Glass with embedded wire mesh...purpose?

I haven’t been around a modern classroom recently, but I remember in my own elementary school all of the windows were made of that kind of glass that has little wires criss-crossing making diamond shapes.

I always wondered what was the point of that wire mesh.

If someone smashes in the window, then they have to deal with the thin chicken wire as well. But that would only slow them down. Couldn’t they just clip the wires? A stout hunting or diver’s knife would probably make short work of the wires.

Sure, it might hold the glass together (and save a kid, perhaps), but why not just use the same plastic sandwich that is used for automobile windshields? It would be transparent and probably even safer.

So what’s it all about?

Yes, safety. It is to prevent large shards of glass from getting all over the place.

Laminated glass could achieve the same effect. I don’t believe it was popular even for cars until around 1940, and the wire mesh glass was less expensive. It is also easier to visually confirm that the glass is a safety type and not some random pane. It is also easier to cut to size than either laminated glass or tempered glass (which must be cut before tempering).

Googled “wire mesh glass”.

From the second search result:

So it’s not to make middle school feel like even more of a prison?

I am not sure about that wire mesh, but flames wouldn’t penetrate the screen door looking stuff used in laboratory. I shudder when I remember organic chemistry lab in the 60’s with 20 of us boiling benzene over an open flame in an open room.

That’s the same effect exploited by Humphrey Davy for his famous safety lamp, however, I’m sure flames would penetrate a grid of thin wire with 1cm holes in it.

Bolding mine.

I would have never thought of that, but it is a quite valid point.

Thanks! It’s a little embarrassing that an answer was in the second result.
I was also looking for the kind of stuff like was posted above—there’s enough folks here in fire safety related work who can provide insight that a vendor page might not provide.

Do you have any personal knowledge of this subject?

That’s just a side benefit.

I once saw someone push the glass on the door instead of the door itself, his hand went through the glass and the wire. That’s gotta make the injury worse.

Code requires it in places like stairwell entrance doors, because of the fire rating of the space. It gives a bit of extra time for residents to evacuate. Most new buildings just use solid fire-rated doors.