While the vast majority of Apple iPhones are assembled in controversial Foxconn plants in China, much of the glass produced for the screens is made in Harrodsburg, a town of 8,014, roughly 30 miles southwest of Lexington, Kentucky. Glass and ceramics manufacturer Corning Inc., has a plant located there that makes Gorilla Glass, which is in turn shipped to China for device assembly. Here is a CNN report on the Harrodsburg plant:
Back in 2007, Steve Jobs tapped Corning to build a strong, yet thin glass for the iPhone 1. Corning had six months to develop a solution, which would evolve into Gorilla Glass. "This glass is pretty strong it can take keys. It's damage resistant. It can take keys it can take some drops," according to a Corning spokesperson. Around the time Jobs called, the Corning plant in Harrodsburg was struggling to remain open, suffering the effects of the great recession. Another Corning employee adds, "Late 2008 and into 2009, the world experienced a real crisis. So we were extremely fortunate at that time to have a new business, Gorilla, that was growing and could really help this plant stay viable."
Now Corning supplies LCD screens to over 30 different manufacturers, and recently announced its Gorilla Glass 2 at CES 2012:
Corning states that it seeks to protect its patented, globally popular Gorilla Glass ingredients. There aren't many places better to hide high technology than in rural Kentucky - the constitution of the panels can now join Colonel Sanders' Original Recipe as a well-kept regional secret.
Hat tip to CNN.