Shatterproof beer glasses unveiled in U.K.
British government hopes to reduce glass-related injuries in pub fights
Two prototypes of shatterproof pint glasses have been unveiled by the British government in an effort to curb the number of injuries from violence in pubs.
The government spearheaded the redesign effort after learning that fights involving broken pint glasses are costing the equivalent of $170 million a year, after factoring in the National Health Service, policing and court costs.
In 2009, there were 87,000 incidents in England and Wales in which pint and other pub glasses were smashed and used as weapons in slashings and stabbings.
The prototypes were produced under the government-funded Design Out Crime program, an initiative of the Home Office.
"Having that weapon in your hand is an enormous part of why these injuries take place in the first instance," British Home Secretary Alan Johnson said in an interview.
The two final prototypes, winnowed down from an initial 50, are the "Glass Plus" and the "Twin Wall," with each employing a different shatterproof technology.
The "Glass Plus" version has a thin, transparent coating of bio-resin on the inside, making the glass stronger so that it may crack upon being dropped or hurled, but it won't form dangerous shards.
The "Twin Wall" version has two ultra-thin layers of glass that are bonded together by resin, and it behaves similarly to a windshield when impacted.
"What this does — it highlights what most people don't think of, and that is that you can actually obliterate the chances for people to inflict violence on each other in the first place. It's like giving someone a rubber baseball bat," said David Helps, director of 3D and innovation at Design Bridge, one of the design teams involved in the effort.
Some in the pub world are calling the new designs the most revolutionary things to happen to pint glasses since their last update 50 years ago, when the "Nonik" (no nick) was introduced. The nonik had a strengthened bulge a couple centimetres from the rim to prevent the edges from rubbing together and chipping.
The new prototypes still have to undergo more testing before being sold to pubs next year.
Efforts are also underway to get the costs down, and while they may come in at a slightly higher cost than the current glasses, the added benefit of these is the fact it takes less time to pour an ale and they keep beer colder for longer.