I don't think that Corning was scattered to the winds,
they are just manufacturing glass and ceramics for the best profit, https://www.corning....rldwide/en.html ,
leaving the glass materials we are using to the other manufacturers.
As a former employee of Corning, Inc I would have to 100% agree.
In the 90's I work in their Electronic Materials Plant in Erwin, NY and the Sullivan Park Product Research Center(PRC).
During my time there, I worked in manufacturing of a glass Frit used in the Space Shuttle Program(a high lead content glass with extreme desired thermodynamic properties).
Point to illustrate, each week I made about 1000 pound of this material. To which it was sold to the Government for nearly $5000 per pound. I was an operation of two.
Me and an QA engineer. So just figure it out, my efforts in the bottom line accounting is around $200 million. Yet compare to that of the nearly a four thousand work force producing ceramic substrates for the auto industry hat is just breaking even.
I always said and took extreme pride that I was carrying these four thousand on my back.
That said, and my father was also a Corning employee, as a top glass tank mason.
So, besides many projects he was involved in. He built a top secret glass tank(wink, wink, nod, nod I can not say more).
But once operational I was able to see the result of this production run. It fit into a shoe box and I was told that it was worth over 500 million. To the best of my knowledge these glass components are currently flying over our heads.
My point is as you suggest, comparing mass production to state of art, specifically when it comes to glass technology is a comparison of apple and oranges.
Now for the real hardship reality..., Sullivan Park no longer exists.
Perhaps the greatest concentration of optical/glass PhD scientists the world has ever put together in one place.
I believe the death nail for this product research division of Corning at Sullivan Park was the success of Asahi glass... aka Gorilla Glass aka smart phone glass.
In my opinion there can't be enough or deeper levels of hell for the MBA's that sold the bottom line closure of the Sullivan Park PRC.
If you are using the Internet you are currently using a product material I was deeply involved in as a research production technician. Namely, photon-optical glasses, not just the glass but the doping bubbles produced within the glass.
During my tenue product run... my estimate is we produced enough optics bulbs of glass to produce well over 250 thousand miles of fiber optics. And that is early 90's technology,. So my bet is I was producing the core opto-photonic back bone of the internet as we know it.
Just saying and it is my opinion...
We are being ripped off by those with just not enough knowledge to know better but with enough knowledge to frame the issues to thread the needle in bottom lines terms for the sell out.
So tell that to the solid state consolidate physicist I work with and personal knew.
Where is he now, likely working for some Chinese firm.