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What is the Strongest Type of Glass?

Broken glass of a jewelry case.
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The Case of the Novel Novelist

Dear Glass Detective:

I’m working on a novel and am in search of education on windows for a scene I’d like to create. It involves a high art jewelry designer who works out of a studio in her home. The room is 40 feet long. It faces East. I’d like to have several large windows to bring in the morning light and show the view of Lake George in Upstate New York. The windows would need to be of sufficient strength to provide unquestionable security. The character has a safe, but the content of the room (equipment, tools etc.) is still of great value. My uneducated ponderance… would it be possible to have a several layers thick laminate glass as a sturdy deterrent to thieves? I appreciate your help. Oh and I love the Holmesian attire detective.


Cathleen S.
Broome County, NY

Impact-Resistant Glazing

Dear Cathleen,

Thank you for contacting the Glass Detective with your question about what glass would be appropriate for security purposes when valuables are involved. Given the scenario you describe, a good glass professional (similar albeit not identical to the Glass Detective) would recommend the use of heavy laminated glass panels pretty much identical to what is used in “hurricane zones”. This is what is known as “impact glazing.” If maximum security is desired, “bullet-resistant glass” which is typically four to five layers thick with heavy PVB interlayers between the glass panes, could also be used. The framing for these systems is also custom to accommodate the thickness of the panel and also the weight (often 1-3/16” thick at 16-17 lbs/sq. ft.) of the glass.

Another option would be compositions made of polycarbonate and glass. These glass-clad polycarbonates are lighter and often used in security applications such as jails and prisons. Size limitations could prevent it from being a good selection for a large room with oversized windows. So I’ll stay with the multiple layered laminated glass (impact-resistant glazing) as my choice.

As for your comment regarding the Glass Detective’s “Holmesian attire”, that was not his idea. The Glass Detective actually likes to think of himself as more of a Columbo-type. However, his grandchildren believe he is more of a Clouseau-type. Good luck with the novel, Cathleen, and when your novel becomes a movie and they are looking for the guy to play the detective that analyzes the glass, I’m available and work cheap. I hope this is of some help to you and thank you again for contacting

Happy Writing,
The Glass Detective

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Lyle Hill

Lyle Hill has been in the glass and metal industry for more than 40 years. In this time he has managed glass retail, contract glazing, mirror, architectural window, window film, and automotive glass businesses throughout America. He obtained an MBA from IIT with a focus on Technology and Engineering Management. Hill is also a columnist for glass industry trade magazines and often called the “face” of the glass industry. He has also authored books including “The Broken Tomato and Other Business Parables,” which is available through Amazon. Find out more about Lyle on Linkedin.

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One Response

  1. I am thrilled about the detail and am adding you to my growing list of experts to be thanked. Making notes on casting dreams as well. 🙂

    A trench coat works well for Columbo or Clouseau. Bonus points for entertaining your grandchildren, though.

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