Glass Canada

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Editorial: April 2009

Pop quiz


April 30, 2009
By Chris Skalkos

I recall a conversation I had several years ago with an architect who
had an unorthodox way of testing the knowledge of glass sales
representatives who visited him.

I recall a conversation I had several years ago with an architect who had an unorthodox way of testing the knowledge of glass sales representatives who visited him. Prior to the sales presentation he would ask the rep two basic questions: “What is glass made of? How was it invented?”

He said that he posed these questions because he wanted to see if the sales reps were selling the product or if they were just selling a brand name according to a scripted sales pitch.

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Glass is an amazing product. Of course, if you work in the industry you already know that, but how much do you really know about the product that you sell or work with every day?

Let’s see.
True or False?
Glass is composed of silica sand, lime and soda.
True or False?
Glass is a solid material.
True or False?
Large area vision glass was first introduced in the 1950s by Alastair Pilkington.

Glass was first invented by:
(a) The Venetians in the 13th century
(b) The Romans around 44 BC
(c) The Babylonians around 250 BC
(d) The Egyptians around 1500 BC
(e) The Phoenicians around 5000 BC

How did you do? I know I flunked it faster than a Grade 10 math test. If you didn’t get 100 per cent you can join me in the detention hall after class, or you can flip to Frank Fulton’s column in this issue titled “Glass for Dummies.”

As a new columnist to Glass Canada this is only his second article and I believe it’s a valuable one. Over the years I have read a lot about the history of glass, but never in such a concise and easy-to-read article.

This complex product has a rich history as impressive as the building envelopes it helps to enclose. I think it’s important that all glass professionals, whether they are making glass, installing it or selling it, have a thorough understanding of the product that is the basic substance of their livelihood.

If you can’t impress an architect with this knowledge, you can at least impress friends at a cocktail party. Failing that, you can join me in the detention hall.

Answers:
False: Five per cent is made up of about 50 other chemical elements to affect colour, viscosity or durability.

False: Its physical structure does not conform to liquid, solid or gas. It is actually more of a liquid than a solid, described by The American Society for Testing and Materials as having “…the random atomic arrangement of liquid but which somehow has been frozen in place…”

False: Louis Lucas de Nehou perfected a technique for the production of “cast polished plate” glass in 1688 making large vision areas possible.

(e): It was the Phoenicians who first invented glass, but others also contributed to its evolution as the product we know today.


Clarification:
An article in the February issue referenced only one company that offers heated glass products with UL approval. In fact, Prelco Inc., in Rivere-Du-Loup, Que., also offers a “heated glazed window, model Prel-Therm,” which achieved UL certification in 2006.


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