Plate glass

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Plate Glass vase
MFA# 1996.217
Plate Glass photo
MFA# 1993.999.8


A strong, transparent sheet of glass that has very few, if any, distortions. Plate glass is typically composed of white Sand, Sodium carbonate, Limestone, Alumina, Manganese dioxide, and Cullet. It was mass produced by the Chance process introduced in the 1830s. The liquid glass was cast onto an iron table, then rolling it to a desired thickness. The large sheets were then ground and polished to produce a smooth, flat sheet. In 1959, the Float glass process was introduced that produced a continuous sheet of glass floating on a bed of molten tin. This eliminated the need for grinding and polishing and by 1993, 90% of the world's glass was made by the float process. Because plate glass is stronger than Pressed glass and does not have the distortions, it is used for mirrors, large windows, and building facades.

See also Insulated glass, Laminated glass, and Heat absorbing glass.

Synonyms and Related Terms

window glass; sheet glass; polished plate; plate-glass; verre plat (Fr.); chapa de vidro (Port.); cast glass; rolled glass; Herculite [PPG]; Solvex; Thermoplane; Tuf-Flex; Twindow

Physical and Chemical Properties

Plate glass is resistant to most acids, except hydrofluoric and phosphoric acids. Exposure to alkaline solution can damage glass.

Resources and Citations

  • K.Konrad, K. Wilson, W. Nugent, F.Calabrese, "Plate Glass", in Twentieth-Century Building Materials, T. Jester (ed.), McGraw-Hill: New York, 1995.
  • Thomas C. Jester (ed.), Twentieth-Century Building Materials, McGraw-Hill Companies, Washington DC, 1995 Comment: K.Konrad, K. Wilson, W. Nugent, F.Calabrese, "Plate Glass"
  • Edward Reich, Carlton J. Siegler, Consumer Goods: How to Know and Use Them, American Book Company, New York City, 1937
  • Dictionary of Building Preservation, Ward Bucher, ed., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York City, 1996
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 616