Dominick Labino Papers
Scope and Contents
The Dominick Labino Papers consist of Dominick Labino’s personal papers and business records. The business records include his time as a research scientist at several fiberglass manufacturing companies, as well as his career as a Studio Glass artist. The collection is divided into nine series:
1. Biographical Material, Circa 1924-1993
2. Batch Books and Formulas, Circa 1937-1985
3. Personal Correspondence and Subject Files, 1931-1984
4. Engineering Records, Circa 1923-1987
5. Studio Glass Career, Circa 1920-1992
6. Photographs and Audiovisual Recordings, Circa 1925-1990
7. Organizations and Clubs, Circa 1949-1993
8. Publications, 1931-1976
9. Miscellaneous, Circa 1924-1991
- Creation: Circa 1920-1993
Language of Materials
Collection materials are in English, French, German, and Spanish.
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for public research. Researchers must make an appointment to view the collection.
Conditions Governing Use
The Copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement. The user agrees to defend, indemnify, and hold harmless the Corning Museum of Glass and the Rakow Research Library against all claims, demands, costs and expenses incurred by copyright infringement or any other legal or regulatory cause of action arising from the use of Library materials.
Biographical / Historical
Dominick Labino was born in 1910 in Clarion, Pennsylvania. He worked for the Bacharach Industrial Instrument Company while going to night school, continued to work there while he studied engineering at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh (now Carnegie Mellon University), and was later hired by the glass bottle manufacturing company Owens-Illinois.
In 1944, Labino co-founded the fiberglass manufacturing company Glass Fibers, Inc., which merged with a division of Libby-Owens-Ford in 1955 to become L.O.F. Glass Fibers. L.O.F. Glass Fibers was acquired by Johns-Manville in 1958. Labino was vice president and director of Research and Development at Johns-Manville’s fiberglass division research center in Waterville, Ohio, until his retirement in 1965. However, Labino continued to do consulting work for Johns-Manville and others until 1975, and eventually developed the pure silica fibers that were used by NASA to make lightweight insulating tiles for the Apollo and Gemini spacecraft, as well as the shuttle Columbia. He held 60 patents in the United States and several hundred in other countries.
Labino began experimenting with blowing his own glass as early as 1940, while he was still working for Owens-Illinois. By the time he began his work at Johns-Manville, he had built a furnace at his home, and by 1963 had constructed his own glass studio at his farm in Grand Rapids, Ohio. Labino’s glass formulas and advice on furnace construction were instrumental in the success of Harvey Littleton’s first glass workshop at the Toledo Museum of Art in 1962. Labino’s formula for #475 fiberglass and expertise in building furnaces allowed artists to melt smaller batches of glass at lower temperatures in their own studios, leading to the birth of the Studio Glass Movement. As an artist, he is best known for his Emergence series of glass sculptures, which were notable for their use of dichroic “veils” of glass: internal layers of blown glass within the sculpture that appear to change color when seen under different light sources. Labino developed this internal veiling technique himself and became famous in the Studio Glass world for his advanced techniques in working with hot glass. Unlike other glass artists, he made his own glass instead of melting premade batches. He was known for the purity of his colors, which were notoriously difficult to achieve and required a detailed knowledge of glass composition. Labino also designed and made his own glassmaking equipment, including furnaces, annealing ovens, and glassblowing tools.
Throughout his life, Labino was a member of numerous artistic organizations and clubs, such as the American Ceramic Society, the Glass Art Society (GAS), the Glass Collector’s Club of Toledo, and Ohio Designer-Craftsmen. He and his wife Elizabeth (Libby) were also active participants in and patrons of many civic organizations in Ohio, and they both maintained a lifelong interest in glass armonicas, an instrument first popularized by Benjamin Franklin that Labino later reproduced in his glass studio and Libby played in public performances.
Labino often wrote articles about fiberglass and its properties for technical publications, as well as articles on modern and ancient glassmaking. His 1968 book Visual Art in Glass traced the development of glass as a visual medium throughout history and was the first book to discuss the Studio Glass Movement. He won numerous awards for his art and his contributions to civic organizations, and was also awarded several honorary university degrees. He died in Grand Rapids in 1987.
73 Linear Feet (73 Hollinger boxes, 23 half Hollinger boxes, 18 flat boxes, 3 film reel boxes, 1 card file box, 2 shoeboxes, and 2 poster tubes)
Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements
Some of the audiovisual materials in Series 06 are on obsolete formats (primarily audio reels) that have been digitized onto CDs for access. Please ask the reference staff for assistance with playing back these recordings.
Processed by Sarah Alender in 2022 and 2023.
- Dominick Labino Papers, Circa 1920-1993
- A Guide to the Collection
- Sarah Alender
- January 12, 2023
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description