Today’s Illustration: Distortion-Free “Flat Glass”

reading outside of your field dewey decimal wormRead
Outside Of
Your Field Of
Awareness, Interest, or Knowledge!

There are areas of life and living that offer the potential for
UNIQUE and NEW ways to illustrate a point!

♦♦♦♦♦ ♦♦♦♦♦ ♦♦♦♦♦ ♦♦♦♦♦

. . . . . . . . 

Who: Sir Alastair Pilkington

Where: Great Britain

When: 1950s

What: Float Glass (Pilkington Glass)


  • “somewhere between 1953 and 1957, Sir Alastair Pilkington revealed the idea of manufacturing float glass to the world.
  • “the Pilkington method developed the ribbon of float glass using a molten tin in which molten glass would flow unhindered under the influence of gravity.
  • “the Pilkington method, Sir Alastair was able to achieve profitable full-scale sales of float glass by 1960.
  • Float glass is essentially a super smooth, distortion-free glass which is used for designing other glass items . . . .float glass provides users with a crystal-clear view. Float glass owes its unique name to the process by which it is manufactured wherein the molten glass is introduced into a bath of molten tin, causing the glass to float freely. [1]
  • Before the 1950s. window glass was called “Cylinder Glass.”

. . . . 

Key Biblical Thoughts:

  • distortion
  • we see through a glass “darkly” / obscurely
  • sight / viewing life
  • trials / troubles
  • biblical clarity
  • living life distortion-free
  • clear glass – Revelation 21
  • glory to glory
  • temptation

. . . .

Sermonic Example: There are several distinct ways that one can use illustrative material.

(use whatever you find useful in the above details)

If you have ever watched “How’s It Made,” you may have been fascinated by how someone came up with the idea to do “that” or the various steps that are involved in the production of “that item.”

Have you stopped and watched someone working with glass? The process is intriguing as it moves from a semi-liquid to a solid creation. We probably rarely think about the processes that took place for us to look through a glass window or object.

You may have grown up in a home that had glass windows that distorted what was being viewed.  Homes before 1950 used glass that was slightly thicker at the bottom than the top. You may have looked through some of those old glass windows, moving your eye left and right, up and down, as the objects you were viewing changed shape.  It was kind of fun to see things distorted.

That was just the nature of glass production up to that time.  Before 1950, a large ball of liquid glass was flattened and drawn upward between two rollers to create a thin sheet.  Before it could cool completely, gravity created a sheet that would distort what you were seeing.  The sheet of glass was increasingly thicker at the bottom than at the top.

It was an expensive, time-consuming process to grind and polish window glass, which would be free from distortion. The polishing process was only done for the glass used in the very rich homes, or when glass was needed for telescopes, microscopes, or eyeglasses.

However, in the 1950s, a different process was invented called “float glass.”  It was developed by the Pilkington family.  A ball of glass was floated on a bed of molten tin, flattened by its own weight, and then it slowly cooled into a uniform sheet.  That process changed the glass-making industry and the clarity of window glass.  Glass could now be made distortion-free.

Today’s homes use window glass that is free from the distortions of those old glass windows.  You can see everything clearly now, without moving your head and eyes here and there.

The Fall has distorted everything we see in life.  Sin has distorted how we see people, trials, money, work, relationships. sexuality, worship, even how we see sin.  As the Scriptures state, we see through a glass darkly – obscurely is the word  — It’s the word “enigma.”

It is the clarity of sight that the Bible gives us, that changes the way we view life and living, how we view . . . .

Other Information & Links:

1. From “All You Need To Know About Float Glass”

Process of Manufacturing Float Glass
As the most widely used form of glass in today’s world, it is essential to know about the manufacturing process of float glass. It all starts with a mixture of raw materials like sand, limestone, dolomite, soda, and salt cake. Next, these materials are melted in a furnace until they fuse together to form molten glass. To manufacture float glass, molten glass from a furnace is poured into a chamber containing a bed of molten tin. The tin tub is approximately 4 to 8 metres wide and up to 60 metres long. During the manufacturing process, the atmosphere inside the chamber is carefully controlled to ensure that float glass is manufactured correctly. The reason for using tin is that it is the only metal that remains stable in its liquid state at a high temperature of 600 degrees Celsius. The glass floating on the tin eventually takes the shape of the container and spreads from 90 to 140 inches wide with a varying thickness, which is determined during the time of manufacture.

“Pilkington brothers and the glass industry”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.