Understanding Display Case Glass Terminology

Custom Queen Anne Display Case - The Old Christmas Station (1)When purchasing a display case it is important to know if the glass in the case is going to meet your display needs.  There are several different types of glass.  For your safety it is important to know what type of glass is used in the display cases you will be purchasing whether it be a horizontal counter display, tower, pedestal or wall mounted case.

Types of Glass

Annealed Glass

Annealed glass (also referred to as Plate Glass or Float Glass) is the same type of glass used in windows. Unfortunately, if the glass is broken it breaks into sharp shards which are very dangerous. Some other company's horizontal display cases the glass on the front and sides are plate glass.

We spoke to a store that had a grandchild run into a large glass front on a display case in their store.  They saw the glass flex making them afraid it was going to break.  He didn’t know what type of glass it was.   If the glass was plate glass the child could have been severely injured by the sharp shards of plate glass. Fortunately, the glass didn’t break and the child was okay.  He eventually found out the glass was annealed glass and had it replaced with tempered glass.

Most of the inexpensive display cases imported from China will have annealed glass on the front and sides.  Hopefully they will have tempered glass on the top and sliding doors but this isn’t always the case.

Broken Anneal Glass in Display Case

 

How Annealed Glass Is Made

The glass goes through one heating process and then is cooled.  Because of the way the plate glass is fabricated it has no grain or breaks into sharp shards.

Annealed Glass Graphic

Tempered GlassBroken Tempered Glass

How Tempered Glass Is Made

Tempered glass is made in a similar manner to Plate/Annealed Glass, however, the difference is that the glass is reheated tempering it which hardens it.  It also realigns the molecules so that if the glass breaks it breaks into small multi-sided pieces which is much safer than sharp shards.

All of our cases at Display Smart are made with tempered glass unless otherwise requested.

Toughened Glass Diagram

Laminated Safety Glass

Laminated Safety Glass holds together when shattered due to a film of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) or ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA) that is laminated between two layers of glass.  This is the same type of glass that is used in automobile windows.  If broken, the inner layer softens the blow and prevents the glass from separating.  Laminated Safety Glass can be designed to withstand bullets by using multiple layers of glass and inter layer film.  Usually laminated glass is used to avoid visual distortion that can happen with tempered glass.

Laminated Glass

Some drawback to Laminated Safety Glass first is the cost and second is that it is time consuming to cut.  Each side of the glass needs to be scored (scratched) exactly opposite of where it is to be cut then the film cut.  Laminated Safety Glass is one way to slow down “smash & grab” thieves when used in jewelry display cases.

UV Blocking Glass (Conservation Grade UV Protection Glass)

We designed some Queen Anne display cases for a Christmas Store in Michigan.  They set up a museum to house antique Christmas ornaments and Christmas Cards.  It was important to them to protect their collection from deteriorating from Ultraviolet light.  We were able to find for them glass with a laminated film that blocked the UV light.  The manufacturer claims their film eliminates between 96% and 99% of UV light.

TVDiagram_MuseumGlass

If you are ever in Michigan you might want to stop by and see a unique Christmas Museum, The Old Station Christmas Store 100 S. Main Street, Frankenmuth, MI 48734  The owners have a wonderful collection of antique Christmas Ornaments and Christmas Cards in some, if I don’t mind saying, some beautiful Queen Anne display cases that we built for them.

Custom Queen Anne Display Case - The Old Christmas Station (4)

If you have questions about glass used in display cases please don’t hesitate to call and talk to one of our designers. If we don’t know the answer we will be glad to do some research or point you to a glass expert to answer your questions.

We build our cases to order, and work with our clients' needs. If you would like to customize the glass on your display cases to specialize showcasing your merchandise, please click here and fill our a form for custom cases and we'd gladly help.

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