The Global Glass Gathering

A clever mix of decorative glass and mirror at 90 degree angles made a tiny coffee knook appear expansive.

If there were Nobel prizes awarded to regions of the world for the innovative use of glass, it wouldn’t be hard to choose the winners in any category. Best innovative use of glass/exterior—In general, you have to give that to the buildings of the Middle East, given the amazing designs we’ve seen in Qatar, Bahrain, the U.A.E. The designs of these buildings are truly imagineers with a magic wand of glass in their hands. Best use of energy-efficient glass—I am going with the Scandinavians, because they have been the market leaders in the adoption of highly energy-efficient glass. Even triple glazing is de rigueur there. Best innovative use of glass/interior—My… Read More »


We are in the midst of the fall show season as I write this, as it seems just about every industry group holds its show from mid-September to mid-November. Everyone in my family knows that I leave after Labor Day and return right before Thanksgiving, with a few “stop-overs” home in between. If you are going to glasstec in Dusseldorf next month, I hope you will stop and see us in hall 13 stand A102. If you are not attending glasstec but hitting Greenbuild instead, we’d love to meet up with you at booth #1829. Or if you will be at Win-door in Toronto in November, please visit us in booth #1312…. Read More »

Happy Harbingers


Everyone has his or her own indicators of the future. Whether it’s of good things to come or bad things to watch out for, we have a unique set of harbingers that we swear by. Some are solid economic indicators, and others are not—but they always prove true. Well, mine relates directly to GlassBuild America 2014, which came to a close last Thursday, and it is this: The residential growth (or contraction) of our business always preceeds the commercial. In short, if you know what’s going on with the door and window end of the business, fast forward 16-18 months, and you’ll see the same on the commercial side. Oh, the… Read More »

Still Vegas, Baby!

The Ramapo/Kommerling booth won a daily prize for merging two companies in a stand with a Euro-American feel

The GlassBuild America show opened Tuesday in the only city in the world that could pull off having an Atomic Bomb Testing museum and an Organized Crime Museum less than three miles from each other. Las Vegas is just that kind of town. And what about the show being held at the Las Vegas Convention Center? Well … it’s a pretty darn good one so far. The traffic has been steady and the mood optimistic. It’s been especially nice to see the return of some European-style booths scattered amid the usual inline ones and to see machinery manufacturers actually displaying machinery again. Though the machines’ presence is smaller than is… Read More »

The 33rd

33 glass

I woke up this morning at 3:33 a.m. Eastern time. For reasons I’ll explain, I’d already been thinking about the number 33. Then, true story, it was the first thing that loomed in front of my very sleepy eyes—in a weird sort of prophetic double vision. So I decided to see if little old 33 had any additional significance. Now, 7, 13, 100, those are numbers that have history and get respect. But what about 33? Does it have any claims to fame? Turns out it does. It’s rather infamous in mathematics being that 33 is a number and all. It’s the smallest sum of two positive numbers, each of which… Read More »

No Paved Paradise, No Parking Lot

The city of Cartegena Spain is home to ruins that date back to the pre-roman era. These are its most famous Roman ruins, its theater

It was the smallest city in Spain that I got to visit, and I was warned there would be “a few things to see,” but nothing like a Barcelona or Madrid. Yet for me, the visit to the city of Cartagena on the Southeastern Coast of Spain was the highlight of the trip. And of course, it was the glass that made it so. It all began with the tour guide, Irena. She told a very American story of capitalism with a true Spanish flavor. It seems a local businessman had bought a piece of downtown property with the goal of building a desperately-needed parking lot in the southwestern part… Read More »

Windows to the (Old) World

A little bit San Fran, a little bit Rio: The statue of the Redeemer in the background is the only clue your not looking at the Golden Gate Bridge but the main Bridge in Lisbon.

It was a beautiful scene. To the East was a five-sail boat in the harbor, under a silhouette of the Golden Gate bridge. The Western view was of tightly packed streets, built on gentle but sloping hills that rose up to a high and distorted degree. But more than this, it was a reminder of how small the world is and how quickly technology travels. The beautiful view of San Francisco was anything but—anything but San Francisco, that is. It was actually Lisbon, Portugal. Ever since I’d read A Hero’s Life, Richard Ben Carter’s biography of Joe DiMaggio years ago, I’ve known that great portions of San Francisco were settled… Read More »

Viva el Vidrio en Valencia!


If Barcelona, the second-largest city in Spain, is notable for its dearth of glass in design, then Valencia is just notable for its explosion of glass. Spain’s third-largest city is a mere three-hour ride southwest along the coast from Barcelona, yet they are thousands of kilometers apart when measuring how each city embraces glass. Madrid may signify power and Barcelona the arts, but Valencia has crafted an image as a modern city of the future while still paying homage to the past. And that amalgamation gives the 2052-year old city a decidedly adventurous spirit. Valencia pays homage to the history of glass–and ceramics–through its National Ceramics Museum, El Museo Nacional… Read More »

Did God’s Architect Hate Glass?

"Gods Architect" Antoni Gaudi

Antoni Gaudí i Cornet, or just “Gaudi,” as most of us know him, overwhelms the city of Barcelona like Lebron James overwhelms Cleveland. His power is unassailable and, though entirely distinct, his influence is so large that he and the city have become synonymous. His work helps define the city. I just wonder why he hated glass. The story of Antoni Gaudi is quixotic in nature. An architect who became defined by the distinctive type of building he designed, Gaudi spent most of his life designing projects in Barcelona and throughout Spain, and his distinctive style is instantly recognizable. His signature project, and life’s work, became the completion of his… Read More »

Europe Through a Glass Eye


I have been lucky enough to spend a good bit of time this month traveling throughout Europe.  And hidden among the typical tourist sights–monuments, cathedrals, museums, little cafes with potent espressos and flaky pastries–came some lessons for a lifetime. Seeing so much rich and long history reminded me how “new” we, as a country, are. No wonder the rest of the world looks at the U.S. as its impetuous teenager, combining a lack of substance and context with unbounded energy and optimism. The biggest thing this trip did was bring history alive. It moved what I had learned through books and in school from one dimension to high definition 3D, and… Read More »