Dr. S. Donald Stookey, inventor of synthetic ceramic glass, died on November 4 at the age of 99 (New York Times, Nov. 6). Dr. Stookey joined Corning in 1940 as a research scientist and spent the next four decades working on glass chemistry. In the 1950s, he accidentally discovered and patented (US 2779136) a method for making glass that could withstand extreme temperatures, the perfect material for use in dishes and casseroles. In 1958, Corning launched its CorningWare line of dishes.
During his 47-year career, Dr. Stookey was granted approximately 60 patents but only published about 19 journal articles. This demonstrates the important role that patents play in disseminating the results of industrial research. Dr. Stookey’s patents have been cited in hundreds of patents and journal articles.