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Improving Modern Glass

Nearly 75% of injuries resulting from the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing was caused by flying glass. Bent glass manufacturers united in their efforts to research and blast-test advanced, heat-hardened and chemically laminated glass. In Japan, engineers are currently working on a personal digital assistant that will essentially be a small sheet of glass you can hold in your hand. It is expected that new anchor systems, cheaper, thinner laminates, and novel blast-resistant curtain walls will soon be available on the commercial market. As with our ancestors, glass continues to benefit the quality of human life.

Bent Glass in Cars

Transportation, communication and architecture all benefited from the innovations in bent glass production throughout the 20th century. Machines were developed to produce endless sheets of flat glass for windows. New processes strengthened bent glass by thermal and chemical tempering. Tints were applied to bent glass to reduce heat transmission and glare, and bent glass was coated with metal oxide films to reflect heat and/or conducted electricity.

Before 1919, windshields were made of ordinary plate glass, therefore highly dangerous when broken. The auto magnate Henry Ford created the new process of glass lamination, which eventually made laminated windshields essential as a car part. The cellulose was later replaced with polyvinyl butyral (PVB). In the 1950s, side and rear windows were replaced by tempered glass, which breaks into small, safer pebble-like pieces when shattered. Fibre-optics and the first photo-sensitive glass were invented in the 1940s. In 1959, float glass replaced flat glass as a preferred material for residential and commercial windows. The most exciting recent development was Low-E glass, which contained a low-emission coating that improved the energy efficiency of windows.

The Improvement of Production of Flatter Glass

Due to deforestation, English glass-makers were required to use coal instead of wood in their furnaces in 1615. In the late 17th century, the English discovered that adding lead oxide to the bent glass process resulted in a substance which was solid, heavy and durable. Also at this time, the French perfected grinding and bent glass polishing techniques, leading to the production of the first plate glass, affordable only by the wealthy.
In the 1700s, compressed air technology was utilized to create flatter, thinner, more modern glass panes. Cooling air was blown into a large glass cylinder in controlled doses. This cylinder was then slit lengthwise, reheated and allowed to flatten under its own weight. Large, relatively inexpensive lites (panes) of glass became available and, by 1860, flat glass prices had dropped, making glass affordable in all building construction.
In the 1820s, a hand-operated machine ended the age of blowing individual bottles, glasses and flasks. In the 1870s, the first semi-automatic bottle machines appeared. Plate glass production expanded as water power, then steam, and then electricity made grinding and polishing faster and easier. By the 1860s, stores and office buildings utilized plate glass. The center of plate glass production moved from France and Belgium to the United States. By then, machinery that rolled glass speeded up the manufacturing process. The glass was pushed through two rollers and emerged as a flat sheet onto a steel table. The glass sheets annealed (cooled) slowly on layers of shelves, where they were later cut into various shapes and sizes. The first wired glass was made in the 1890s.

The Progression of Bent Glass

In the 12th century stained glass windows started gracing churches and cathedrals across the continent. France became the main producer for the flat glass used to illustrate religious characters and moments in stained glass windows. The first magnifying glass was invented in the 11th century. It was utilized by medieval monks to read calligraphic manuscripts. The first eyeglasses were introduced in the late 13th century. In 1291, on the Italian island of Murano, a transparent glass called cristallo was developed, popularizing crystal glassware throughout Europe. From the 1400s to the 1700s, the Venetians dominated ornamental bent glass production.

Bent Glass Shapes and Sizes

Florida Bent Glass specializes in the following bent glass products:

  • Curved China Glass Cabinet
  • Curved Glass  Boat Windshields
  • Curved Glass Revolving Doors
  • Curved Glass Show Cases
  • Curved Glass Hand Rails
  • Curved Glass Greenhouses
  • Curved Glass Chandeliers

Bent Glass Shapes
glass can be bend in different angles and shapes: 90 degrees, 180 degrees, j bend, butterfly, S bend and bowl

Florida Bent Glass Capabilities:

  • Custom Glass Bending
  • All Size and Thicknesses
  • Bent Insulated Glass
  • Bent Laminated Glass
  • Glass bowls – up to 72 inches

At Florida Bent Glass, we know how important it is to do the job right… the first time. Our goal is to be your first choice for curved bent glass products. With quality people, state-of-the-art equipment, and strict quality control procedures, our custom bent glass products strives to be the best.

We provide a large variety of bent glass products. Florida Bent Glass fabricates curved glass products. Our commitment to customers is to continually improve our level of quality and service through upgrades of our technologies and bent glass manufacturing processes with state of the art equipment and software. Florida Bent Glass emphasis is on providing you with the best curved glass products to you. No other custom manufacturer offers the flexibility and choice you have in Florida Bent Glass.

Growth of Bent Glass During the Dark Ages

During the Dark Ages, better raw materials were used and more efficient furnaces were built for the creation of bent glass, shedding light on the Dark Ages. Ash from plants and trees created a superior flux (material that enables glass to melt at lower temperatures). This ash was made up of high concentrations of potassium oxide, which replaced the sodium oxide previously used in glass-making techniques. Wood fuel for furnaces meant that glassworks were usually situated in forest areas away from towns. Meanwhile, the Chinese started to make bent glass and other objects in the 5th century CE.

Bent Glass in Roman Windows

The first form of flat, colorless glass was invented in Ancient Rome. This early invention of the window, however, was very different from the glass we use in our modern windows. The windows were small, very thick, and opaque rather than transparent. Light traveled in, but you could not see clearly through the bent glass. These early windows are easily identified by a bull’s-eye pattern in the center of the bent glass. To create the bent glass, the glass-maker would blow a large bubble of glass, spinning it rapidly while the glass was still soft. This resulted in the formation of a glass disc which was attached to the blow pipe. The blow pipe was removed, and the disc was annealed (the process of cooling glass) and cut into small panes. The bull’s-eye pattern remained where the blowpipe has been attached.

Bent Glass: Color, Formation Techniques, and Early Trading

Bent glass was initially created using impure ingredients, resulting in a green tint. It was used primarily for decorative reasons. As time progressed, several compounds were utilized to create a range of colorful bent glass, mimicking precious and semi-precious stones. The colorants included cobalt, copper, silver, chrome, iron, gold, manganese, nickel, selenium and cadmium. Thousands of years passed since the discovery of glass before bent glass was created to possess the clarity and transparency it now has in window panes. Bent glass was either “core formed” or “rod formed”. Core formed objects were created by molding molten glass around a removable core or center, typically a combination of dung and clay mixed with water. In the rod forming technique, beads and other small items were made by manipulating a glob of molten glass on a long rod which was thrusted into a kiln until the glass was malleable.
In the third millennium BCE, Phoenician trading vessels carried bent glass and ingredients used for the creation of glass to Egypt, where it was used for decorative purposes by the aristocrats, and eventually made its way as far as the Celtic cultures of Britain. The Egyptians used glass beads as trading collateral in their dealings with other African peoples, who had never discovered the glass-making process. The Romans, and later the Europeans, continued using glass beads, bent glass, and other objects to trade in exchange for African valuables.

The Origin of Bent Glass

Roman historian Pliny the Elder wrote in his Natural History, “A trading ship carrying nitrum anchored; its crew went ashore to prepare their dinner. Finding no stones on the beach with which to prop their cooking pots over the fire the sailors used lumps of nitrum from their ship to support their cookware. When these became heated, they combined with the sand from the beach to form a strange liquid that flowed in streams; and this, it is said, was the origin of bent glass.”
This is false. Cuneiform tablets containing glass-making recipes indicate that bent glass was most likely first manufactured by peoples residing in Syria, Babylonia (Iraq) and Mesopotamia (Iran) circa 3,000 BCE.

Glass in Arrowheads and Aztec Sacrifices

Bent glass was originally used to craft utensils, weapons, and decorative objects. The first glass known to our prehistoric ancestors was obsidian, or black glass. Obsidian was formed naturally from volcanic lava which cooled too quickly to revert to stone. It comprised the core elements found in bent glass today; silica (quartz sand), soda and lime. Archaeologists and anthropologists have discovered ancient obsidian artifacts all throughout the world. Our ancestors discovered deposits of shattered obsidian, which they utilized to create a range of items. This included Apache arrowheads, which were used for battle and hunting, and implements used by the Aztecs in their human sacrifices.