About Us

History of Guardian Glass

Our entrepreneurial spirit sets us apart

Guardian’s heritage is rooted in anticipating the right technologies for the right places. We started as a windshield manufacturer in 1932, supplying laminated windshields for Detroit’s burgeoning automotive industry. On October 26, 1970, under the leadership of William “Bill” Davidson, Guardian opened a state-of-the-art float-glass plant in Carleton, Michigan. At great risk and with no experience in making float glass, Guardian became the first U.S. company in 50 years to enter the primary glass market.

Leveraging the success of that first plant and our experience developing it, Guardian built float-glass plants first across the United States, followed by Europe, and finally expanding globally in regions as diverse as Thailand, India, Saudi Arabia and Russia. In 1983, we were among the first companies to develop low-emissivity (low-E) glass using the state-of-the-art magnetron sputter coating process. Guardian Glass has developed scores of new products for Guardian and custom solutions for our clients — addressing the needs of architects, fabricators, glaziers and others who use glass.

Guardian is ready to meet the challenges of the coming decades with new products and solutions that meet the needs of our ever-growing product base. It is our great foundation — along with thousands of committed people — that has made the first 87 years possible.

Early Years

1932

Guardian Glass Company begins as a small windshield fabricator in Detroit, Michigan

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1957

William Davidson is named president

1968

Company goes public and changes name to Guardian Industries Corp.

1969

Permaglass acquisition adds Millbury, Ohio plant

1970

1970

First float glass plant begins operations in Carleton, Michigan

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1973

Second float line launches in Carleton, Michigan. This is the only Guardian plant to have two furnaces under one roof

1974

Guardian adds fabrication capability with acquisition of Glass Guard Industries in Webster, Massachusetts

1974

Upper Sandusky, Ohio automotive glass fabrication plant begins operations

1978

Kingsburg, California float glass plant starts operations

1980

1980

Corsicana, Texas float glass plant begins operations

1981

Guardian expands into Europe with launch of float glass plant in Bascharage, Luxembourg

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1982

AIRCO acquisition in Carleton, Michigan adds new coating facility strategically located across the street from float glass plant

1982

Guardian celebrates 50th anniversary

1983

Guardian purchases Fullerton, California rolled glass plant

1983

Guardian adds low-emissivity (low-E) glass to product portfolio

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1984

Guardian purchases Floreffe, Pennsylvania float glass plant

1985

Guardian acquires Llodio, Spain float glass plant

1985

Guardian becomes privately held after 17 years as a public company

1985

Guardian launches new company-wide HealthGuard program focused on employee wellness

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1986

Guardian College Scholarship Program launches in North America to support employees and their children in the pursuit of higher-education

1988

Richburg, South Carolina float glass plant, and a second float glass plant in Luxembourg (Dudelange), start operations

1990

1990

Guardian launches joint venture float glass plant in Maturín, Venezuela

1991

Oroshaza, Hungary float glass plant starts operations

1992

Guardian acquires Consolidated Glass & Mirror Company in Galax, Virginia, expanding fabrication capabilities

1992

Guardian enters Asia with the launch of the Nong Khae, Thailand float glass plant

1992

Guardian Japan Ltd. expands company reach into Japan through distribution center and sales office

1993

Gujarat Guardian Limited (GGL), India float glass plant begins operations

GGL is Guardian's joint venture float glass plant with Modi Rubber in Gujarat, India.

1993

Guardian adds a third facility in Luxembourg with the launch of the Grevenmacher automotive glass fabrication plant

1993

Tudela, Spain float glass plant begins operations

1994

Guardian enters Latin America with distribution center in Sao Paulo, Brazil

1995

Guardian moves from Novi, Michigan to new world headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan

1996

DeWitt, Iowa float glass plant begins operations

1996

Thalheim, Germany float glass plant begins operations

1996

Guardian opens float glass plant in Al Jubail, Saudi Arabia

Guardian's joint venture float glass plant in Al Jubail is known as GulfGuard

1997

Guardian adds second float glass plant in Thailand in Rayong

1997

Glass distribution center is established in Argentina

1998

Geneva, New York float glass plant begins operations

1998

Porto Real, Brazil float glass plant begins operations

2000

2000

Guardian opens float glass distribution centers in Veracruz, Mexico and Cartagena, Colombia

2000

Guardian Science & Technology Center opens in Carleton, Michigan

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2000

Guardian develops the Sun-Guard series of coated glass products for commercial applications

This would later become Guardian SunGuard® advanced architectural glass

2002

Czestochowa, Poland float glass plant begins operations

2003

Guardian launches the world's largest sputter coater in Bascharage, Luxembourg

2003

Goole, England float glass plant begins operations

2003

Guardian purchases partial ownership of the Egyptian Glass Company float glass plant in Cairo

2004

El Marqués, Mexico float glass plant begins operations

2006

Guardian introduces ShowerGuard® glass, the industry's first temperable, permanently protected shower glass

2007

Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates float glass plant begins operations

Guardian's joint venture float glass plant in RAK is known as Guardian Zoujaj International Float Glass Co. LLC.

2007

Guardian celebrates 75th anniversary

2008

Ryazan, Russia float glass plant begins operations

2009

William Davidson (1922 - 2009)

2009

Tatuí, Brazil float glass plant begins operations

2010

2012

Rostov, Russia float glass plant begins operations

2012

Koch Industries invests in Guardian Industries

2013

Ron Vaupel named President and CEO of Guardian Industries Corp.

2013

Custom Glass Solutions by Guardian is established to serve diverse transportation segments in North America

2014

Kevin Baird named President and CEO of Guardian Glass

2015

Guardian Science & Technology Center completes expansion

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2016

Guardian launches new coater at the Al Jubail, Saudi Arabia float glass plant

2017

Koch Industries, Inc. completes the acquisition of Guardian Industries Corp.

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One World. Made Better.™

Guardian Glass is the largest business of Guardian Industries. Guardian Industries and its family of companies employ 18,000 people around the world devoted to bringing new ideas to life. We constantly strive to innovate in everything we do, to create more value for our customers and communities.
One team with one ultimate goal: One World. Made Better.™