An Owens Corning display from the 1939 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.
THE BLADE/AMY E. VOIGT
Oct. 31, 1938: Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp. is formed, born out of the work Owens-Illinois and Corning Glass Works had been doing for several years. The new company’s products included fiber-glass filters for forced-air furnaces; residential, industrial, marine, and appliance insulations; electrical wire and cable insulations, battery separator mat; and continuous fiber yarns and reinforcements.
November, 1938: The formation of Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp. is announced. Harold Boeschenstein, formerly O-I’s vice president and general sales manager, is named president and general manager.
November, 1938: Production of glass marbles, replacing cullet, begins and improves the reliability of the continuous forming process. The design of the marble-making machines is adapted from those making glass spheres used to play “marbles.”
December, 1938: Owens-Corning sales for 1938 total $2.6 million; employment is 632.
March, 1939: Owens-Corning has an attention-catching display at the World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, N.Y. Staple and continuous yarns are manufactured on site and fiber-glass samples and booklets are given to visitors. The operation even runs at a profit.
June, 1939: The U.S. Navy Bureau of Ships makes Owens-Corning insulation the standard for all horizontal and vertical spaces in new warship construction.
December, 1939: Owens-Corning ends the decade by reporting a net loss of $11,555 on sales of $3.8 million while employing 1,080 people.
1941-45: Throughout World War II, Owens-Corning runs at capacity. The principle product is Navy Board, a permanent form-board insulation covered with woven continuous fiber cloth used to insulate warships. More than 22 million square feet of Navy Board is made in 1942 alone.
November, 1943: Owens-Corning’s highest wartime employment is 6,390 people.
September, 1944: The first prototype boat hull made from fiber glass-reinforced plastic is completed.
February, 1946: The first fiberglas reinforced plastic FRP fishing rods, serving trays, and pleasure boats are marketed.
July, 1952: Owens-Corning stock is publicly offered on the New York Stock Exchange: One-third public ownership; one-third by Owens-Illinois, and one-third by Corning Glass. Over the succeeding years, both Owens-Illinois and Corning Glass gradually sell their shares.
June, 1955: Owens-Corning Perma-Ply roofing material is introduced for built-up roof (BUR) insulation covering.
August, 1955: The former H. C. Penney farm near Granville, Ohio, is purchased as a future site for a research and testing facility.
December, 1956: Number 11 experimental machine in Newark, Ohio, makes the first AF (all fiber) fiber-glass wool, using a new fiberizer design. The term “all fiber” is used to signify the near total absence of shot in wool made by this improved fiberizer design. The sales department requests some method of distinguishing the new AF insulation from the standard PF product. In response, red dye is added to the AF wool binder, thus dyeing the insulation pink.
November, 1957: The “Comfort Conditioned Home” program is launched to promote residential insulation sales.
December, 1957: Harold Boeschenstein is selected by Forbes magazine as one of its “Fifty Foremost Business Leaders.”
April, 1961: Owens-Corning develops the filament winding process for the manufacture of ballistic missile nose cones and rocket engine cases, thrust chambers, and nozzles.
June, 1963: Beta yarn is first made; NASA spacesuits are an early application.
January, 1964: Structures made with Owens-Corning Fiberglas-reinforced plastics dominate the 200 pavilions of the New York World’s Fair.
October, 1964: The first application of computer control of glass melting furnaces (or any other manufacturing process) is successful at Newark using an IBM 1710 computer.
March, 1965: Owens-Corning Fiberglas Europe, S.A. is formed.
January, 1966: Armstrong Rubber Co. introduces an Owens-Corning Fiberglas-reinforced automobile tire following a joint development project.
March, 1966: Owens-Corning opens its first European textile plant at Battice, Belgium.
July, 1969: Owens-Corning personnel begin moving into the Fiberglas Tower, a new headquarters building in Toledo. The Fiberglas Tower is the first high-rise building to use the open-office concept.
April, 1971: Harold Boeschenstein retires from Owens-Corning.
December, 1971: Owens-Corning sales surpass $500 million for the first time.
June, 1974: Owens-Corning opens a temporary plant in Tukwila, Wash., to produce insulation for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline.
June, 1975: The Pontiac (Mich.) Silverdome opens with a 10-acre Fiberglas fabric roof.
December, 1976: Owens-Corning sales exceed $1 billion for the first time.
December, 1979: Owens-Corning sales surpass the $2 billion mark.
August, 1980: Owens-Corning started using United Artists’ cartoon character the “Pink Panther” to help promote sales of PINK Fiberglas insulation.
August, 1986: Wickes Cos. Inc. presents an unsolicited offer to purchase Owens-Corning at $74 per share; the company’s board of directors rejects the offer.
November, 1986: Owens-Corning stockholders formally approve a restructuring and recapitalization plan that focuses on the company’s core businesses. The plan was designed to give shareholders value superior to the Wickes offer. The approval defeats the Wickes raid and preserves Owens-Corning’s independence.
May, 1987: The color PINK is registered as an Owens-Corning trademark for insulation. The company thus becomes the first to trademark a color.
December, 1989: Owens-Corning ends the decade with sales of $3 billion; debt is reduced to $1.5 billion; employment is 18,300.
January, 1994: Owens-Coming announces the selection of a site in downtown Toledo for its new world headquarters.
January, 1996: The company’s name is changed to Owens Corning, with no hyphen and no modifier such as company or corporation. The move is made to signal the company’s shift to supply more than glass fiber materials.
June, 1996: Owens Corning pays its first dividend since recapitalizing in 1986.
September, 1996: Owens Corning begins moving into new world headquarters along the Maumee River in Toledo.
May, 1997: Owens Corning and Fibreboard Corp. announces an agreement for Owens Corning to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Fibreboard Corp. for $55 a share. Fibreboard becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of Owens Corning.
December, 1998: The company announces a National Settlement Program under which more than 50 plaintiffs’ law firms have agreed to resolve more than 176,000 asbestos cases against the company. The program settles close to 90 percent of the company’s existing backlog and establishes procedures and fixed payments for resolving future claims without litigation, for a term of at least 10 years.
October, 2000: To address growing demands on its cash flow resulting from a multibillion dollar asbestos liability, the company voluntarily files for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
January, 2002: Owens Corning breaks ground for an Automotive Solutions Center in Novi, Mich. The site was chosen for its proximity to Detroit-based customers.
July, 2002: Owens Corning introduces a new theme — Innovations for Living — to reflect the essence of the company’s brand.
December, 2002: Advanced Glassfiber Yarns LLC, a joint venture formed in 1998 by Owens Corning and Groupe Porcher Industries, files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
December, 2002: After trading on the New York Stock Exchange for nearly 50 years, Owens Corning shares are removed and begin trading instead on the Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board.
January, 2003: Owens Corning files a plan of reorganization with U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware.
February, 2006: The National Inventors Hall of Fame announces that three Owens Corning pioneers — Dale Kleist, Russell Games Slayter, and John T. “Jack” Thomas — will be inducted posthumously into the Hall of Fame. Collectively, the trio invented the process for making glass fiber insulation in commercial quantities.
May, 2006: Owens Corning announces it has reached an agreement in principle with representatives of each of its key creditor groups on the terms of a Chapter 11 plan of reorganization. This represented a significant milestone in the company’s Chapter 11 proceedings and paved the way for Owens Corning to emerge from bankruptcy in 2006.
October, 2006: Owens Corning emerges from Chapter 11 and begins a new life out from under the cloud of asbestos.
November, 2006: Owens Corning stock begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “OC.”
February, 2007: Owens Corning and Saint-Gobain announce a joint-venture agreement to merge the Owens Corning reinforcements business and the Saint-Gobain reinforcements and composites business (known as Vetrotex) into a new company named OCV Reinforcements.
September, 2011: Owens Corning says it has teamed up with vendor DuPont to create a SAFER (steel and foam energy reduction) barrier around auto racetracks.
September, 2012: For the third consecutive year, Owens Corning earns a place in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index for its sustainability efforts. The DJSI World Index lists the top 10 percent of the world’s 2,500 largest companies based on economic, environmental, and social criteria.
September, 2012: Owens Corning is ranked 165th on a list of the top 500 technology innovators in the United States, according to InformationWeek magazine. Of the manufacturing companies on the list, Owens Corning was ranked ninth.
May, 2013: Owens Corning makes the Fortune 500 list for the 59th consecutive year in 2012. The company has been on the list every year since Fortune started the list.