Corning is a city in Steuben County named for its founder, financier Erastus Corning. It is home to Corning Inc. (the former Corning Glass Works) and the world-famous Corning Museum of Glass. Settled in 1796, its economy was driven first by lumber, then the Chemung Canal, then manufacturing and railroading. By 1880 Corning was known as the “Crystal City” for its large number of fine glass works.
Birth-control pioneer Margaret Sanger was born in Corning in 1879. Her father, Michael Higgins, was an outspoken freethinker who once sponsored a lecture in Corning by famed freethought orator Robert Green Ingersoll. In addition, Ingersoll is known to have visited Corning on one other occasion. On May 4, 1894, he delivered his political lecture "Lincoln" at the Corning Opera House.