from their smartphones.

2015

Corning continues to help unlock the mysteries of space by supplying critical technology for NASA’s New Horizons mission. Corning’s opto-mechanical assembly houses three high-precision mirrors that help capture the first-ever detailed images of Pluto.

2015

As customers demand slimmer and sleeker edge-lit monitors, Corning develops an alternative to conventional polymer light-guide plates, which are prone to warping and can add bulk. Featuring high transmission and outstanding dimensional stability, Corning Iris™ Glass enables manufacturers to produce bright TVs and monitors as slim as smartphones.

2016

Smartwatches and fitness trackers ignite the tech market, but subject touch surfaces to new levels of daily abuse. Corning steps up with Corning® Gorilla® Glass SR+, featuring exceptional scratch resistance for wearable technologies.

2016

Contemporary gasoline-powered passenger vehicles offer higher standards in engine performance and fuel efficiency, but release particulate matter in their exhaust. Continuing its leadership in clean-air technologies, Corning introduces a range of gasoline particulate filters to reduce these harmful emissions. Corning® DuraTrap® GC filters help automakers meet tighter air-quality standards without compromising performance.

2017

Despite numerous advances in drug formulations and processing, pharmaceutical packaging remains largely unchanged since the late 19th century. Corning responds with a 21st century glass packaging solution for 21st century drugs. Corning Valor® Glass dramatically reduces particle contamination, breaks, and cracks, while significantly increasing throughput. As a result, Valor Glass helps protect patients and improve pharmaceutical manufacturing.

Today

At Corning, we are committed to life-changing innovation.

Our track record is long, but our vision is infinite.

We’ll keep solving tough problems. We’ll keep transforming industries. We’ll keep enhancing people’s lives.

We’ve been at it since 1851 … and we’re just getting started.

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