CorningWare Inventor Dies At 99

ASSOCIATED PRESS— Stanley Donald Stookey, the scientist with Corning Glass Works who invented CorningWare, died Tuesday. He was 99. Stookey’s health deteriorated following surgery for a broken hip, his son, Donald Stookey, said.

Stookey invented  the durable, heat-resistant glass now known as CorningWare in 1952 when he placed a plate of glass into an oven to heat it, but the oven malfunctioned, heating the glass to 1,600°F. The result was an opaque, milky-white plate. When the plate slipped and fell to the floor, instead of shattering, it bounced. Stookey had discovered glass ceramics, which Corning patented as Pyroceram. The glass was so strong, the military used it in guided missile nose cones. By the end of the 1950s, the discovery led to CorningWare, one of the company’s most successful product lines, it said.

In his career, Stookey earned 60 U.S. patents. His other innovations included developing photosensitive glass, which helped lead to color television picture tubes. “He was fearless— the unknown never daunted him,” said David Morse, Corning’s chief technology officer. “Don was recognized throughout the glass technology community as a world-class scientist.”

He received the National Medal of Technology from President Ronald Reagan in 1987, and in 2010, at age 94, he was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

“He was one of the great glass scientists in the history of the world,” said Steve Feller, a physics professor at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, IA, where Stookey earned an undergraduate degree in chemistry and mathematics. “Virtually everyone has had CorningWare at some point in time, and there were all sorts of spinoff applications from his fantastic work.”