What’s the process of glass production?
How is glass produced in modern society?
Glass has been used for thousands of years, with the ancient Egyptians and Romans producing glass objects as early as 2000 BCE. Over time, the methods for manufacturing glass have evolved significantly, from the use of blowpipes to the highly automated processes used today. In this article, we will explore the history and evolution of glass production, with a focus on modern techniques.
Lead Glass Revolution
In the late seventeenth century, glass manufacturing underwent a revolution with the discovery of adding lead oxide to molten glass. This technique was pioneered by George Ravenscroft in 1674, who produced clear lead glassware on an industrial scale. This method improved the appearance of the glass, made it easier to melt using sea-coal, and increased the “working period” of the substance, making it easier to manipulate. Ravenscroft’s success allowed England to overtake Venice as the center of the glass industry, and by 1696, twenty-seven glasshouses in England were producing flint glass for export all over Europe.
Industrial Production and Automation
In the mid-1800s, the automation of glass manufacturing began with Henry Bessemer’s patent for a system that produced a ribbon of flat glass by forming the ribbon between rollers. The surfaces of the glass were then polished. This method marked a significant shift towards mass production of glass, which was first developed in 1887 by the firm Ashley Yorkshire, England. The semi-automatic process used machines capable of producing 200 bottles per hour, which was much quicker than traditional methods.
The “Float Glass” Process
In 1957, Alastair Pilkington and Kenneth Bickerstaff developed the revolutionary float glass process, which is now widely used in modern glass production. This process involves forming a continuous ribbon of glass using a molten tin bath, giving the sheet uniform thickness and a flat surface. Modern windows are produced from float glass, which is used for its strength, safety, and insulation properties.
Glass production has come a long way since its early days, with advances in technology and automation leading to more efficient and cost-effective manufacturing processes. The history of glass production is a fascinating one, and today’s glass manufacturers continue to innovate and develop new techniques. For more information on glass production and its applications, check out the Miglass website.
- Miglass website: https://miglass.com/
- Pilkington Glass: https://www.pilkington.com/
- History of Glass Manufacturing: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_glass_production
- Float Glass Process: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Float_glass
- Glass Manufacturing: https://www.britannica.com/technology/glass-manufacturing