Distinguished Alumni Awards

John Henry Thomas

John Henry Thomas
To John Henry Thomas, ceramic engineer, inventor, executive, for his major contributions and leadership in the establishment and development of the glass fiber industry.

Vice Chairman of the Board and Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corporation, Toledo, Ohio

BS, Ceramic Engineering, 1931

After receiving his bachelor's degree from Illinois, Mr. Thomas joined the Owens-Illinois Glass Company, where he became a member of the early research team that developed processes for drawing glass into filaments. He served as the manager of the glass fibers research laboratory at Owens-Illinois, and operated the pilot plant where glass yarns were first made. When Owens-Illinois joined with Corning Glass Works to establish the Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corporation, Mr. Thomas became manager of research for the new company.

Mr. Thomas holds sixteen United States and eight Canadian patents, all of them basic to the processes by which glass fibers are manufactured. One of these, applied for in 1938, was the forerunner of the later successful development of rubber-impregnated glass fiber cord and cloth as reinforcement for tires.

He has held a number of executive posts in the corporation. Under his direction as vice president of research and development, a major development in glass fiber textile technology, BETA yarns, was made. He was appointed to his present position in 1971.

Current as of 1973.