> > > >

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 134 (112)

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition
1945 Theatre Catalog
1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 134
Page 134

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 134

The Development and Uses of Glass Fibers f

Theatre Outlets for'Fiberglas Products Include Uses as Insulation and, Fabrics

The starting point in forming a clear conception of Fiberglas is an understanding of the fact that, although Fiberglas is glass, it is very different from the hard, transparent, and unbendable substance most people think of as glass.

Fiberglas is not hard. It is not transparent. It is not unbendable. It is glass in the form of fine, pliable fibers. The finer Fiberglas textile fibers look and feel like silk. The finest of them are so fine that they are almost invisible.

Fiberglas is not a product that the consumer is likely to go to the store and buy. Fiberglas is an engineering material in the same sense that steel, copper, and aluminum are engineering materials, and like them it is produced in a great variety of types and forms.

Like the consumer who buys a pound of steel, the consumer who buys a pound of Fiberglas buys it after it has been fabricated into a product which is useful to him; or, more frequently, he buys it as a component, and usually invisible, part of a product which, because of the presence of Fiberglas, is able to give him better service.

Before the United States became a belligerent in World War II, Fiberglas was

well established as a thermal (heat) insulating material, as an air filtration material, and as an incombustible, dimensionally stable textile material, able to retain its properties when subjected to intense heat, or to contact with moisture, acids or corrosive fumes.

The post-war fields of use for Fiberglas consist in part of peace-time uses, developed before the war; in part of peace-time applications developed to meet special war requirements; and in part of entirely new uses, development of which has been delayed because it was necessary for the Fiberglas research organization to devote all its time and effort to meeting the needs of the Armed Forces.


The production of fibrous glass in the early 1930s marked the culmination of many attempts to make a truly pliable glass. During the Renaissance, artisans in glass were attenuating fine glass rods for many decorative purposes including ifspun glassii decoration on stemware, but up until a comparatively few years ago the art of glass making had developed more rapidly along other lines.

FIBERGLAS, made by the Owens Corning Fiberglas Corporation, can be manufactured into semi-rigid sheets or boards and the material installed for heat and sound installation, as is shown in this photograph. This material, easy to handle and to install, may be Faced with Cl variety of substances, to make "building board" for use where the structure itself carries the load. Fiberglus may be resin-bonded for achieving even greater utility.



In 1893, Edward Drummond Libbey exhibited a glass dress, lampshades, and other articles of woven glass at the Columbian Exposition. But the fabric actually was made of bundles of coarse glass fibers woven together with silk threads. Crowds came to see Georgia Cayvan, reigning actress of the day, wear the famous glass gown, but it is suspected that most of the eager spectators came because they thought the dress would be transparent. If they did, they went away disappointed. This was not the only disappointment. The fabric was too stiff to be creased or folded. It was not a true, all-glass fab- ' ric. It was no more possible than it had been before, to weave a fabric of glass fibers alone.

However, the result of the Libbey experiment was spectacular, and it attracted a great deal of attention, but it proved to be of no practical value.

In the early 1900s a number of patents were issued in Germany, and some in England, on various processes for drawing finer fibers of glass. The fibers produced were still too coarse for use in weaving practical fabrics, but they were used to some extent as a thermal insulating material, particularly in Germany during the period of the World War I, when the Allied blockade shut out importations of asbestos.

The real start toward commercially useful glass fibers was made in 1931. In that year, research aimed at the development of the necessary processes was initiated in this country by Owens-Illinois Glass Company, manufacturer of glass containers, and by Corning Glass Works, manufacturer of glass specialties, ranging from light bulbs to laboratory glassware and giant telescope mirrors.

From 1931 to 1938 Owens-Illinois and Corning, working separately towards the same goal, spent millions of dollars on the experimental and development work required to create the manufacturing processes and acquire the knowledge needed, not only to produce glass in useful fiber form, but to make practical its production on a commercial scale. Rapid progress was made in improved manufacturing proceSSes and products, and in developing markets.

Late in 1938, Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corporation was formed to continue the manufacture of: Fiberglas (glass fiber) materials, to carry on further research, to explore additional new uses, and to adapt the materials to still other uses which their inherent properties made them uniquely qualified to serve. The new company acquired all the assets that Owen-Ilinois and Corning had devoted to the development and manufacture of fibrous glass

1945 Theatre Catalog, 4th Edition, Page 134