The float glass process, also known as the Pilkington process, was developed by Sir Pilkington in 1952, and involves feeding a ribbon of molten glass from a furnace onto a bath of molten tin. This process produces a sheet of glass with a uniform thickness and a very smooth surface.
The glassblowing technique was first used around the first century BCE, and deals with the inflation of molten glass into a bubble by using a blowpipe. Throughout time, this process was further developed into two main techniques: mold blowing and free blowing.
The glass industry is a continuously growing one. Global demand for fabricated flat glass is growing at a fast pace, and is expected to reach 139,900 million U.S. dollars in 2023, more than double its value since 2008. More than two-thirds of the overall flat glass production is used in construction, with the rest used in the automobile industry and other assorted uses. China, Western Europe, and North America are the regions with the highest demand for glass.
In the United States the glass manufacturing gross output has remained stable, having increased only marginally from 22.5 billion U.S. dollars in 1998 to 26.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2016. The U.S. demand for flat glass is projected to increase gradually, with the demand for advanced flat glass projected to be 795 million square feet in 2019.