From the Fabricator: Glass World Cup Kicks Off

Week one of the World Cup of Glass is now underway. Here’s the set up: I selected 12 countries and broke them into three groups. Each week I’ll look at the four countries in that division and then decide on a winner. Then four weeks from now we’ll break down the final three. So, to kick it off, this week’s group is Germany, Finland, Canada, and Israel. (And if you are keeping score at home, as I know all of you are, the other two groups are USA, Russia, Spain and Japan; and China, Italy, Korea and Mexico).

The first group really has some serious players. Germany brings in the precision equipment that comes with so much respect, but how much have they done with regards to glass products and efficiency? Germany is also tremendous code wise (and I wish the United States would follow), as well as the host of the big glasstec show every other year. Finland is another machinery star. So many of us in this industry grew up on tempering ovens made there, plus Finland has the education side with Glass Processing Days (now Glass Performance Days). Canada is a favorite of mine because I love the people there; 99 percent of them are as classy and cool as they come, and there’s been some solid technology coming from the North. But really the strength there is being able to implement great stuff, not develop it. And Israel: a tiny country doing amazing things. Its flagships of solar and digital printing are really making serious waves. For the size of the country, I’d wager that no area does more with less.

Picking a winner from this group was brutal. What I did was award points (from 4 to 1) in each category, and the country with the most points won. The categories are:

  • Innovation: What have they developed and brought to the markets? Did they make a difference?
  • Quality: What do they produce or install? Is it top notch?
  • Products: Are the products mainstream? Something that now is a must have?
  • Industry support: Do they have the support of trade shows like GlassBuild and industry trades.  

And the final breakdown for this group was:

  1. Germany: 14
  2. Israel: 11
  3. Canada: 9
  4. Finland: 6

So Germany moves on. Its strength in innovation and quality was too much for the rest of the group to overcome. And this little project/series of mine was much more challenging than I thought! Fun, but really tougher than expected. If you have insights or opinions, feel free to share them. Next week, we do it again with group 2.


  • You all know I am not a big fan of Google, but this past week I had a video conference call using a Google+ hangout instead of Skype or GotoMeeting, and it was super. Great quality and sound. So there’s the first redeeming quality of the Google+ platform for you.
  • Did you know that this year is the 20th anniversary of the middle movie of the Mighty Ducks trilogy? Why is this relevant to our industry? Well a very well done oral history was published on it. As I am reading it, I learn one of the main characters in this story was Garrette Henson. Now my mind started to race. Could it be the same guy who’s the force behind Viracon’s sales success? I know he spells his name differently, but maybe he tweaked it for Hollywood. Plus the time frame makes sense and the shooting location of Minnesota makes me think we may have a Hollywood actor in our midst... Oh, and if you like oral histories, this is a good one.
  • Katy Devlin’s heads up on the lead paint rule for commercial needs to be taken very seriously. Believe me, I was there on the residential side when it launched, and it was an absolute boondoggle. 
  • Last this week, the Prada storefront “Great Glazing” that Glass Magazine profiled really looks amazing. That is one job I’d like to see in person because the pictures blow me away. I could only imagine how great it must look in real life. Congrats to all involved there.

Read on for links and video of the week...

The author is founder of Sole Source Consultants, a consulting firm for the building products industry that specializes in marketing, branding, communication strategy and overall reputation management, as well as website and social media, and codes and specifications. E-mail him at

The opinions expressed here are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Glass Association, Glass Magazine editors, or other glassblog contributors.


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