Timeline of Corning Innovation

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100+ Years of Corning Innovations for Forward-Moving Industries

100+ Years of Corning Innovations for Forward-Moving Industries

For more than 165 years, Corning has applied its unparalleled expertise in glass science, ceramic science, and optical physics, along with its deep manufacturing and engineering capabilities, to develop products that transform industries and enhance people’s lives. Since the late 1800s, Corning has contributed to the safety and propulsion of the transportation industry, from inventing a revolutionary railroad safety lens in 1877 to supplying heat-resistant safety windows for the first American-manned spacecraft in 1961. Over the last century, Corning has achieved many milestones and advancements for the automotive industry in safety glass and emissions-control solutions. Today, Corning continues to innovate with exciting advancements in sophisticated cover glass solutions for next-generation automobiles.

  • 1877 — Improving railroad safety
    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.
  • 1917 — A new standard for headlights
    Corning begins selling Conaphore, a glass that set a new standard for automotive headlight applications. Conaphore directs the rays of light from the bulb and reflector to omit glare while enabling a lower, long-range beam with ample side light that can shine effectively through fog and dust.
  • 1930s — Broader headlight beams
    Corning scientist Henry Phelps Gage develops glass for headlights that enables broader beams to better illuminate roadways as well as shoulders and ditches.
  • 1935 — Sealing the deal
    Gage continues with automotive inventions by sealing the glass cover to the headlight fixture, making the entire headlight assembly weatherproof and more rugged for highway travel.
  • 1943 — Welcome Dow Chemical
    A joint venture forms between Dow Chemical and Corning Glass Works. Dow Corning would go on to create a compound used as a spark plug sealant and mold release products first used by the tire industry.
  • 1957 — Meeting the demand for more headlights
    The auto industry is set to change its requirements from two-headlight automobiles to four-headlight automobiles in 1958, and Corning is ready to meet the anticipated demand for sealed beam lenses. Corning opens a new 265,000 square-foot plant in Greenville, Ohio, with automatic machinery to manufacture the glass parts.
  • 1960s — Introducing automotive safety glass
    Corning uses Chemcor, a new chemically strengthened glass, for automotive safety glass applications. Replacing a ply of standard soda-lime glass with Chemcor in a safety windshield laminate allows the window to survive high strain and break into small cube-like fragments rather than the shards typical of conventional windshields.
  • 1961 — Corning goes to space
    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.
  • 1967 — Taking the checkered flag
    Ford’s winning vehicle in the Le Mans features a Corning Chemcor windshield. Corning shelves the Chemcor windshield project shortly thereafter as float glass becomes prominent in the industry.
  • 1972 — The heart of the catalytic converter
    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.
  • 1975 — Passing the 3 million mark
    Corning Environmental Technologies hits a milestone with more than 3 million new vehicles in the United States featuring Corning’s cellular ceramic substrates.
  • 1991 — Thin wall products address emissions
    Thin-wall products by Corning improve emissions performance and expand design options for advanced emissions-control systems.
  • 1998 — Thin wall gets ultra-thin
    From thin to thinner, ultrathin-wall options by Corning enable very high-performance emissions systems that meet increasingly stringent regulations.
  • 2003 — Innovation awarded
    Dr. Rodney Bagley, Dr. Irwin Lachman, and Ronald Lewis are awarded the U.S. National Medal of Technology for inventing the cellular ceramic substrate.
  • 2005 — A boost for diesel passenger cars
    Corning introduces Corning® DuraTrap® particulate filters for diesel passenger cars, which help enable the most efficient use of fuel and horsepower.
  • 2015 — Introducing Gorilla Glass for Automotive
    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. The Ford GT supercar becomes the first production vehicle to use Corning Gorilla Glass for Automotive in a windshield.
    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.
  • 2016 — Continued reduction of harmful emissions
    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 — The “Connected Car” unveiled at CES
    Corning’s “Connected Car” wows at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show® as it showcases Corning Gorilla Glass for Automotive Interiors and Exteriors. With a pillar-to-pillar dashboard display, sleek glass-covered center console, and thin, vibrant windows, the car provides a sneak peek at futuristic trends within the auto industry.
    Corning Environmental Technologies announces its investment in a production facility in Hefei, China, to produce substrates and particulate filters for emissions control with initial focus on its gasoline particulate filter product line.
  • 2018 — Replacement windshields
    Working with Mopar, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ parts and service provider, Corning introduces the Mopar® Windshield made with Corning Gorilla Glass, an after-market replacement windshield for the bold and rugged. Compatible with the Jeep Wrangler, this windshield is tougher than conventional windshields and even features the Gorilla Glass brand in the lower left corner.
    Corning announces its investment in a facility in Hefei, China, to produce Corning Gorilla Glass for Automotive Interiors. The facility, expected to be fully operational in 2019, helps Corning bring on new capacity quickly and efficiency to continue advancing its Automotive Glass Solutions business.
  • 2019 — The first cover glass designed specifically for automobiles
    Answering the call for more design freedom and interactivity, Corning introduces the industry’s first cover glass engineered specifically for automotive applications at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show. Corning Gorilla Glass for Automotive Interiors allows for wider design windows while meeting industry safety standards and new ways to explore connectivity in auto interiors.