Minerals, Metals, and Other Materials

Man-Made Products

What is crown glass?

In the early 1800s, window glass was called crown glass. It was made by blowing a bubble, then spinning it until flat. This left a sheet of glass with a bump, or crown, in the center. This blowing method of window-pane making required great skill and was very costly. Still, the finished crown glass produced a distortion through which everything looked curiously wavy, and the glass itself was also faulty and uneven. By the end of the nineteenth century, flat glass was mass-produced and was a common material. The cylinder method replaced the old method, and used compressed air to produce glass that could be slit lengthwise, reheated, and allowed to flatten on an iron table under its own weight. New furnaces and better polishing machines made the production of plate-glass a real industry. Today, almost all flat glass is produced by a float-glass process, which reheats the newly formed ribbon of glass and allows it to cool without touching a solid surface. This produces inexpensive glass that is flat and free from distortion.


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