"Our 75th anniversary provides a great opportunity to celebrate where we've been and who we are as a company, and get excited about our bright future"
Owens Corning began when an experiment with glass building blocks produced an unexpected result – it revealed a way to make glass fibers in commercial quantities.
That discovery launched more than a new product. It set in motion a remarkable series of events that included the birth of an innovative company that would develop new industries related to the production of fiber glass materials.
The first, historic step occurred on Oct. 31, 1938, when Owens-Illinois and Corning Glass officially spun off and incorporated Owens-Corning Fiberglas, based in Toledo, Ohio.
Today, Oct. 31, 2013, Owens Corning celebrates its 75th anniversary. It is one of only a few hundred U.S.-based companies that have reached this milestone.
Owens Corning's world headquarters remains in Toledo, but its operations span the world. It is a leading global producer of residential and commercial building materials, including insulation and roofing shingles; glass-fiber reinforcements for products such as cars, boats, wind blades and smart phones; and engineered materials for composite systems.
"Our 75th anniversary provides a great opportunity to celebrate where we've been and who we are as a company, and get excited about our bright future," said Mike Thaman, chairman and CEO, who joined with fellow employees at the closing bell ceremony of the New York Stock Exchange earlier this week. "What makes our employees most proud is that our products improve people's lives. Homes and buildings are more energy efficient. Cars are lighter and conserve more fuel. Wind blades are longer and stronger. Our commitment to our customers is to enable them to deliver those solutions to worldwide markets."
Among the many milestones of which the company takes very personally is its global commitment to safety. Owens Corning's recordable injury rate has declined every year for 11 years. Over that span, the company has reduced the number of injuries from more than 1,000 to less than 100 per year. The goal is to achieve a zero-injury workplace across its nearly 100 worldwide facilities.
Owens Corning's most recent safety milestone was being named by the National Safety Council as the 2014 recipient for its Green Cross for Safety Medal for its "steadfast commitment to improving safety and health in the workplace and beyond."
"Our safety performance is an important example of how Owens Corning sets a goal and then works tirelessly to achieve it," Thaman said. "We must get our employees home in the same safe and healthy condition in which they arrive at work. Our ability to do that exemplifies how we execute as a company on all levels. We are honored to join a prestigious list of organizations to be honored by the National Safety Council."
Other recent milestones include the company earning placement for the fourth year in a row in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI World). This year, Owens Corning was named the Industry Leader for the DJSI World Building Products component.
"Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the world that we leave to the future is this company's unwavering commitment," Thaman said. "Our people continue to prove that our customers, our communities, our employees and our investors can see significant benefits from that strategy. It will lead us boldly into our next 75 years."
Here is a brief list of milestones in Owens Corning's first 75 years. More information can be found at http://www.oc-75.com
Milestones in Owens Corning's 75 Years
Key milestones in Owens Corning's history include:
Oct. 31, 1938
Incorporates as Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp. in the state of Delaware with Harold Boeschenstein as president and offices in Toledo, Ohio
With basic materials in short supply, Owens Corning develops a lightweight, nonflammable insulation with a finished wall surface, called Navy Board, its main product throughout World War II
First boat hull is made from fiberglass-reinforced plastic; this marine application become one of the largest applications for fiberglass reinforcements
Company works with an automaker to produce the first fiberglass-reinforced plastic car body (General Motors launches Chevrolet Corvette with a fiberglass-reinforced body eight years later)
Owens Corning scientists equip a production line with the first rotary fiberizer to make centrifugally spun fiberglass wool – still the standard process
Owens Corning is listed on the inaugural FORTUNE 500 list
"Comfort Conditioned Home" program is launched, the biggest marketing program to date to promote residential insulation
Owens Corning supplies fiberglass fabric to the Hajj Terminal at King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Saudi Arabia, which consisted of 210 tent-like structures covering nearly 3 million square feet
Energy costs skyrocket due to oil crisis and changes to way people viewed energy use; insulation use starts to climb dramatically
Owens Corning wins contract, which grew to $100 million in sales, to make and install insulation on the Trans-Alaska pipeline
Owens Corning acquires a shingle and asphalt company and immediately starts to convert its plants to make fiberglass reinforced shingles, the industry norm today
Owens Corning begins using United Artists' cartoon character The Pink Panther™ to help sell PINK fiberglass insulation; the company becomes the first to trademark a color, PINK, in 1987
Wickes Companies' hostile takeover attempt is rebuked with the board's alternative plan to maximize shareholder value
Owens Corning files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection due to its growing asbestos liability, which stemmed from a high-temperature calcium silicate pipe insulation trade-named Kaylo, manufactured from 1952 to 1972
Oct. 31, 2006
Owens Corning emerges from Chapter 11 bankruptcy
Acquires Saint-Gobain's Reinforcements and Composite Fabrics business, positioning Owens Corning as a market leader in glass reinforcements and composites
Launches EcoTouch™ insulation with PureFiber™ technology – made of natural materials and a formaldehyde-free formulation; it includes 50 percent recycled content, the highest certified percentage in the fiberglass insulation industry
Owens Corning is named the 2014 recipient for the Green Cross for Safety medal by the National Safety Council
About Owens Corning
Owens Corning (NYSE: OC) is a leading global producer of residential and commercial building materials, glass-fiber reinforcements and engineered materials for composite systems. A Fortune® 500 company for 59 consecutive years, Owens Corning is committed to driving sustainability by delivering solutions, transforming markets and enhancing lives. Celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2013, Owens Corning is a market-leading innovator of glass-fiber technology with sales of $5.2 billion in 2012 and approximately 15,000 employees in 27 countries on five continents. Additional information is available at:www.owenscorning.com.
Owens Corning Media Inquiries: Matt Schroder, 419-248-8987