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The History of Fiberglass Insulation

Dale Kleist studied at The Ohio State University before starting work as a researcher at the Owens-Illinois Glass Company in 1932. Kleist and his colleagues Games Slayter and Jack Thomas were trying to create better glass technology, so Kleist tried to seal together architectural blocks by melting and spraying glass. The attempt was unsuccessful, but Kleist noticed that an errant spray of molten glass had formed tiny glass fibers. Kleist and Thomas refined the technique, creating the steam-blown process. The technique was the breakthrough the industry needed to start making insulation-quality glass fibers in commercial quantities. It made fiberglass insulation — used in buildings, stoves, refrigerators, and furnaces — both feasible to produce and affordable to purchase. In 1938, Owens-Illinois and Corning Glass jointly created a new company called Owens-Corning Fiberglas® Corporation to make fiberglass products using the process. Today, the company continues to manufacture fiberglass insulation as well as glass fiber reinforcements that are used in sports cars, boats, and bathroom fixtures.

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