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Recently, while looking at the vibrant lights of Hong Kong through a bus window, I noticed for the eleven-millionth time those little dots and that black band running along the edge of the glass. “What are these?” I wondered. So when I got home, I called up a major automotive glass manufacturer to find out.
To get a definitive answer, I rang up Pilkington, a United Kingdom-based company that’s been in the glass business since 1826. I figured that they—especially since they’re now part of major Japanese glass company Nippon Sheet Glass Co., a huge player in the auto industry— could surely give me some answers.
Phone - Man - Rick - Years - Car
And they did. I spoke on the phone with a man named Rick, who told me he had spent many years working with car glass. Rick knows all.
Rick told me that the black band around the edge of the glass is called “frit,” a baked-in ceramic paint that’s essentially impossible to scrape off. That frit band along the edge of the glass, he told me, serves three main purposes.
Prevents - Rays - Sealant - Matters - Sealant
Most importantly, it acts to prevents ultraviolet sun rays from deteriorating the urethane sealant. That matters, because the sealant doesn’t just keep rain out of the car, it actually holds the glass in place. The last thing you want is the sun to cook your adhesive, and send your window flying out the next time you hit a speed bump.
The frit band also acts to provide a rougher surface for that adhesive to stick to, and it’s a visual barrier, preventing people from seeing that nasty glue from outside.
Rick - Auto - Manufacturers - Gaskets - Windows
Rick told me that auto manufacturers used to use gaskets to keep windows sealed from the elements, and over top of that gasket, they’d fasten chrome trim to prevent the windshield from rattling out. In the ‘50s and ‘60s, as...
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