Glass Industry

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Glass Industry


the industry producing sheet glass, optical glass, glass fiber, household glassware, glass containers, various glass items and materials, and the glass used in construction, illuminating engineering, and electrical engineering.

The production of glass began in antiquity, and glassmaking became a craft in the Middle Ages. A marked increase in glass production was observed at the turn of the 20th century, especially in the United States, Great Britain, and France.

The first glassworks in Russia was built in 1635. On the eve of World War I, there were more than 200 enterprises, most of which were small-scale. Russian craftsmen gained world renown for their skill with cut glass.

During the period of Soviet power, glassmaking was converted into a highly developed industry. The volume of production rose by a factor of more than 20, and in 1974 output exceeded 7 million tons, compared with 320,000 tons in 1913. The USSR leads the world in the production of window glass.

A technological overhaul of the glass industry was carried out during the five-year plans preceding World War II, when the production of window glass was completely mechanized. Large plants for the production of sheet glass and glass bottles and containers were constructed, including the Dzerzhinskii Plant in Gus’-Khrustal’nyi, the M. V. Lomonosov Plant in Gomel’, the A. M. Gorky Plant in Bor, the plant in Lisichansk, and the three plants in Konstantinovka, namely, the October Revolution Glass Plant, Avtosteklo Glass Plant, and the Thirteen Martyred Workers Glass Plant. The industry was badly damaged during World War II, with productive capacity reduced on the average by 40–50 percent. The postwar period saw rapid growth and technological improvement in the production of all types of glass. Plants were constructed in Saratov, Anzhero-Sudzhensk (Kemerovo

Table 1. Production figures for certain types of glass products in the USSR
*Data not available
Window glass (million m2) ...............44.774.7147.2231.4257.6
Wire glass (million m2) ...............
Patterned glass (million m2) ...............
Profile glass (million m2) ...............1.292.61
Glass bricks (million pieces) ...............
Mosaic tile (million m2) ...............1.463.74
Plate glass (million m2) ...............0.350.263.918.1017.3
Glass containers (million pieces) ...............1542131,0212,7703,588
Bottles (million pieces) ...............5535701,1722,3262,834
Household glassware (million rubles) ...............*20.050.3137.1275.0
Table 2. Production of window glass in certain socialist countries (millions of m2)
Bulgaria ...............7.617.420.019.320.8
Czechoslovakia ...............15.514.922.621.122.4
German Democratic Republic ...............16.121.321.022.123.5
Hungary ...............
Poland ...............22.532.648.554.956.0
Rumania ...............18.828.845.263.969.2
Yugoslavia ...............227.618.017.016.6

Oblast), Magnitogorsk, L’vov, Chirchik (Uzbek SSR), Raichikhinsk (Amur Oblast), Panevežys (Lithuanian SSR), Tokmak (Kirghiz SSR), Kherson, Kerch’, and Kishinev.

The 1960’s and 1970’s have witnessed not only an increase in the output of traditional glass materials but also significant developments in the production of new types of items, such as glass bricks, molded glass, devitrified glass, glass ceramics, coated glass, facing tiles, heat-reflecting glass, materials made with glass fibers, and glass insulators and tubing. Production figures for glass products in the USSR are given in Table 1.

Beginning in the 1950’s and 1960’s, the glass industry also developed in other socialist countries. Glass production, in tons, in 1970 totaled 876,000 in Czechoslovakia, 844,000 in Poland, 478,000 in Bulgaria, 319,000 in Yugoslavia, 244,000 in Rumania, and 276,000 in Hungary. Poland is second in the world in production of window glass, and Czechoslovakia is second in per capita production of window glass. Molded glass and shatterproof glass are now being produced in Bulgaria, Hungary, and the German Democratic Republic, and glass bricks are produced in Hungary, the German Democratic Republic, and Poland. Poland has made great advances in the production of the glass used in technology and in chemical laboratories. In their rate of growth of the production of window glass, the European socialist countries lead the capitalist countries. Production figures for window glass in several socialist countries are given in Table 2.

Among the capitalist countries, the United States is the leading producer of glass. Glass production, in tons, in 1970 totaled 10,000,000 in the United States, 3,214,000 in Great Britain, 3,099,000 in the Federal Republic of Germany, more than 2,400,000 in France, 1,907,000 in Japan, 1,800,000 in Italy, and 855,000 in Belgium.


Tseitlin, M. A. Ocherkipo istorii razvitiia stekol’ noi promyshlennosti v Rossii. Moscow, 1939.
Brekhovskikh, S. M. Steklo za rubezhom: Proizvodstvo iprimenenie. Moscow, 1960.
“Stekol’naia promyshlennost’.” In Promyshlennost’ stroitel’nykh materialov v SSSR, 1917–1967. Edited by A. S. Boldyrev. Moscow, 1967.
Bondarev, K. T. Steklo v stroitel’stve. Kiev, 1969.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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