There are hundreds of float glass production plants throughout the world--35 here in the US alone, each costing over $50 million to build. A lot of investment to say the least. From this process, we produce glass that is perfectly flat and clear, with none of the imperfections that our ancestors had to deal with. Yet, do you know who invented this process? It all started in a bath tub.
Prior to the mid 1900's, glass was made from heated sand and then pulled like taffy to make it straight and clear. Yet, it was never perfect. It had variances in thickness and clarity. This problem really bothered a gentleman by the name of Mr. Pilkington. He wanted something better. One evening, he was pondering this problem in his bath. This was in the early 1900's, so he had a candle by his tub to light the room. The candle dripped wax into the tub. Yet, this wax didn't dissipate in the tub, It floated. In fact, it created a perfectly smooth service when it floated in the tub. Eureka! An idea was born.
Mr. Pilkington ran to his factory the next day. What material would molten glass float in like the wax in his bath tub? His scientists told him that molten tin heated to 4,000 degrees would separate from molten glass. Mr. Pilkington created a molten tin/molten glass bath in his factory. The glass separated from the tin and was perfectly smooth, just like the window glass that we all see on a daily basis and take for granted. The first float glass factory was born!!!