glassy blog post

Windshields: How They’re Made

Kent Lansing
Jul 10, 2012

You may not give much thought when you are driving to that simple piece of glass in front of you. Surprisingly enough, that glass serves a great purpose besides just keeping the wind out of your hair and bugs out of your teeth. It serves itself as a structural piece to the car and keeps you safe in an accident.

To begin, a windshield is not your typical piece of glass. when cars were first designed, they used traditional window glass that tended to shatter with impact and injure passengers of the car. After this, they used tougher glass that would shatter into many mostly harmless fragments, but could easily break from a rock chip. It wasn’t until Henry Ford helped introduce lamiated glass to vehicles. This is two panes of glass that sandwiches a layer of plastic between them, keeping the windshield whole when shattered. Modern windshields still hold this.

Windshields are first made by combining and melting the raw materials of glass, including oxides found in substances like sand and limestone. At over 1000 degrees Fahrenheit, it is melted and then fed to a chamber where it is suspended over a pool of molten tin. This allows the glass to flatten and the added temperatures remove the impurities. From here, it is introduced to a furnace which actually cools the glass and then it is allowed to settle to room temperature. A diamond scribe is used to score and break the glass into smaller pieces, where it is reheated to take its proper shape and then hardened. Now it is laminated with another piece of glass and ready to be fitted to your vehicle.