laminated crystals

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Learn about the history of glass lamination. An invention almost 70 years old

When we think about installing laminated glass in cars, we usually fix the memory in the eighties and nineties. Those in which the echoes of Koenig Specials resounded from Germany, inciting a whole youth to tuning who saw the virtue of motorsport in such colorful and ineffective modifications. But nevertheless, the truth is that laminated crystals see their origin in a very different context: the one from the golden age of Detroit's greats. Right in the XNUMXs, during which the most spectacular automobiles in the history of the United States appeared.

Far from equipping the reigning Opel Calibras in disco parking lots, laminated glass was first mounted on Chevrolet, Buick or Cadillac of the late XNUMXs. A panoply of big brands that, in fact, extended to the memorable Packard, absorbed from those by the giant General Motors, which offered EZ-Eye Safety Glass as an option on all models of its subsidiaries.

Huge, with easy access to the cabin and a simple and relaxing drive, the great Americans of the moment did not skimp on the introduction of extras for a journey "Living room with wheels". Something in which laminated glass fits perfectly, since they allowed a more refreshing environment for passengers, freeing them from direct exposure to a sun that, along long highways such as Route 66, could make even the most seasoned end up with the occasional heatstroke. A first advantage that extended the use of EZ-Eye Safety Glass to thousands of cars of the moment.


Protection from the sun is a first obvious advantage. However, the installation of glass laminate in the XNUMXs was not only done for convenience. In fact, it was done primarily for security. Something that is marked in the very name of the subsidiary that produced the plates for General Motors: EZ-Eye Safety Glass. A Toledo, Ohio supplier with an eye on safety for various reasons. The first has to do with the large amount of glare responsible for not a few accidents. In fact, many of the sheets were not full glass, but were only placed on top of it to avoid the lack of visibility caused by a point of light in the opposite position.

The second has to do with safety in case of glass breakage. Something that, fortunately, we have been forgetting thanks to the advances in safety, but that of those was a real nightmare in the event of a crash. And is that not a few passengers were beheaded by large pieces of glass acting as a guillotine. A scabrous statistic accompanied by another that acted in the long term, since cases of death from cancer were registered years after accidents in which dozens of small pieces of glass were lodged under the skin of the injured.

Chilling reminders of the need to improve safety from glass breakage. Something that the glass laminate was involved in sealing the glass, causing them to break in a controlled way, far from forcefully expelling hundreds of small splinters or large pieces with a sharp profile. Cases so bloody that Perry Mason himself was booked to promote EZ-Eye Safety Glass alongside his secretary Della Street and homicide detective Arthur Tragg. All characters from the popular crime series based on the novels by Stanley Gardner.


“EZ-Eye has a special chemical composition that filters out a high percentage of solar radiation, giving the security moon a nice greenish-blue tint, preventing heat from being thrown on you. It's the best after air conditioning ”. This is how glass laminate was advertised in the XNUMXs, insisting on resistance to sunlight but also on safety. Advantages of these films made from polyester substrate, which are different from tinted glass, since the latter come in one piece while the laminate is based on adhering this extra to the moon.

An extra that, over the decades, has gained ground to the point of being common in most series cars. Something influenced by another advantage not mentioned so far: privacy. That if, always keeping in mind that the law prohibits laminating the windshield and front side windows. Gaps where, despite passing sunlight without a filter, not enough enters to cancel out the drop in temperature produced inside the vehicle thanks to the laminated windows. Another advantage, since in this way the plastics and upholstery of the car will tend to a better conservation.

A series of characteristics that, although many call them newcomers and therefore far from the world of classics, they are actually an upgrade already massively installed in General Motors cars almost 70 years ago. You know, even the shrewd criminalist from Los Angeles wore them.

Photographs: EZ-Eye.

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The Escudería

Written by The Escudería

'La Escudería' is the first Hispanic digital magazine dedicated to Vintage Vehicles. We give all kinds of machinery that moves by itself: From cars to tractors, from motorcycles to buses and trucks, preferably powered by fossil fuels ...


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