Prior to some popular thoughts, Steve Jobs is not the inventor of Gorilla Glass. It might be fair to say that he is responsible for the invigoration of this unique invention, however, because he called up the inventor one day so that it could be incorporated into the design of his own invention: the iPhone. For nearly 40 years, the concept of Gorilla Glass sat on a back shelf at Corning because there was no purpose for the invention. Thanks to the iPhone, and then later other mobile devices, it would become a billion dollar product. The process for creating Gorilla Glass was invented in the 1960s.
Corning has also been responsible for a number of interesting inventions over the decades that are just as creative as Gorilla Glass. Here is a look at what this company has provided to the world.
1. Railroad Lanterns
One of the first products that came out of Corning was the railroad lantern. Believe it or not, putting a lantern on a train engine was considered cutting edge technology back in the day. The problem was that the engines would be exposed to some extreme temperatures. Any light would need to withstand high heat and extreme colored. With the ruby colored glass lanterns that were created in the mid-1800s, Corning would be able to put itself toward the fast track of success.
2. The Improved Ribbon Machine
Thomas Edison contacted Corning in order to create the first glass light bulbs in 1879. Their involvement in light bulb production wouldn’t stop there, however, because they also wanted to be involved in the mass production of this unique new invention. In 1926, Corning reinvented the ribbon machine, which was used to manufacture light bulbs quickly. This invention still continues to be used today in the production of light bulbs.
If you want to cook something in a glass dish, then there’s a good chance that you’re going to be using an invention from Corning. Their first glassware invention for cooking, called Pyrex, allowed home chefs to be able to back foods safely on a surface that was easy to clean. It wouldn’t break like other glass cooking products under high heat conditions either. You can find Pyrex products still today in a wide variety of applications, from casserole dishes to measuring cups.
4. Spaceship Windows
The rigors of the outer space environment are well known. In a complete vacuum, a window must be able to seal in the atmosphere of a spaceship while keeping the extreme cold and airlessness on the outside. The first spaceships also needed windows that could withstand the higher temperatures of atmospheric re-entry. Corning invented the windows that NASA would use in early space flight and still continues to provide space-flight windows to the space exploration agency today.
Corning was one of the first agencies to realize that providing low amount loans to those who needed a lift in their impoverished society could help to change the world in fundamental ways. They began by helping villagers in central China be able to grow tea and grapes while raising pigs by funding microfinancing loans for them. They were low risk loans for Corning because of the cost, but the benefits experienced were enormous. Now platforms like Kiva allow everyone to get involved with microfinancing too.