John H. Thomas
Born September 19 1907 – Died September 17 1991
Method and Apparatus for Strengthening Fibers; Glass Wool and Method
and Apparatus for Making Same
Patent No. 2,121,802; 2,133,236
Jack Thomas, Dale Kleist, and Games Slayter invented the process for making
glass fiber insulation in commercial quantities.
Fiberglass insulation is used in buildings, stoves, refrigerators, and
furnaces and is used to reinforce plastic materials in
a variety of products, including cars, boats, and bathroom fixtures.
While Kleist was spraying molten glass once for a project, tiny fibers
formed. Thomas immediately realized the process could be used to improve the
production of fiberglass. Thomas refined the process, leading to what is
known as the steam-blowing process, patented by Kleist and Thomas. In 1938,
Owens-Illinois and Corning Glass jointly created a new company,
Owens-Corning Fiberglas® Corporation, to make fiberglass products using the
Kleist-Thomas process, as well as other innovations created by the trio.
Thomas was born in East St. Louis, Illinois. Studying at the University of
Illinois, he earned his B.S. in 1931. Upon
graduating, Thomas was hired by Slayter to research new ways to use glass at
Owens-Illinois Glass Company. Thomas hired
Kleist, a college student, to work on several projects, including
architectural glass blocks and ways to produce glass fiber