Owens Corning is a global company that develops and produces insulation, roofing, and fiberglass composites. It was formed in 1935 as a partnership between two major American glassworks, Corning Glass Works and Owens-Illinois. The company employs approximately 15,000 people around the world. Owens Corning has been a Fortune 500 company every year since the list was created in 1955.
Owens-Corning Fiberglass Company was formed in 1935 through the merger of Owens-Illinois and Corning Glass Works. It became a separate company in 1938 with its headquarters established in Toledo, Ohio. In 1938, the company sales reached $2.6 million.
The company held its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange in 1952. In 1955, Owens-Corning purchased land for a research and testing facility near Granville, Ohio. Also in 1955, Owens-Corning made the first Fortune 500 company list. The company has been on the Fortune 500 list every year since its creation.
In 1965, Owens-Corning Fiberglas Europe was formed. In 1966, Owens-Corning established a partnership with Armstrong Rubber Co. to produce fiberglass-reinforced automobile tires. By 1971, Owens-Corning's annual revenue was over $500 million. In 1974, the company opened a temporary plant to produce insulation for the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. In 1977, Owens-Corning acquired Frye Roofing and began production of fiberglass mat to replace traditional paper mat used in roofing. Owens-Corning sales surpassed $1 billion in 1976, and sales were over $2 billion by 1979. In 1978, two shipyard workers filed a class action lawsuit against which alleged that Owens Corning and 14 other manufacturers had known about asbestos-containing products. Owens-Corning began using the United Artists cartoon character Pink Panther in its PINK Fiberglas insulation marketing in 1979.
In 1985, Owens-Corning acquired Aerospace and Strategic Metals Group in Newport Beach, California for $415 million from Armco Inc. The color PINK was trademarked through Owens-Corning in 1986, making it the first company to trademark a color. By 1990, Owens Corning was the defendant in about 84,500 asbestos-related lawsuits.
The company opened an Asia/Pacific division in 1993. In May 1994, Owens Corning acquired UC Industries, which produced Foamular polystyrene insulation, as a wholly owned subsidiary. In 1996, the company changed its name to Owens Corning. In May 1997, Owens Corning acquired Fibreboard Corporation, a vinyl siding and other industrial material manufacturer, which became a wholly owned subsidiary of Owens Corning. The company was ordered to pay $5 million to an asbestos victim in 1997, making it the highest jury verdict in the history of the United States for a single non-malignant asbestos case. In 1999, a jury in federal district court in Florida awarded $1.8 million compensatory damages and $31 million punitive damages against the company for asbestos products.
The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2000. In 2002, Owens Corning removed its shares from the New York Stock Exchange. In 2006, the company was listed on the New York Stock Exchange again under ticker "OC." In 2007, Owens Corning announced a joint venture with Saint-Gobain named OCV Reinforcements.
Owens Corning partnered with DuPont in 2011 to create a steel and foam energy reduction (SAFER) barrier around auto racetracks. In July 2015, the company announced it would be moving a manufacturing center for mineral wool insulation into an empty plant west of Joplin, Missouri.
In 1939, the U.S. Navy Bureau of Ships made Owens Corning insulation standard in new warship construction. Warship insulation, called Navy Board, was a permanent form-board insulation covered with woven continuous fiber cloth. Owens Corning produced a prototype boat hull constructed of fiber glass-reinforced plastic in 1944.
In 1945, the company worked with an automaker to produce the first fiberglass-reinforced plastic car body. In 1953, General Motors used this type of body in the Chevrolet Corvette. In 1954, the company invented a process to make centrifugally-spun fiberglass wool, which became the standard process for producing fiberglass insulation.
In 1955, Owens Corning introduced its Perma-Ply roofing material for built-up room insulation covering. The company created its first all fiber (AF) fiberglass wool in 1956. To distinguish its product, the company dyed their insulation pink by adding red dye to the AF wool.
After the January 27, 1967 Apollo 1 fire which killed three astronauts, NASA worked with Owens Corning and Du Pont to develop beta cloth, a fireproof cloth of woven fiberglass coated with Teflon, as a replacement for the nylon outer layer of the Apollo/Skylab A7L space suit.
In February 2017, Owens Corning received the Asthma and Allergy Friendly certification for its Pure Safety™ high performance insulation. “Owens Corning now joins a select group of manufacturers that are focused on product innovation to address people’s exposure to allergens and irritants in their homes,” said Julian Francis, president of insulation, Owens Corning.
In the Kansas City metropolitan area, Owens Corning purchases locally-sourced recycled glass from Ripple Glass to manufacture fiberglass insulation in its local manufacturing plant. The joint effort between Owens Corning and Ripple Glass is helping to greatly reduce the amount of glass that would have been deposited in local Kansas City landfills. The Owens Corning Roofing and Asphalt Shingle Recycling Program was launched in 2009 to keep shingles out of landfills.
In 2013, Constellation Energy built a 2.7-megawatt solar power system at an Owens Corning insulation plant in Delmar, New York. The power system, which is leased to Owens Corning, can produce 3.3 million kilowatt hours of electrical energy in a year.
The National Safety Council awarded Owens Corning the Green Cross for Safety medal in 2014. Owens Corning received a perfect score of 100 percent on the 2015 Corporate Equality Index released by the Human Rights Campaign. Owens Corning has been recognized on the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index for six consecutive years as of 2015.