Glass block

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A solid or hollow glass block used for decorative interior and exterior construction. G. Falconnier is credited with developing the glass block in 1886. His hexagonal shaped blocks were made into a glass block building at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. After many methods of production were tried, Owens-Illinois Glass introduced the first pressed glass block in 1932. Two identical concave rectangles were placed together under heat and pressure then sealed. Using standard masonry techniques, the glass blocks are joined to form non-load bearing walls that transmit light. The blocks distort images and thus provide a degree of privacy. The blocks have been used for schools, factories, and in homes, such as for entry ways, shower enclosures and patio walls.

Synonyms and Related Terms

brique de verre (Fr.); glass brick; hollow glass tile;

Brand names: Insulux [Owen-Illinois]; PC Block [Corning Glass Works]; Falconnier's block

Additional Information

Dietrich Neumann, "Prismatic Glass", in Twentieth-Century Building Materials, T. Jester (ed.), McGraw-Hill: New York, 1995.