Americans to enjoy more light with glass block produced in Muncie


Publication: The Muncie Sunday Star

Muncie, IN, United States
vol. 52, no. 252, p. II:1;II:11, col. 2-4;6-7

Americans To Enjoy More Daylight in '36

As Houses of Glass Increase in Popularity




Offices of glass masonry This picture shows a typical office in the new headquarters of the Owens-Illinois Glass Company, Toledo, developer of the new translucent glass block, an improved water-clear construction unit which is attracting wide interest among architects and builders. One of its principle assets is its its ability to control light, bringing in as much as 86.6 per cent of exterior light without glare and giving perfect privacy. Masons lay up such block the same as ordinary brick.


America will enjoy more daylight in 1936.

Whether at home or at work, the populace of the country will have their lives brightened by an unprecedented abundance of solar illumination within dwelling, office and factory, since science has made possible the transmission of daylight through solid walls.

Years of scientific research with an age-old material has made possible this innovation and the next twelve months are destined to change the mode of living and working conditions for innumerable people.

For ages man has had to resort to solid walls to provide privacy within his sheltered abode and in so doing has shut out daylight. But the time has now arrived when walls can be more than just places to hang pictures and to hide objectionable outside views, such ans alley or commercial building. They can be striking expanses of water-clear glass block that admit an abundant flow of soft, diffused daylight and at the same time provide pleasant seclusion, for they are translucent but not transparent. Offering an entirely new style trend with accompanying utility advantages, glass blocks are attracting keen interest.

Available in numerous patterns, these glass blocks, developed by the Muncie division of the Owen-Illinois Glass Co., after years of scientific research, serve a dual purpose. They offer variance in wall design and fuse the outdoors with the indoors by transmitting daylight into the home in almost any quantity wanted.

Used as exterior walls, interior partitions, panels or pillars, glass blocks distribute diffused light throughout the home, transmitting as much as 86.5 per cent of the light falling upon their outside surface. In other words, an area of 1.15 or 1-117th square feet of one type of glass block admits daylight in quantity equal that of one square foot of window glass, yet it is not transparent. On the other hand the quantity of light transfusion may be reduced to as low as 11.7 per cent.


Variation of Lighting Effects.


To the additional credit of glass block are their light diffusing properties that prevent transmission of glaring and "spotty" sun rays that are detrimental to the eyes.

Used as interior partitions, glass blocks provide an unusual decorative touch in addition to distributing more light. One of the more popular interior applications is to encase the culinary division of the home. While admitting more daylight than is obtainable from other types of construction, the glass block partitions do not expose the kitchen to the views of those in an adjoining room.

This new material also offers an easy solution to the problem of obtaining adequate light in the bathroom without sacrificing privacy.

Shadowed, corners, common in most rooms, may be brightened with glass block comer panels with mirrored background and glass shelving set into them if a complete glass block wall or partition is not desired. This unique treatment illuminates the corner and at the same time provides additional space for ornamental or useful objects.

Other inside partitions, panels or pillars can be devised for beautiful effect either by cleverly arranged lighting directed against the glass masonry or by rear lighting. Variation of light effect can be achieved by use of colored electric light bulbs simply by changing from one color to another from time to time. Limitless panel designs for partitions or walls are possible by use of many different patterns or natural water-clear blocks.


Enhances Garden Fountains.


Another practical as well as decorative utilization of glass blocks is in the construction of a bar, either in the basement or some nook in another part of the home. All that is required is a glassy block bar front and a wooden counter laid atop the glass block base. This is an inexpensive treatment with luxurious results. To further enhance the appearance of the bar, plain or colored electric light bulbs may be placed behind the glass block bar front. Flasher bulbs of several colors installed in the same manner provide a unique lighting effect.

Glass block, exterior walls for stairway sections of the home or apartment building are economical applications in that they reduce the cost of artificial illumination during the day. At night an exterior decorative effect results from the interior lighting.

Even the basement of the home is no exception in the relentless trend of glass masonry. Laundries, furnace rooms and storage space, may be lighted through glass block partitions.

Because of their sound-deadening properties, glass blocks are ideal for recreation rooms.

Aside from its adaption in construction of a home or apartment building, glass masonry offers many advantages in adding to the impressive beauty of the garden of the home or courtyard of the modern apartment house. It enhances the beauty of garden fountains when used as a splash wall and base for the fountain. Colored lights, standard or flasher type played on the glass masonry through mist from the fountain spray produces a colorful night garden setting with all the exquisite hues of the rainbow.

Garden paths bordered with glass blocks protect the walks from lawn drainage and add a touch of refinement to the garden.

Put to Wide Variety of Uses.

Both courtyards and gardens may be made more pleasant by replacing fences with glass block walls, which not only give impressive beauty, but shut off the view of outsiders and at the same time let light through for the benefit of low-growing plants and shrubs.

An infinite number of applications will suggest themselves to the imaginative designer, far beyond the scope of any tabulation that might be attempted. However, among the many projects in which glass blocks are being specified are homes, apartment buildings, hospitals, schools, industrial buildings, mausoleums, store fronts, dairies, breweries, laboratories and power plants.

The utility advantages of this new material include light transmission, insulation against heat and cold, light diffusion, and, sanitation. Being resistant to fire, glass blocks reduce fire hazards, providing greater protection of life against ravaging flames. They prevent passage of air and gases, are impervious to the attacks of moisture, vermin, acids, and will not absorb odor or grease.

As to their structural strength, tests made by Purdue University revealed that they withstood pressure of 72,500 pounds in compression teats. They also withstood ultimate pressure of 2,000 pounds to the square inch, although the most stringent codes require only 700 pounds for the same area.

This new glass masonry is not classed as a luxury, as one uninformed might think. In fact. It is lower in cost than other glass masonry construction and compares favorably with costs of ordinary good; quality construction material.

Keywords:Hemingray : Owens-Illinois Glass Company
Researcher notes:Article is in section II of the newspaper
Supplemental information: 
Researcher:Roger Lucas / Bob Stahr
Date completed:September 3, 2009 by: Bob Stahr;