Business & Industry
Nov 30, 2015
From Sedan Chairs To Automobiles
Saint-Gobain has been in the glass business for a very long time. So long, in fact, that Saint-Gobain equipped its first "vehicle", the sedan chair of Louis XIV's architect, Jules Hardouin Mansart, in 1699.
Of course, glass had been around for centuries before that. It first appeared about 5000 years ago in the form of pearls and jewels in Mesopotamia. The Egyptians also worked with the substance from about 1500 BC.
The production of glass subsequently spread to the Mediterranean basin and the first known window was built on the coasts of that sea, in Pompeii. The composition of the glass used by Romans for their glazing was almost identical to that of glass today.
But it would take some time for glass to become a household object. The process of glassblowing, invented in the 1st Century BC for the production of hollow bodies, helped glassware to make its first forays into medieval homes.
Glass was still not a ubiquitous material until its production was industrialized in the 17th and 18th centuries, when it began to be used extensively in buildings and interior decoration. In 1688, the technique of pouring glass onto metal tables contributed to large-scale production. The process was initially better-suited to manufacturing mirrors, but gradually led to the industrial production of sheet glass.
In 1909, an accident led to the breakthrough of a key technique in glassmaking. French chemist Edouard Benedictus discovered the process of lamination by dropping a flask that had contained nitrocellulose in his laboratory. The shattered glass held together, instead of breaking apart.
Saint-Gobain Sekurit has been a leading manufacturer of car glazing for over 80 years. As part of the Saint-Gobain Group, they have access to more than 300 years of experience and know-how, and provide high added-value products and services on three markets:
Automotive glass originally installed by automakers (OEM); automotive glass replacement (aftermarket); glass for transport vehicles (buses, lorries, aeronautics)
With today's glazing technology, the car has become a living space. That is what fascinates Saint-Gobain: to be able to optimize your view. Innovations are part of their strategy and the key to their success: one out of two European cars is equipped with automotive glazing from Saint-Gobain Sekurit. For drivers and their passengers, this simply means an optimum driving experience with greater comfort, safety and security.
Saint-Gobain Sekurit offers a wide range of solutions in organic and mineral glazing as well as modular solutions easy to mount. Following the automotive trends, the company has developed 4 product families:
Environmental friendly products, in order to fulfil the regulations and provide CO2 reduction solutions. Thanks to Infra-red reflective, heated or super light glazing, the Saint-Gobain Sekurit solutions contribute to A/C consumption improvement.
Safety and security, by ensuring a perfect visibility in all weather conditions and protect passengers with laminated glazing.
Comfort, because the car is a living space and must contribute to its occupants' wellbeing. Silence and coolness are a must and Saint-Gobain Sekurit's products significantly contribute to it.
Design, to make the car a unique and styling object. Thanks to panoramic, complex designs and tailored assembling elements, glazing is a major contributor to design.
With a long international history, which began in France in 1665 when the Royal Glass Works was established, the Saint-Gobain Group is now the global leader on habitat and construction markets, providing innovative solutions to save energy and protect the environment. Saint-Gobain's activities include flat glass, high-performance materials, construction products and building distribution. As one of the top 100 industrial groups in the world, Saint-Gobain is an European and worldwide leader in all these business sectors. Headquartered in Paris, Saint-Gobain employs around 193,000 people in 64 countries, and is listed on the stock exchange in: Paris, London, Frankfurt, Brussels, Amsterdam, and Zurich.