Hollow glass microspheres, also known as glass beads, have been used for at least 100 years, with solid glass beads being manufactured in New York as far back as 1914. In 1922 large quantities of high refractive-index glass beads were produced to coat movie screens. Hollow glass microsphere technology was developed in 1950s as an outgrowth of manufacture of solid glass beads.
Since that time, many industries started to rely on solid and hollow glass microspheres as a major component in their products and processes. Initially used primarily as a filler for plastics in the 1960s, hollow glass microspheres found applications in in many industries and thousands of applications including aerospace and military materials, molded plastic components, retroreflective highway signs, oil and gas, recreation, paints and coatings, transportation, construction, mining explosives, personal care, cosmetics and consumer products, amongst others.
In recent years, hollow glass microspheres have experienced excellent growth due to new high-value, high-growth industries that have emerged and the availability of high quality hollow glass microspheres with perfectly sphericity, tight tolerances and particle size distributions available on the market. These industries include biomedical, life sciences, microscopy, automotive, high-tech equipment and specialty applications.