Scientist S. Donald Stookey died on Tuesday, November 4 in Rochester, New York at the age of 99. In the 1950s while employed by Corning Glass Works, Stookey accidentally discovered a heavy-duty material that could be used not only for missile construction but also to produce durable cookware able to withstand refrigeration and high heat, according to an article in The New York Times. Casserole lovers would come to know his invention as CorningWare.
According to The New York Times article, a 1957 edition of the newspaper reported that Stookey’s discovery was “expected to be used in combustion-type electric turbines, guided missiles, jet engines of airplanes that fly at supersonic speeds, oil refining, chemical processing and home cookware.” Stookey’s subsequent inventions included synthetic glass ceramics, used today in glass stovetops, photosensitive glass and eyeglasses that darken in the sunlight. He is credited with creating thousands of jobs and was awarded the National Medal of Technology in 1986.