10 Fun Facts about Glass

Facts and magnifying glass

Here are a few interesting tidbits about glass that may not have been overtly appreciated until now. Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride!

Windshield Whimsy

Red car from early 1900s with no glass

1. Automobile windshields weren't always an available option for all car owners.

Many automobiles were windshield-free vehicles offering virtually zero protection from wind, rain and air-borne elements.

Windshields were once considered a luxury item for cars way back in the day. It was for those who could afford the lavish feature of a windshield that opened up a whole new world for the driving sport and its driver.

2. Windshield glass has come a long way since its inception.

Initially, windshield glass production began with plain glass. This left much to be desired where security and safety were concerned when Mother Nature or other haphazard elements came into play.

Interestingly, an early 20th century faux-pas later became a lucrative and redeeming solution to the breakable windshield. Edouard Benedictus, a French chemist changed the way the world was to see through automobile windshields of the 1920's.

By mischance, the chemist was noted to have dropped a glass flask filled with collodion, "a syrupy solution of nitrocellulose in a mixture of alcohol and ether, used for coating things, chiefly in surgery and in a former photographic process." When the flask made impact with the ground's surface, it cracked but held its shape. Years later, the shatter-proof windshield was born.

💡 For more information about making modern windshields, check out our How Windshields are Made page.

3. Windshield installation can look rather daunting.

Properly fitting its artistically curved shape into an awkward automobile's windshield frame can leave a lot of guesswork for the windshield installation novice. Expert installers rely on previously formulated, tested and approved glass adhesives to assure windshields are securely and safely intact.

4. Automobile windshield and window glass should always be free of nicks, cracks and chips to secure the integrity of glass protective features.

Windshield glass actually works in tandem with other integral safety features like air bag performance. Any glass impairment during air bag deployment may increase the risks of passenger injury.

One of the main causes of glass damage here in the Valley is highway driving, especially in cities like Gilbert that have a lot of new construction and the dirt, debris and heavy vehicles it brings.

5. Safety first.

A higher quality protective glass windshield will actually protect the passenger-side compartment from crushing damage.

Types of Windshield Glass

Workers moving large glass sheets in a glassmaking factory

6. There are two types of automotive glass:

  • laminated glass
  • tempered glass

7. Laminated glass is used for windshields.

It is a great option for vehicles, buildings and any glass-designed structure which may incur human or material impact - such as debris flying toward windows during a hurricane.

This type of glass is constructed using transparent polyvinyl and two sheets of glass infused with heat and forceful pressure designed to prevent glass from shattering. Unlike tempered glass, laminate glass can be fixed.

8. Tempered glass is used for side door glass or other smaller glass panels on your vehicle.

It is also a reinforced glass offering protection and strength. It is stronger and harder than laminated glass. Baking dishes, some cell phone screens, household decorative sinks, table tops and more are often designed using tempered glass. Tempered glass cannot be fixed.

Other Glass Facts

White Ford concept car from the front

9. Most car companies do not make the windshields they use to build their cars. Instead, they purchase them from external suppliers.

Chrysler and Ford are the only two US companies that did or still do manufacture their own windshields.

10. Looking for niche or unusual automobile glass?

Check out www.bobsclassicautoglass.com for extraordinary vintage glass options for charming retro classics like Cadillac, Desoto, Cord, Packard, Studebaker and more.

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