Float glass

In 1959, the Englishman Alastair Pilkington (1920-1995), who was the technical director of the Pilkington Glass Company, filed a patent for a new method of mass-producing plate glass in large formats. He had developed the method in the 1950s with Kenneth Bickenstaff.

The method made it possible for a very long ribbon of glass to move over a bath of molten tin. This allowed the production of glass that was completely smooth on both sides with a surface free of optical distortions. The groundbreaking method drove all other machine-drawn glass methods out of competition and contributed to making Pilkington Glass Company the world's leading manufacturer of flat and safety glass. For the record: although they shared a surname, Alastair Pilkington was not related to the company's founders.