10 Fun Facts about Glass

Looking through a magnifying glass at the word "facts" repeated many times

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

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

    This is because windshields were considered a luxury item like they were for horse-powered vehicles. Eventually, people realized that the far greater speeds of automobiles made windshields a necessity, not a luxury.

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

    Initially, windshields were made out of plain glass. This left much to be desired for security and safety when the weather refused to cooperate or accidents happened, since normal glass can easily shatter and potentially harm vehicle passengers or anyone else nearby.

    Interestingly, an early 20th-century faux-pas by a French chemist named Edouard Benedictus solved the problem of windshields shattering when damaged.

    One day, the chemist 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 an impact with the ground's surface, it cracked but held its shape. He took note of this discovery, and years later it led to the shatter-proof windshield.

TIP

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

  • 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. When we perform a windshield replacement here in Greater Phoenix, we use special, high-quality sealant that cures faster than the cheap stuff and allows our customers to drive away as quickly as possible!

  • 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 bags to keep passengers safe.

    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.

  • Safety first.

    A higher quality protective glass windshield will actually protect the passenger-side compartment from crushing damage in the event of an accident.

Types of Automotive Glass

Workers moving large glass sheets in a glassmaking factory
  • There are two types of automotive glass:

    • laminated glass
    • tempered glass
  • Laminated glass is used for windshields.

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

    This type of glass is constructed by using heat and high pressure to fuse transparent polyvinyl between two sheets of glass. Unlike tempered glass, laminated glass can be repaired.

  • 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, but 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 repaired.

Other Glass Facts

White Ford concept car from the front
  • Most car companies do not make the windshields they install in 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.

  • 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.

See Also