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The History of Glass Shower Doors

Glass shower doors offer a number of great advantages. They’re elegant and quite easy to clean. Owners never need to buy or replace vinyl liners. Unfortunately, many older homes lack glass doors and enclosures. This is true because they weren’t invented until the mid-20th century. Let’s take a look at the history of transparent shower doors and the supplies needed to manufacture them.

Durable Materials

Standard home window glass wouldn’t perform well in a shower stall. It shatters too easily, and hot water can cause cracks to appear. Luckily, a scientist from France invented safety glass in 1903. Edouard Benedictus found that manufacturers could prevent shattering by using a combination of cellulose nitrate and glass. This invention greatly improved the safety of products ranging from cookware to motor vehicles.

During the years between 1900 and 1910, scientists succeeded in developing additional glass formulas. A chemist in Austria created and patented a material known as tempered glass. Meanwhile, Benedictus discovered that he could enhance the durability of an object by combining polyvinyl butyral with two glass coatings. Numerous years would pass before anyone used this material to build a shower enclosure.

Early Glass Showers

A firm in Ohio was the first company to produce shower stalls with transparent doors and walls. In 1963, it began using tempered glass to make these enclosures. This material is at least 500 percent more rugged than a standard window with equivalent dimensions. Unlike some of today’s products, all of the early enclosures and entrances had frames.

Both swinging and sliding doors soon became available. Initially, people were attracted to their practical benefits. They prevented slippery floors and simplified maintenance. A transparent surface allowed plenty of light to enter the bathing area. However, homeowners eventually started to favor glass because they wanted more attractive and luxurious bathrooms. The next major trend reflected this desire.

Frameless Doors Introduced

In 1970, frameless shower doors and enclosures appeared on the market for the first time. A lack of metal and rubber makes them more visually appealing. People can easily see wall tiles without opening the door. Frameless designs also expedite cleaning. Owners encounter less mold and other grime because the smooth surface doesn’t provide spots where they can accumulate.

Frameless doors have remained available for more than four decades. Until recently, it was rare to find them outside of upper-class dwellings with modern architecture. They gained popularity among middle-class homeowners during the last decade. In early 2014, Apartment Therapy named frameless shower stalls among the top five bathroom trends. A shift toward showers and away from bathtubs has also benefited glass companies.

The history of Glass Castle goes back to 1990, when we started the business in a cellar and only had four staff members. Today, we operate three facilities and serve homeowners in two states. Our employees strive to diligently install high-quality products at affordable prices. We value every customer and consistently treat people with respect. If you’d like to upgrade your bathroom with a new shower door, please contact Glass Castle today.

Serving Neshanic Station and Lawrenceville.

843 Route 202 South
Neshanic Station, NJ 08853

1811 Princeton Avenue
Lawrenceville, NJ 08648

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