Even today most of a workshop’s equipment is made of glass.
Why? Because glass can withstand no matter how much a corrosive acid attacks it, and so the scientists in a lab are safe even if something caustic, something oxidizing is what they are testing with their equipment. It’s actually inorganic matter and it doesn’t contain carbon. What happens in that case; the material is fireproof. If you think about it, fiberglass is what people weave those impressive that we’ve all seen since if you put it in front of a flame, the fiberglass won’t burn…
So, this is Fiberglass or “glass fiber” which is actually what we understand from the terms: something made up of thin fibers and glass. The synthetic material is more… officially even called fiber-reinforced polymers (FRP) although we’ve learned to call it “fiberglass” all of us. Apart from the special blankets we mentioned, fiberglass can be found in insulation, as reinforcement for other polymer materials, in industrial fabrics that are resistant to heat, to wear and tear.
In another age, of bold people
Glass fiber production has been around for hundreds of years. In 1893, Mr. Edward Drummond Libbey presented at the World’s Columbian Exposition a dress with glass fibers in its weave, fibers with a diameter similar to that of silk fibers. Although it was not what we have come to call “fiberglass” today, it was a start.
Edward Drummond Libbey (1854-1925) and his wife Florence Scott Libbey (1863-1938), ca. 1901.
In 1932, Mr. Dale Kleist, a researcher, discovered by accident-as has been done for many materials we use today-that sending compressed air through liquefied glass creates a mass of glass fibers.
Mr. Dale Kleist
The researcher accidentally released air into glass, turning it into multiple thin glass fibers, a discovery that originally brought us and one of the many uses of fiberglass that provides us with insulation as today fiberglass is widely used and is probably the most popular insulating material in the world.
The first commercial production of fiberglass came in 1936. In 1938, the Glass Company and Corning Glass Works joined forces to create the Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corporation and succeeded in producing the so-called “continuous filament glass fibers”. Owens-Corning is still a major producer of fiberglass today with the product being produced under the trade name Fiberglas, a trademarked name.
However, the manufacture of the material and its production in incredible quantities for all the above roles would never have been achieved if it had not been for the era of production machinery, the “machine-tooling” that changed all our lives…