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 Librarian at our Rakow Research Library.

The Precise Moment: Tempered Glass
Article

Glass breaks. But if it’s strengthened by thermal tempering, it breaks less easily and more safely. By 1920, architects and European car designers wanted more and more tempered glass—and in large sheets. Glassmakers could successfully temper only one sheet in ten. There’s a trick to tempering: heat

The Window Machines: Sheet & Plate Glass
Article

The mighty glowing columns that stand like pillars in a ghostly cathedral...     -Anonymous At the beginning of the 20th century, there was no way to mass-produce flat glass. Although glass cylinders could be drawn by machine, they had to be opened and flattened by hand. What was needed was a way

Countless Variations: Lens Combinations
Article

The world began to realize that so far it had only toyed with glass. Now a brand new material was born.     -Walter Kioulehn, Odyssey of the 41 Glassmakers, 1959 By the mid-1800s, there were still only two kinds of optical glass: soda-lime crown glass and lead-containing flint glass. Opticians

Meet the Astronomer: Scott Kardel
Video

Hear from Scott Kardel, the public affairs coordinator for the Palomar Observatory, a world-class center for astronomical research that is owned and operated by the California Institute of Technology. There are five telescopes used at Palomar, including the 200-inch Hale Telescope (the "Big

Low-E Glass
Video

Introduced in 1979, low emissivity (low-e) glass uses an ultra thin metallic coating on or in the glass to reflect the sun's rays. Commercial and residential buildings use low-e glass windows to help save energy. The powerful infrared light in sunlight heats up objects such as floors and

Making Window Glass by Hand: Crown & Cylinder Glass
Article

When you think of a window, you think of a flat piece of glass. But window glass didn’t always start out flat. It once began as a massive bubble on the end of a glassblower’s pipe. To flatten the bubble, the glassblower could spin it rapidly into a huge disk called a crown. After it was cool, the