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View Full Version : Smashing through a window?


jb_007clone
02-07-2003, 03:27 PM
You see it all the times in the movies. Someone has to escape quickly and simply jumps through a glass window. Now in the movies they're using safety glass, but ofcourse in real life if you had to do this there would not be safety glass. My question is what would really happen to you if you did this? The chances of severe lacerations would be very great, but is it possible to jump through a glass window unharmed? Is there a special technique?

Reeder
02-07-2003, 03:43 PM
I punched my hand through a window once. It took the doctor an hour to dig the glass out.

micco
02-07-2003, 03:44 PM
The few times I've seen this discussed by people like police and firefighters who have to exit buildings in unconventional ways, they've said that the lacerations from breaking the glass and then landing on it can be great, but the greater danger lies in large pieces of glass guillotining you as you pass through. If you're going through a large plate glass window or door, the unshattered parts above you can drop before you clear. To be safe, throw something heavy ahead of you. Generally, you want to break the window first and then go through carefully rather than just leaping into a pile of debris.

lesa
02-07-2003, 03:48 PM
When I was a child I ran through a plate glass door.

I was running very fast, and was still running for a moment after I went through the door. Not much of the glass fell on me. That's very important. In a movie, they jump through a window and the glass showers down on them.

You don't get cut that much as you go through. You get cut by the glass showering down on you.

Even though not much glass fell on me, I was covered in gashes. I had cuts on my face, hands, one knee and both feet. I started screaming and by the time my parents got to me I was standing in a pool of blood.

They wrapped me in towels and rushed me to the hospital. Some of the towels were soaked through when we arrived. I was faint from losing blood. I needed stitches, but I didn't lose enough blood to need a transfusion.

Now compare that to the way it's shown in movies.

Someone could argue that most windows and doors now are made of safety glass. This won't cut you as badly as plate glass, but it will still cut you. People who are in car wrecks sometimes go through the windshield, and get cut quite badly.

Sorry to go on so long. Can you tell this is a pet peeve of mine? It's much more believable when someone in a movie breaks a window with a chair, then goes through. They would still get some cuts, but not as many.

3waygeek
02-07-2003, 03:51 PM
Well, at least some of the time, the glass is pre-broken. Every once in a while, you see the glass break just before the stuntman hits it.

Also, building codes in much of the USA now specify tempered glass, which breaks into small crumbly bits unlikely to do much damage, for doors and windows. So if you decide to do this, make sure it's a fairly new building :D

Note that glass is quite strong; it requires a significant force, preferably concentrated in a small area, to break. I'm reminded of a story about the old Zeppelins. One of them (either the Hindenburg or the Graf Zeppelin) had a glass-bottomed observation lounge. The passengers would naturally be a bit nervous about the glass floor breaking; one of the ship's stewards would jump up and down on the glass to prove its strength, allaying the passengers' fears.

Ethilrist
02-07-2003, 04:00 PM
It is also entirely possible that, if you launch yourself full-tilt at the window, or, say, a sliding glass door that you think is open but isn't, you will bounce off it and land flat on your ass in the center of the room. Although not requiring stitches, this does smart. A lot.

Or so I've heard.

RealityChuck
02-07-2003, 04:10 PM
Originally posted by jb_007clone
Now in the movies they're using safety glass . . .
Actually, most of the time, they're using sugar. Yup, most broken windows in films (as well as bottles smashed against the villain's head) are made of rock candy. It smashes like glass, is clear enough to be mistaken for it on camera, causes minimal damage to the stunt man going thorough it, and costs a lot less than safety glass.

DesertDog
02-07-2003, 04:19 PM
Originally posted by jb_007clone
You see it all the times in the movies. Someone has to escape quickly and simply jumps through a glass window. Now in the movies they're using safety glass<snip>Actually, on movie sets they use sugar glass. For some reason the broken edges are safe with that stuff. It is my understanding that when they cast the sheets, they mix a foul-tasting substance into the sugar to keep the crews from licking holes in it. May be a UL.

DD

Spiff
02-07-2003, 04:37 PM
Originally posted by 3waygeek
One of them (either the Hindenburg or the Graf Zeppelin) had a glass-bottomed observation lounge. The passengers would naturally be a bit nervous about the glass floor breaking; one of the ship's stewards would jump up and down on the glass to prove its strength, allaying the passengers' fears. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't ...

http://www.snopes.com/horrors/freakish/window.htm

troub
02-07-2003, 04:39 PM
I've seen a lot of people indicate that safety glass is used for movie stunts, and I'd have to say no way. As far as I know (and of course I could be wrong), safety glass doesn't shatter into big shards in part because it is laminated--you've seen a shattered windshield, and all those little cracked pieces that move and are held together, right? That's not ideal for a stuntman to try to crash through.

Sorry for no specific cite, but I did see (I promise :D ) a Discover Channel or some such show that explained that in most movie-glass-breaking endeavours, a substance is used called candy glass. It is not glass, but rather a large clear thin sheet of something like rock candy? It's very brittle, and thus not very dangerous at all.

3waygeek
02-07-2003, 04:40 PM
Originally posted by Spiff
Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't ...

http://www.snopes.com/horrors/freakish/window.htm
Well, that proves the superiority of German engineering ;)

troub
02-07-2003, 04:43 PM
Whoa, beaten by a long shot by Chuck and Desert Dog! That'll teach me to take so long :rolleyes:

lamafish
02-07-2003, 05:20 PM
although I have never had teh first hand esperience of jumping/running through plate glass, I have punched through a window (accidently) and i know that the worst part of that is when you pull your hand back out through the window. so naturally I always assumed that flying through a plate glass window would not do as much damage without the return trip. fortunately, Lesa was kind enough to scare me off from ever trying it out.

kunilou
02-07-2003, 05:40 PM
When I was a kid, my best friend ran through a plate glass sliding door and wound up with something like 75 stitches. On the other hand our standard poodle, Chuck the Wonderdog, hurled himself through a plate glass window trying to get to the mailman and didn't so much as nick himself. His fur might have protected him, but I think it was more luck than anything.

Neither one of them did it twice.