accidental discovery made by Dale Kleist was the crucial breakthrough
needed for manufacturing insulation-quality glass fibers in commercial
quantities, making the fiberglass used as insulation in buildings,
stoves, refrigerators, and furnaces affordable.
in Newark, Ohio, Kleist studied at The Ohio State University before
working as a researcher at Owens-Illinois Glass Company in 1932.
Teaming with Games Slayter and Jack Thomas to create better glass
technology, Kleist attempted to seal together architectural blocks
by melting and spraying glass. Although Kleist was unsuccessful
sealing the blocks, the errant spray of molten glass inadvertently
formed tiny glass fibers.
helped Kleist refine the technique, known as the steam-blown process.
In 1938 Owens-Illinois and Corning Glass jointly created a new
company, Owens-Corning Fiberglas® Corporation, to make fiberglass
products using the process, as well as other innovations created
by Kleist, Thomas, and Slayter.
Owens Corning is a $5 billion global leader, manufacturing not
just glass fiber insulation but also glass fiber reinforcements
used in sports cars, boats, and bathroom fixtures.
Vinton G. Cerf
Robert E. Kahn
Robert W. Gore
Richard M. Hoe
John H. Thomas