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So in every apocalyptic setting/scenario that I've seen in films, books and games, whether that is a nuclear holocaust, war, monsters taking over the world, or otherwise, in almost every building the glass in the windows and doors is shattered and broken (and nobody bothers fixing this most of the time.) This got me thinking- How easy is it to make glass, assuming I am a glass maker with the equip I need on hand?

As a lead-on question, how common would the raw materials for making glass be?

To clarify, I mean sheet glass, the glass used in building construction.

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    $\begingroup$ "How easy is it to make glass, assuming I have no knowledge of the process?" Impossible of course. $\endgroup$ – Raditz_35 Aug 17 '18 at 19:38
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    $\begingroup$ How easy is it to make flat transparent glass panes? In the antiquity only emperors could afford transparent glass windows. In the middle ages, the price of flat transparent glass panes decreased a little, so extraordinarily rich noblemen could afford them too. By the early modern period, flat glass panes came into the reach of rich commoners (merchants and professionals). By the 19th century, ordinary factory workers could afford transparent glass windows. And if one has no knowledge of the process then it is impossible to make glass, obviously. $\endgroup$ – AlexP Aug 17 '18 at 19:45
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    $\begingroup$ modern windows use "float glass", which is made by floating liquid glass on top of specific liquid metal at specific temperature, which is a complicated industrial setup that probably relies on substantial electric power. In post-apocalyptic setting, it is definitely easier to scanvenge for unbroken glass. $\endgroup$ – Bald Bear Aug 17 '18 at 19:54
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    $\begingroup$ Related: How early can transparent glass windows be easily available? $\endgroup$ – Alexander Aug 17 '18 at 19:55
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    $\begingroup$ "glass maker with the equip I need on hand" - for sheet glass, it has to be a full factory. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Aug 17 '18 at 20:10
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despite what everyone said, if the ancient Romans could have glass windows in their houses, and drink from goblets made of glass (some of which were highly ornate) then your people in a dystopian society can make glass fairly easily. It might be best to recycle already made glass, assuming a supersonic blast didn't shatter all glass within range. what a previous commenter said about glass and liquid metal only applies if you wish to make mirrors. the older variations of glass was blown glass. flattened into a form to make a pane, which is why panes were so small and sometimes appeared bubbled. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glass this is a fairly interesting article, and you can even see an example of roman era glass, and far more informative than anything I can tell you as I'm not a glass artisan myself. you might also get a better idea of the technology needed to work with glass. Also, this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stained_glass might tell you more of how they did it before modern technology, though you don't have to have colored glass, the principle of the things is similar. this may also tell you more about the methods. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glassblowing

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Assuming you are a glass maker (and glazier) with all relevant equipment on h and - how are you going to power your furnaces post-apocalypse to get the correct and consistent temperature required to melt the metal underlay required for float-glass? It's ticklish work with the right equipment, training and power supply - with dodgy power (power dips, non square-wave current etc etc) it will go from quite challenging to damned hard pretty easily. One could surmise flat plate glass will once again become the province of only emperors and super-rich warlords.

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    $\begingroup$ On the other hand, people have been making glass objects since the Bronze Age. You don't need terribly high tech to make it and glass is basically just melted sand. Reproducing the highly fussy dimensions of modern double pane windows would be a chore, but producing glass objects of the type used in Medieval churches (including stained glass windows made of a mosaic of chips and shards of glass), for example, is not terribly challenging. Lots of people with art studios and minimum formal training do this on a garage scale setup. $\endgroup$ – ohwilleke Aug 17 '18 at 22:54
  • $\begingroup$ Other alternatives would be to use something similar to block glass, or to stack bottles or tubes of glass on atop the other in lieu of sheet glass which is harder to make with some sort of glue or mortar between blocks/bottles/tubes. $\endgroup$ – ohwilleke Aug 17 '18 at 23:11
  • $\begingroup$ @ohwilleke - agreed - and I myself have done some stained glass work... but I was, as most of the answerers were, going from the OP's question - especially that last qualifying line: "...To clarify, I mean sheet glass, the glass used in building construction..." And in that specific case, trust me, the technical requirements are quite high. As another answer already detailed, prior to float glass, the Medieval and Renaissance methods of producing window glass involved skilled artisans with specific techniques, infrastructure and tools. $\endgroup$ – GerardFalla Aug 20 '18 at 16:26

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