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Introducing “Talking Prompts”

As Glass Sellers, we are in a strong position effectively to be “Ambassadors for Glass”, whether it is in our engagement with liverymen of other companies in the City or within our day-to-day engagements at work or socially.

The Glass Committee will collate and share regular “Talking Prompts”: snippets of facts and figures about aspects of the wonderful and versatile world of Glass across the wider Glass industries, both day-to-day and the more unusual.

They will be promoted regularly on the WCGS website and its social media channels. Hopefully, they will be memorable, easy to assimilate by non-specialists as well as glass specialists and spark interest in general conversation … and thus help to support our role as Ambassadors for Glass.

Ambassador for Glass … Talking Prompts (#1)

WOBO Bottle

Category: Sustainability

WOBO Bricks

In 1962, Alfred Heineken, the Brewery’s Chairman, was so incensed by the level of glass bottles he saw strewn on beaches in the Caribbean, he asked an architect to design a bottle that could also be a useful building material. What transpired was the “World Bottle” (WOBO) with flat sides and rows of bumps on 2 sides to aid the grip for mortar when bottles are stacked as bricks. The short neck was designed to slot into the corresponding concave base of an adjacent bottle/brick.


  1. V&A
  2. The Heineken Collection
Ambassador for Glass … Talking Prompts (#2)

Optical Fibre

Category: Telecoms and technology

Optical fibers

Unnoticed by most of us, a gargantuan network of billions of kilometres of hair-thin glass optical fibres underpins today’s high-tech telecommunications and many of its modern conveniences. Optical fibres are immune to electromagnetic interference, and silica glass – the optical material in nearly all commercial installations – does a stellar job at transmitting light with little loss of signal, up to a given light-intensity level. To support ever-higher light levels, researchers are developing future fibres based on other materials including fluoride glass.

Some stats:

  • 4+ billion kms: length of optical glass fibre installed worldwide (approx. distance from Earth to Neptune)
  • 20 terabits/sec: data transfer rate of a single glass fibre link (equivalent to 4 million high definition video streams)
  • 500 million kms: approx. length of optical fibre manufactured annually (1)
  • $7 billion: projected value of global fibre optics market by 2024 (from $4.3bn in 2019) (2)


  1. John Ballato – professor of materials science and engineering at Clemson University, US
Ambassador for Glass … Talking Prompts (#3)

Materials that survive in Space

Category: Aerospace

Glass is one of the key materials used in spacecraft and satellite technology that can survive the unforgiving conditions of space, e.g. extreme temperature shifts; impacts from space debris; radiation; gravitation and pressure changes during launch. Other materials include Kevlar, reinforced carbon-carbon composite (RCC) and aluminium alloys, but examples of the use of glass are: thermal glass to protect astronauts from the pressures of space travel and both high and low temperatures around the windows; and black borosilicate glass coating applied to the Shuttle’s HRSI tiles (High-temperature Reusable Surface Insulation)


  1. What Materials Can Survive in Space?
  2. NASA