Flat drawn glass

In 1901-1902 the Belgian engineer Èmile Fourcault (1862-1919) and Èmile Gobbe developed a prototype for a machine for preparing cylinder glass in the family's glass factory in Dempreny. The machine consisted of several large rollers that vertically drew the glass flat. The dimensions could reach 40 x 11 metres (about 130 x 36 feet).

A patent for the method was registered in 1904, but the actual production and marketing of the machine-drawn glass didn't begin until 1914-15. Glass manufactures using the ”Fourcault method” reduced optical distortions, but they could not be completely eliminated. It remained the most widespread method of producing window glass until the introduction of Pilkington Brothers' ”float glass” in 1959.

Similar methods for the production of flat glass were developed in the USA at around the same time as the Fourcault method. One of them was the ”Pittsburgh method”, which bore a great similarity to the Fourcault method. The other, called the  ”Colburn method”, was somewhat different: here, the molten glass was drawn up vertically from the drawing chamber, then bent over a roller to a horizontal position.