||This article has been nominated to be checked for its neutrality. (January 2009)|
|Traded as||NYSE: OC|
|Industry||General Building Materials|
|Founded||Toledo, Ohio (1938)|
|Headquarters||Toledo, Ohio, USA|
|Michael H. Thaman, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer|
|Revenue||US$ 5.3 billion (2013)|
Number of employees
|Slogan||Innovations for Living
The Pink Panther has the Answer
Owens Corning Corporation is the world's largest manufacturer of fiberglass and related products. It was formed in 1935 as a partnership between two major American glassworks, Corning Glass Works and Owens-Illinois. The company was spun off as a separate entity on November 1, 1938. However, major medical liabilities due to the company's use of asbestos as a fireproofing agent led to the company's Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2000. The company emerged from Chapter 11 in October 2006.
It was formed in 1935 as a partnership between two major American glassworks, Corning Glass Works and Owens-Illinois. The company was spun off as a separate entity in the state of Delaware on October 31, 1938, with officies in Toledo, Ohio. The next year, it developed Navy Board, a lightweight, nonflammable insulation with a finished wall surface, its main product throughout World War II. In 1944, it produced the first fiberglass-reinforced plastic boat hull.
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 made the first Fortune 500 company list. It launched the "Comfort Conditioned Home" program in 1957 to promote sales of residential insulation. In 1980, it licensed United Artists' Pink Panther cartoon character as its mascot for the insulation, and trademarked its product's pink color in 1987.
In 1977, it acquired a shingle and asphalt company and started the manufacture of fiberglass-reinforced roofing shingles, the current industry standard.
In 1986, the company withstood a hostile takeover attempt by Wickes, a British home improvement store chain.
The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2000 due to civil liabilities in three 1995-1999 lawsuits from the use of asbestos in its Kaylo product, a high-temperature calcium silicate pipe insulation, manufactured from 1952 to 1972. It emerged from Chapter 11 on October 31, 2006.
In 2007, it acquired Saint-Gobain's building reinforcements and composite fabrics business. In 2011, it developed a process to make formaldehyde-free insulation with 50 percent recycled content.
Among the many products of Owens Corning is its fiberglass insulation. Since 1956, the company's insulation has been dyed pink to provide visual contrast; the company became so associated with its pink insulation product that it even registered the term "PINK" (in capital letters only) to refer to its insulation. It was granted a trademark on the color in In re Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp., 774 F.2d 1116 (Fed. Cir. 1985). The cartoon character of the Pink Panther is used by Owens Corning as a visual representation and (albeit silent) spokestoon of their brand identity.
Another major product of Owens Corning is derived from its use of fiberglass as reinforcement for plastic products. The resulting fiberglass-reinforced plastic is used in boat hulls, automobile roofs, pipes, electric windmill blades, etc. This product is sold under the trade name of "Fiberglas".
The company also manufactures other building materials systems and composite solutions including roofing shingles and accessories, and glass composite materials used in transportation, electronics, telecommunications, other high-performance applications, and acoustical solutions including the Basement Finishing System™ which is designed specifically for the basement environment and Conwed Designscape® acoustical walls and ceilings for large commercial applications.
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. Its use continues in modern suits.
Owens Corning sells significant amounts of energy-saving products. For instance, sand and recycled glass is used for making insulated fiberglass which saves energy. Such products are responsible for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
Glass recycling efforts
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.
In 1995, the company was sued for asbestos-induced pleural mesothelioma (a rare form of cancer that attacks the lining of the lung) in Galotti vs. Owens-Corning Fiberglass. The company was ordered to pay $6.25 million in damages, making it the largest compensatory verdict in the history of the state of Florida for a mesothelioma case.
In 1997, in Owens-Corning vs. McKenna, the company was ordered by the jury to pay the victim $5 million, 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. According to the court, evidence showed that: "for more than thirty (30) years Owens-Corning concealed what it knew about the dangers of asbestos. In fact, Owens-Corning's conduct was even worse than concealment, it also included intentional and knowing misrepresentations concerning the danger of its asbestos containing product, Kaylo. For instance, in 1956, Owens-Corning, after having been told by the Saranac Laboratory that Kaylo dust was 'toxic,' and that asbestos was a carcinogen, advertised Kaylo as being 'non-toxic.'" Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp. v. Ballard, 749 So.2d 483 (1999).
In May 2006, an Owens Corning facility accidentally released HCFC 142b, a potent greenhouse gas and ozone depleter, into the air.[undue weight? ] The National Environmental Defense Center responded by sending a sixty-day notice that they would sue under the Clean Air Act.