50 Years of Innovation in Europe | Corning

FONTAINEBLEAU, FRANCE - A beautiful late-summer day set the tone for what would become a historical event recognizing Corning’s enduring global presence. Over 150 customers, industry leaders, reporters, Corning business representatives, and company executives gathered on September 11 in Fontainebleau, France to pay tribute to the Corning European Technology Center (CETC) and its 50-years of innovation success.

CETC operates as the gateway for research, development, and engineering activities in Europe. This long-lasting presence in France demonstrates Corning’s commitment to the European region through CETC’s breadth of technical capability and aptitude to deliver innovative solutions. Contributions

In 1968, Amory Houghton Jr., Corning’s CEO, established a technology presence in Europe, initially in collaboration with Saint-Gobain, and then as a fully-owned Corning laboratory in 1973.

In the beginning, the lab focused on a few critical technologies, such as cathode ray tubes for television, photochromic glasses, and Visions® glass-ceramic kitchen ware. Throughout its history, the lab has demonstrated significant value by its unique combination of contributions ranging from inventing new materials and processes to developing new technologies and providing support to European manufacturing facilities.

“Over the years, much of our portfolio has grown and diversified as an integral part of the corporate innovation strategy,” said Daniel Ricoult, director of the Corning European Technology Center. “We are proud of providing support to most existing and emerging Corning businesses, from Specialty Materials to Life Sciences, and from Pharmaceutical Technologies to Automotive Glazing Solutions.”

The 50th anniversary celebration began with a welcome by Daniel, during which, he asked the audience to take a moment and remember those who lost their lives 17-years ago when the World Trade Center in New York City was attacked, and the world was forever changed.

Members of Corning’s management team highlighted work the company is achieving around the world. Jeffrey Evenson, senior vice president and chief strategy officer, provided an overview on Corning and our path forward. David Morse, executive vice president and chief technology officer, shared the company’s strategic approach to innovation while Thomas Appelt, president and general manager of Corning International, outlined the company’s global presence and progress.

“The Corning European Technology Center is our RD&E anchor in Europe,” said David. “CETC is known for the creativity and versatility of its staff, and is a global center of excellence for materials and process technologies for the company.” 

Daniel underscored the contributions of CETC and the role that its many generations of researchers, scientists, and engineers have played in advancing key technologies for the company and region. “CETC plays an integral role in Corning’s global RD&E community,” said Daniel. The work we do here complements the capabilities of our colleagues at Sullivan Park, Decker, and our other research, development, and engineering labs around the world. We support almost every Corning business, product, and technology.”

The event continued with a variety of activities, including the creative artistry of master glassmakers from the Corning Museum of Glass (CMoG), who fascinated the audience with a spectacular Hot Glass Show. All participants to the event were then encouraged to follow a blue line embodying “Corning’s Blue Line of Innovation,” which guided them through the hallways of CETC and to a historical tour through five-decades of next-generation technologies. This innovation journey ended in the repurposed library, where a collection of exhibits assembled by Corning businesses projected an integral view of all Corning’s commercial products. The event concluded with a champagne toast and impressive culinary presentation showcasing European cuisine from Italy, Germany, France, and Scandinavia. 

That evening, CETC staff were honored for their contributions to the facility’s prominent history and role within the company. Following a video message from Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Wendell Weeks, they enjoyed a number of activities, including music and a theatrical show, and of course, French gastronomy during dinner.

“CETC remains committed to strong innovation contributions as Corning embraces a bright future for decades to come,” said Daniel.