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All About Glass

All About Glass

This is your resource for exploring various topics in glass: delve deeper with this collection of articles, multimedia, and virtual books all about glass. Content is frequently added to the area, so check back for new items. If you have a topic you'd like to see covered, send us your suggestion. If you have a specific question, Ask a Glass Question at our Rakow Research Library.

Birth of a New Industry: Fiberglass
Article

"If necessity is the mother of invention, then for the glass fiber industry, adversity is the father."     — William Boeschenstein, Owens-Corning Fiberglas, 1995 The world’s largest bottle plant stood empty. Prohibition and the Depression had crushed the demand for bottles. American

A Discovery Waiting to Happen: Glass-Ceramics
Article

Why did such an important discovery occur so late in the … history of glass, and why was an accident necessary to bring it about?      – Donald Stookey, 1977 Crystals are usually a glassmaker’s enemy. When they form in glass, crystals can change the properties of the material in unwanted ways.

Finding the Right Recipe: Borosilicate Glass
Article

Otto Schott, the pioneering German glass chemist, made a glass that could reliably do something that didn’t seem possible: endure sudden, uneven temperature shifts without shattering. The key, Schott discovered in 1882, was to have a critical amount of the element boron in the glass recipe. Schott

Genie in the Bottle: Glass Bulbs & TV Tubes
Article

In 1879, the brilliant inventor Thomas Edison was on the verge of a breakthrough. He had discovered a slow-burning filament that would glow for hours in the vacuum of a glass globe. But to create the first practical electric light, he needed a glass globe that would not implode when the air was

The Fabulous Monster: Owens Bottle Machine
Article

The most significant advance in glass production in over 2,000 years...      — American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 1983 Michael Owens, a self-taught American inventor, propelled the glass industry into the mechanical age. In 1903, he unveiled the world’s first completely automatic glass

One Step Closer: The Iron Glassblower
Article

A little more than 2,000 years ago, a Roman glassworker did something that dramatically changed the course of history. He blew a puff of air through a hollow rod into a gob of hot glass. The gob inflated into a bubble. At that moment, glassblowing was born. Glassblowing provided a way to make