Laminated Glass is a type of safety glass.

Like many other inventions, laminated glass was discovered by accident. In 1903, a Chemist called Edouard Benedictus dropped a glass flask off a table. The glass in the flask cracked and broke, but the pieces didn't fly everywhere - instead, they remained joined together in the original shape. He realised this was because of a layer of collodion (a sticky viscous solution) on the inside of the flask.

Hence was born the idea of bonding layers of glass and plastic together. The glass provides the overall strength and surface hardness, with the plastic holding the brittle glass together if it cracks.

Benedictus created the first "triplex" glass using a letterpress, formed of two layers of glass sandwiching a layer of plastic. He received a patent for this safety glass in 1909.

The first widespread use of this was in World War 1 as the eyepieces on gas masks. Since the 1920's, it has been used for the windshields in cars. The specific inner plastic layer has changed but the principle remains the same.

Car windshields are usually just 3 layers (glass, plastic, glass). However, by bonding more layers together, you can make glass which is even stronger. This is how bulletproof glass is often made. Today, laminated glass is used in all situations when you need something with the hard, polishable, scratch resistant surface of glass, but without its brittle, shatterable nature.

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