NSG and the Group Companies have a long history of innovation. 10,000 patents have been granted to the Company over the last 120 years. Famously in the 1950s, Pilkington patented the float glass concept that is now used to make all of the world's soda lime flat glass. In the 1940s Libbey Owens Ford patented the deposition of thin transparent films onto aircraft glazing. NSG have also been pioneers in the development of specialty vacuum insulating glazing, glass cord that is used in millions of internal combustion engine timing belts, and glass flake used in barrier paints and cosmetics. Selco gradient index lenses can be found in all scanners and photocopiers. In Europe, the Group perfected the processes to make industry leading fire-resistant glazing. The Group continues to invent new products and processes. Since the beginning of 2022, for example, we have had 24 new patents published in the USA. We continue our strong tradition of striving to be The First.
Libbey Owens engineers provided training in Japan - 1919
History of the 'NSG's Firsts'
History of NSG CVD (Chemical Vapour Depositions)
It started with anti-fog glass for airplane cockpits
Around 1940, countries around the world were racing to develop propeller aircraft. One of the biggest problems was that cockpit glass would fog up. For a pilot, foggy cockpit glass could be deadly. As a state-of-the-art glass manufacturer, Libbey-Owens-Ford Company (LOF; currently Pilkington North America Inc.) was working to address this problem by developing a fog-resistant glass. The result was an innovative technology that coated glass with tin oxide. Because tin oxide conducts electricity, it would heat the glass when energized - and thus prevent fogging. This technology was patented in 1942.
Different processes for coating glass were being explored around the world. The CVD process involves introducing gases onto the glass surface and then energizing it to create chemical reaction that produces a film coating. NSG employed a thermal CVD process that used thermal energy. This method was considered simpler and less costly than other coating methods. This method was considered simpler and less costly than other coating methods. Starting in the 1970s this technical concept became the basis for nearly 50 years of world first functional glass coatings.
History of NSG CVD products