What happened to Corning Glass Works? What about World Kitchen?
In April 1989 Corning Glass Works changed its name to Corning Incorporated to reflect its modern image as a global high-tech company. Consumer glassware had been its mainstay for decades, but by the mid-1980s Corning had become a leader in fibre-optic technology, and revenue generated from electronics and telecommunications surpassed that of the housewares division. Although this division was profitable, its products were "mature" with little prospect of innovation or growth. With Corning's emphasis on high-tech specialties, it became apparent that the consumer glass side of the company was incompatible with its new profile. A decision was taken to put this division up for sale.
The production of glass kitchenware was structured as the Corning Consumer Products unit, which was sold to Borden Chemical Inc. in April 1998. The deal, worth nearly $600 million, also saw Corning Inc. retain a 3% share in the new Corning Consumer Products Company. With the proceeds of the sale, Corning placed its focus entirely on optical fibre and nearly went bankrupt a few years later when the telecom industry collapsed.
Advertising slogan first used in 1984.
Borden Incorporated, as in "Elsie the Cow", had been a dairy and chemical conglomerate until the dairy operations were sold in the 1990s. Following their acquisition of Corning Consumer Products, Borden purchased the Ekco Group and General Housewares Corporation in late 1999. The name of the kitchenware subsidiary was changed in 2000 to World Kitchen Inc. to signify the broader product diversity they had achieved. WKI underwent bankruptcy, plant closures, layoffs and financial restructuring in 2002. It has been privately held since 2004 and the company name was changed to World Kitchen LLC in 2006.
Dow Corning is a separate company in which Corning Inc. has maintained a 50% equity share in conjunction with the Dow Chemical Company. A joint venture, it was established in 1943 as a producer of silicon products and is completely unrelated to the manufacture of glass kitchenware. Similarly, Owens Corning is another separate joint venture, established in 1938 with Owens-Illinois, another glass manufacturer. This new company would specialize in glass fibre products.
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