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Windows, Part 13

The raw materials are mixed and then heated to 2,900 degrees F. They often use more natural gas to fire the furnaces than the glass company factory town uses for all the people living in it (even 15,000 people).

The liquid glass is then floated on a pool of liquid tin. The glass spreads out into a smooth layer. The glass comes off the tin at 1,200 degrees F. It is then allowed to cool very slowly with air blowers as it is rolled out over stainless steel rollers. When the glass cools to a temperature of about 600 degrees the blowers are turned off and the glass cools naturally. The glass travels more than 1,000 feet in one long ribbon.

When the glass cools to about 140 degrees F. it can be cut. To cut the glass they cannot stop the ribbon so the “cutter” moves at an angle … moving with the glass and scoring the glass as it moves. No, the “cutter” does not actualy cut the glass, it only makes a weak spot that lets the glass break along that line. Later, the glass will be rolled over a slight bump and the glass will snap along the score line and into perfect rectangles.

Some of these factories easily produce 30 tons of glass an hour and need 2,000 tons of raw materials a day. These factories can easily produce over 12 miles of glass in a single day.

Once everything is working right, the factories are not turned off. They run 24 hours a day and seven days a week for decades.

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