Howard Hughes used composite wing spars (thin wood layers and plastic resin) on the Spruce Goose. The fledgling composites industry further developed during World War II as the military searched for materials to cut the weight of air and water craft while, at the same time, increasing their strength, durability and resistance to weather conditions and the corrosive effects of salt air and water. By 1945, over seven million pounds of fiberglass were used, primarily for military applications. Soon the benefits of FRP composites, especially its corrosion resistance became known to the public sector. Fiberglass pipe, for instance, was first introduced in 1948 for what has become one of its widest areas of use within the corrosion market, the oil industry.
Composites continued to take off after the war and grew rapidly through the 1950s: Boats, trucks, sports cars, storage tanks, pipes, ducts and many other products were built using composites. In 1953, the 1st production Chevrolet Corvette with fiberglass body panels rolled off the assembly line. Also in the early 1950s, manufacturing methods such as pultrusion, vacuum bag molding, and large-scale filament winding were developed. Filament winding became the basis for the large-scale rocket motors that propelled exploration of space in the 1960’s and beyond.