Brian Joseph, $100 and a vision… Touchstone

Research Laboratory started in 1980 in the basement of a monestary where the founders rebuilt a scanning electron microscope they had bought for $100.


A building was purchased in Wheeling, WV and work for customers commenced. The upper 3 floors of the brownstone were rented as apartments and the basement was built into a laboratory.

For the first 15 years, Touchstone primarily offered failure analysis, testing and began its first substantial R&D program in the area of grey cast iron.


Touchstone moved into the Millennium Centre in December of 1989. Its offerings expanded and so did the company.

In the 1990’s Touchstone grew in the area of metal matrix composites, building one of the best mechanical testing and characterization facilities available. At this point, Touchstone had solved thousands of manufacturing problems for virtually every kind of manufacturing business in the US.

As the end of the century approached, Touchstone became active developing its own technologies leveraging the SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) program.

In the new Millennium Touchstone continues its innovation track record developing dozens of patents per year in a wide variety of areas.

Among Touchstone Innovations in the new Millennium:

  • CFOAM: a carbon foam made from coal
  • MetPreg, fiber reinforced aluminum
  • CEASe Blast energy absorbing system
  • Composite tooling technologies
  • High Strength/High Temperature aluminum alloys
  • Light weight carbon heat exchangers
  • Carbon-based abrasives
  • Non-Metallic Exhaust systems
  • High Temperature Composites

Touchstone became successful solving manufacturing problems and conducting failure analysis for a host of industries, and finally found a canvas large enough to hold its innovations -The Millennium Centre.

Touchstone absorbed the R&D facility from the 7th largest steel producer in the US, and also became the main R&D facility for one of the country’s largest aluminum producers. Experimental hot and cold rolling mills and a foundry were installed.


cfoamTouchstone built its first manufacturing plant to manufacture CFOAM, a carbon foam made from coal and to produce composite tools (molds) used to manufacture carbon fiber parts – primarily for the aerospace industry.

In Recent Years

Touchstone has licensed many of its inventions, and new products are being developed all the time.

We still offer a broad range of services from testing to failure analysis and product development.

Looking forward, Touchstone is committed to move technology forward even faster to create a better world for everyone.